What to do with ideas?

The reason I first wanted to become a writer was that I wanted to keep the stories I loved alive.  The source was mostly from movies but when I was little there wasn’t any way I could even fathom being able to make my own movie.  Also, I think I knew then that the reason something was good was because of the writing.  The actors and actresses would get the attention but I believe that is only because they were good actors and actresses that knew how to use what they were given rather than taking mediocre writing and making it work.  What made me think that I could pursue being a writer was that I always thought I had fun ideas.  I didn’t just think that I wanted to be a writer because I wanted to see my favorite stories continue but because I thought I could see them continue in interesting ways.  Now that I have all these ideas they overwhelm me and stop my progress because I don’t know what to work on first.

I have a backlog of ideas building up in my head and every time I think of a new idea it gets thrown into the bunch without a single one sitting on top saying, “Pick me!  Pick me!”  Every idea for a novel needs research to make it seem realistic but every time I start researching it I get bogged down and lose my passion for that idea.  The next time I go to start writing I’m back at square one with each idea having its own pull but none of them grabbing me and telling me that it needs to be written first.  Do I even need that or is it a symptom of all of my other issues with writing manifesting itself in another way?

I like to try and be unique too.  I don’t want to write whats been written a thousand times before.  The new craze is the young adult and future dystopia stories.  I don’t know if I would write young adult as my audience but I had an intriguing idea for an apocalyptic event story and I wonder why feed the machine something its had so much of lately.  But then I think to myself that I shouldn’t be writing for an audience or a market because for all I know there won’t be a single other person who ever reads what I write.   I need to just write a story that I want to tell myself.  Something that I’m happy with and that would make me as a reader interested.  I’ve read enough advice from authors that this is one of the main keys to success, don’t write for anyone but yourself.

I do have so many ideas and I need to sort them out somehow.  I just thought of one recently while reading The Blind Assassin.  The story would be take place during the Canadian’s entering WWI while all going to Halifax to train and be shipped out to Europe.  The stories that could have been possible going on then.  The loss and love that would have happened and then to return from such a place.  Another idea around a possible end of the world scenario but at the start.  No big destruction just the slow decay of civilization as we know it and how small families would deal with it rather than heroes trying to stop it.  Another story even about a simple love of a boy for a girl, or a man for a woman.  A classic romance.  All of these ideas and more are sitting in my head and waiting to get out and I don’t want to waste them because I want to know how all of them turn out.

So is just having the ideas enough?  Is that the part that most writers struggle with or is the actual act of taking those ideas and turning them into stories?  I think with time and patience I can turn my ideas into something.  If I could just get them down on paper I can fine tune them from there into something I love.  I just need to remember that, get it down dirty and pretty it up later.


All there is to writing is having ideas.  To learn to write is to learn to have ideas.


-Robert Frost

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