Why I Can't Force the Storm

April-Themed Post from Jody Feldman

There are times in my writing life when I NEED an idea.
I have characters. I have a setting. I have action. I have plot.
But I NEED that big or interesting or important hinge that opens doors or swings the momentum or otherwise turns the whole story on its heels.

Most people would take to brainstorming sessions. They’d sit with their organizers and work and work et voila! Not only an idea, but THE idea!

For me, it doesn’t happen that way. The harder I try to think of that one perfect turning point? I might as well work toward ice cream brain freeze. It’s more immediately delicious and achievable.
On the other hand, I don’t sit around waiting for some unknown muse. I put in the work. I read, I research, I sit staring blank-faced at walls. But mostly, I take a deep breath and open my mind, my heart, and all my senses and allow my brain to find more natural connections.

The ability to do that didn’t happen overnight. When I go into schools, I often talk about having put myself through Idea Bootcamp, training my brain to turn on the ability to find an idea where nothing like that existed before. Then comes a little demonstration which sometimes surprises even me.

It’d be a lie to say I never try to force the storm. Desperate times call for desperate measures, right? Most often, though, desperation-induced ideas feel forced or convoluted or too coincidental and rain on the perfection of a story I know is just within my reach...or will be, as long as I breathe.


  1. Sometimes, I get my best ideas mowing the lawn or painting the windows--times when I'm letting my brain rest and not forcing ideas.


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