Every composer knows the anguish and despair occasioned by forgetting ideas which one had no time to write down. — Hector Berlioz
People often ask me, “Profound Author Jake, [notice how they don’t call me “writer”—that’s for unpublished scrawlers of words] where do all your incredible ideas come from?” And unlike most authors, I don’t mind answering that question.
Mainly just to hear myself speak, though.
However, I usually end up disappointing the person (I know, hard to believe right?) because my answer isn’t something like, “Well I just say aloud how many characters I want, where the setting will be, and an interesting object, then jump up and down, toss my brain like a Greek salad, and pop out the idea for a story.”
Most of the time I come up with a good idea, I’m usually sitting on the toilet, thinking, “Wouldn’t it be weird if…”
And boom. New York Times bestseller.
Honestly, though, I’ve had one short story come directly from a dream that I couldn’t stop thinking about, another from my fear of living with a meaningless job. I had one that came from my desire to start flirting with a girl: “You’re from there? No way, that’s where this story I’m writing takes place…Yes, I am a writer—author actually…Mind if I ask you a few questions?”
Then I whipped out the business card, flashed my registered, lethal smile, and she later rejected both of my attempts to go on a date.
Thousands of ideas pass through our heads every day. Because we are constantly bored, planning for the future, trying to distract ourselves from work, our minds are incessantly scampering like gerbil feet from one idea to the next.
As a writer, I am just highly aware of each of those thoughts going through my head (except when I say something stupid), panning each idea, each image for something worthwhile.
Hmmm, those shoes make any interesting noise when walking. What if you were certain you heard those footsteps in your house when the person who wore them had already died? As a child, I had once wanted to run away on an “adventure” with my best friend. How would my life be different if I disappeared for a few days as a first grader?
It’s all a matter of playing the “what if” game and chasing that idea as far as the muddy rabbit hole will take you.
We all have ideas. We all have good ideas (granted, mine are better). It’s just a matter of sitting down at a computer, a typewriter, a parchment and quill, and jotting some of them down.
I mean, hell, I was published. It can’t be that difficult.