Day Twelve: Build a Stable of Ideas

(Day 12) Build a Stable of Ideas

This is what happens to me practically every time I get into the second act of a new story:

The most brilliant idea that I’ve ever had pops up like a dandelion.

It’s just there, all of a sudden, full grown and beautiful. Full of wishes and dreams.

This delicate dandelion of an idea is the idea. The one that’s going to make me a bestseller. The one that’s going to be the best book I’ve ever written.

So, what in the hell am I doing still working on this other thing. This stupid, slow, sloggy thing that I hate only marginally less than I hate mayonnaise.

And I really hate mayonnaise.

Of course, though, there’s this one little thing: This stupid, slow, sloggy thing was my last brilliant dandelion idea. And it came while I was deep in the mire of my last great idea. And so on. And so on.

I told you about my one rule: no editing while drafting.

That’s really a kind of sub-rule to the actual, true one rule. The only rule that really matters.

Finish that first draft.

No matter how much you hate it while you’re writing the second act and no matter how great your next idea is, finishing your manuscript is the only thing that matters.

Let me put that more concisely. (I’m going to curse. Plug your ears if you’re sensitive.)

Finish the first fucking draft. Just. Finish. It. Ninja. Writer.

Here’s what you do with that great idea that’s poking at your brain, trying to distract you from your prime imperative: Write it down. After you’ve done your work for the day on your current work-in-progress, spend some time developing it and testing it.

Do that as often as you want to. As often as new ideas pop-up in the lawn of your creative brain.

Develop and test a whole stable of ideas so that when you’re finally finished with the book you’re working on, you can have your choice for the next.

That’s how you take the long game view of this writing career thing.


If you haven’t done it already, go on over and get signed up for How to Develop + Test a Story Idea (H2DSI.) It’s free. It really works. It’s the exact method I use to make sure that I never get to the end of one story and find myself with nothing to start. And it’s the method I use to make sure those beautiful dandelion ideas don’t blow away on the wind before I can get to them.

I have a separate notebook just for my developed ideas. You can do that, or just use a fresh page in your current notebook.

Come on over to Facebook and check in when you’re all signed up for H2DSI.


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