You Never Know Where An Idea Will Find You

Ideas always have terrible timing.

I was working on one of my first assignments at my new job last year when I got the idea for the book I’m still working on now.

At that same job, I was writing about Queen Elizabeth II’s corgis (don’t ask) when an idea for another story came to form in my jumbled mess of a brain.

It’s always fascinated me how writing about things inspires you to write about more things.

Almost as if … you actually have to write to motivate yourself to write more. Who knew?

But seriously. I’m sure you’ve had your fair share of Shower Thoughts, Train Platform Notions, and Just Minding My Own Business But What If I Wrote A Story About This Tomorrow moments.

You never know when they’re going to show up. And even then, sometimes it’s almost impossible to pinpoint exactly where they came from. Something you heard four days ago? A picture you saw while scrolling through Facebook? A completely unrelated assignment at work?

This is why, in life, you really do have to do all you can to make the most of even the most undesirable moments. Because you can’t see how they’ll shape your ideas later in your life. You don’t just sit around and wait until you’re hit with a new idea. They always appear when you least expect them to.

Would you really want it any other way?

I don’t know about you. But I’m grateful for every time I’ve ever had to exit the warmth and solitude of my morning shower to load an idea into my phone before it disappeared down the drain.

For every time I’ve had to hit pause on a really good movie or T.V. show (I can do it while I’m watching live cable now!) to get even the smallest fragment of an idea out of my head without missing the story playing out on the screen in front of me.

For every awkward pause in conversation with people who don’t understand what it feels like to fear the loss of a quickly fleeting thought.

For every moment someone has said my name and I unintentionally ignored them because I had an idea in my head screaming much louder than they were (please grab me by the shoulders and shake me senseless next time).

Our brains are not normal. If I had a dollar for every time I’ve completely lost touch with reality because I was too busy writing a story in my head … well, I’d still be writing for fun, I can tell you that much.

Ideas are the closest equivalent to small children some of us will ever have the pleasure of calling ours. They only bother us when it’s inconvenient. They’re loud and wild and persistent and all they want is our attention. We love them dearly. But they’re tough to live with.

We make it work. We have to.

We’re writers. It’s our job/hobby/outlet/safe space.

We grab hold of the ideas that present themselves. And we run with them.

And run.

And run.

And that’s how so many stories come to life. Without being asked. In the most wonderful ways possible.

Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a staff writer with The Cheat Sheet, a freelance editor and writer, and a 10-time NaNoWriMo winner. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.

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5 thoughts on “You Never Know Where An Idea Will Find You

  1. I did NaNoWriMo for the first time last year and it opened up my brain to so many more ideas and avenues for the story I was writing. I couldn’t write/type fast enough. Thanks!

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