Hello, dear readers, and welcome!
Today I want to talk a little bit about ideas -- story ideas, namely.
I believe that most authors are people who have many ideas, whether "many" to you is 10 or 1,500 (and believe me, as someone who knows an author of 1,500 or more ideas, I much prefer the 10). We all want to pen good stories, and pay attention to these wonderful ideas...but what do we do when we have too many to count? Is there possibly enough room or time for all of them?
The most truthful answer I can bring is this: no.
There isn't enough time for everything.
So then, how do we decide which ideas are worth our time, or are "worthy", as a recent interview I read with Julia Cameron (author of The Artist's Way) said. If you're like me, it's very difficult to divorce ideas, but it is also necessary. For me, these three tips have helped immensely:
1: Make a List - Write out your ideas in a notebook or Pages file, so they are all in one place, and you can manage them. (I also recommend printing them if they're in a Word/Pages doc., so that they feel real and intimate.)
2. Order Your List - Once you make a list, then add some numbers. Figure out which ideas are your favorite, and which are your least favorite. Don't be afraid to rank your stories, and be as honest with yourself as you can be.
3. Cut or Merge Ideas - Once your list is complete, you will need to either cut some ideas (your least favorite, things you don't think you have time for, etc.), or merge those ideas with other ideas on the list. Then, write up a new list. I recommend keeping 10 ideas at one time.
You will need to do with at least a few times a year -- and don't throw away any of your lists, even if you decide you "don't" want to write those stories! Stories have a way of coming back to us, and you may find that what you thought you wanted to write drifts away from your interest. Keep your ideas so that years from now, you can look over them, and be inspired anew (I have a file folder of them sitting on my bookshelf).
Funny, tricky things happen in writing. Your ideas may run away from you - and then they may come back. Recently, this has happened to me several times. And though it can be a bit daunting, it's good to see an old idea; if it comes back, don't shun your old idea. Often, old ideas that keep revisiting are very close to our hearts, and change over time to become something new yet familiar, something we may have needed all along.
Whatever your ideas are, allow them to carry you into creativity. Use your list as a guide, but be open to new - or old! - stories.