When I have a story idea, I nearly always write it down somewhere. Usually, these days, in the Notes app on my phone, because my phone is always with me and Notes can be read on any network-connected device. Prior to the introduction of smartphones (let’s face it, iPhones – I’ve never been an Android person) in my life, I would write them on pieces of paper and then transcribe them into an electronic form at my earliest convenience. So buried in folders on the hard drives of my computers, those story notes sit, idle, waiting for the day I pluck them out and try to build them up into actual stories.
Without actually going and doing an inventory of them, I’d hazard a guess that I must have… a couple of hundred? Yeah, that sounds right. More than a hundred, at least, but not a lot more. I’m not saying they’re all good ideas. They may be, like dreams once you’ve woken up and are no longer in your subconscious, just random words thrown together with no structure or coherence. Still, though, a hundred story prompts would make up a fertile ground for creativity, with a little effort and attention.
That being the case, why does the voice in the back of my head tell me I have no ideas? That I’m an empty well? “Look,” I say to the Voice In The Back of My Head, “I’ve got a hundred ideas, and I’m making more all the time! I’ve got plenty to work with!”
You can probably already guess what the Voice In The Back of My Head is going to say, especially if you, too, have to deal with that particular demon. Or maybe this is just me. It chuckles, leans back, and raises an accusing finger. “You may have those ideas, but you sit there and don’t use them. When was the last time you even looked at one once you were done capturing it, pinning it to a board like a precious butterfly and then sticking it away in a digital drawer, far from the eyes of yourself or anyone else?”
It’s got my number. I don’t do anything with those scraps of paper, those text files. I am a hoarder. I do the minimum amount of work to save the fruits of my brain, and then I give up and go on with my day.
I did not know that today’s 500 words were going to become a call to action, but here it is. I’m going to do an inventory of my creative seeds, pick some out, and try to write the story behind them. Scary stuff. And probably a lot of work. I don’t know if the reward is going to be worth it. I can feel my own inner resistance pushing against this. My brain is trying to make the locus of control external rather than internal. However! I can do this.
If not for myself, then at least now I can have another argument, take another step, against that fucking Voice In The Back of My Head, that fucking bastard.