"The Having of Wonderful Ideas" is a lovely book* and the kind of concept I can get behind. I may not have a whole lot of things, but I've got ideas. I walk through the world and get ideas in quick, staccato bursts, inspired in different ways on different days. Once, I woke up with what I'm TELLING you was the PERFECT picture book idea. Seriously. Like, I know nothing about writing picture books, and that night, it clicked.
I had a Wonderful Idea.
But I didn't write it down.
And in the morning, I'd forgot it.
It's still forgotten.
So now I write the ideas down, wherever, whenever I am. If I'm somehow without paper and pen, I voice memo myself while I'm walking (and try to look official, or at least Secret Agent-y, and not just weird.) I take the ideas, make many notes to self and then...put them away.
Because, sometimes, every once in a while, I use my propensity for idea-having as a most effective procrastination tool. I mean, it feels righteous, no? I may not be working on that revision or those chapters, but I'm having ideas, being creative and all thinkery. That is a thing to celebrate, to be proud of, to revel in. Right?
Well, sometimes. But a lot of the time I have to say a big fat NO to the ideas, for now. When I am faced with the half-filled or blank page, when I am struggling and challenged by my characters or faltering plot, I cannot and should not whisk myself away into the joys of Coming Up With Something New. I have to keep going, muddle through the boring parts, the fear, and blank screen. Sometimes I have to work with what I have. And then maybe a wonderful idea about THAT will come. Maybe, maybe not. But I have to deal with it, worry it like a bone until I know I need to turn away (for a while.) Of course, sometimes an idea hits and it makes sense to put whatever I'm working on aside, to take a dip in the newness and play for a while. But, really, most of the time, I know that I should say "No," and "Wait" to the New Ideas. And "Get Back To Work, Self." And I know the difference. So I give the new idea a gentle pat, make another cup of tea, and keep pushing through.
The Wonderful Ideas will keep.
As long as I write them down.
*It's really a great book!