Leaving Ideas on the Table


In my recent getting back to work post I stated that “I’m not holding any ideas back, if it’s good and I can find a way to make it fit while still telling a satisfying story, it’s going in there.” This time around I thought I would expand on what should be a common sense thing.

It should be obvious really. If there’s an idea that fits, why not try to throw it in? The problem was, I didn’t always think that way. Even as recently as writing Post-Apocalipstick in 2012, I found myself holding viable ideas back.

The truth is, it was based on fear. If I used up all my good ideas in this one story, what would I do down the road when the time came to write something new? What happens then?

I’ve learned many things about myself and my process over the last couple of years, but one of the biggest lessons is that ideas aren’t worth shit. Sure, they’re the catalyst stories are born from. But would people listen to a single thing Stephen King says if he just talked about how many ideas he had?

Ideas are dime a dozen, I get them every day. Most are worthless and will never go anywhere. But if I know anything now, I know this. Use the good ones. There’ll always be more, and there is perhaps no greater waste to a writer than leaving a good idea on the table out of fear there won’t be another along tomorrow.


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