Something That Might Free You…

I have heard lately from a few beginning writers who are afraid they won’t have enough ideas. Now I hate to admit this, but I have no ideas. Haven’t really even thought of an idea for a story or novel for decades now.

Never occurs to me.

I just write books, get inside the character, let the character tell the story, and find the ending when I type it. And as many of you know, I often just start with a title that is a mash-up of two other titles. Just a trigger.

This is called writing into the dark.

Yet I have heard from writers afraid to move on, to finish a book, because they might not have another idea. So the fear holds them rewriting or researching over and over the one “good” idea they think they have had.

A tragic way for the critical voice to stop a writer and I have seen it more thousands of times than I want to admit.

In April I was doing those thirty short stories and about sixteen or stories in I found myself writing about this really fun detective superhero in my Poker Boy universe. Not a clue where she came from. I ended up writing thirteen or fourteen more stories from her point of view. Really fun and the stories will come out later this winter.

But if I had been worried about ideas for those thirty short stories, I never would have written any of them and never would have found this nifty new character.

So a suggestion. If you are one of those writers who needs to make up an idea first from the critical brain because you are afraid of sitting down and writing without an “idea” of some sort, just stop.

Ideas will also kill your writing when you are going along and suddenly a third of the way in you have this critical voice need to know what happens next. Your critical voice has convinced you that you can’t write another word without knowing what happens next.

I have talked with many writers about this who are trying to write into the dark for the first time. When that fear and drug-like need to know what happens next hits you, ignore the desire to figure things out and trust your creative voice and write the next sentence.

And then the next.

I know, I know, telling you to write without ideas is more against all common knowledge then telling you to write one clean draft instead of rewriting. Some of you have now thought I have gone too far. (grin)

But I am just saying that if you really, really, really want to have fun telling stories, free yourself from the pathological need for an idea. And just write a story, letting your creative brain tell you the story as you go along.

You might be shocked at what happens if you have the courage to try this.

Ideas really can be deadly to your writing. Who knew? (grin)