Thursday, January 15, 2009

Turning Ideas Into Action

As a writer, my brain never stops getting ideas for stories. They come from all corners of my existence. I might read an article in the newspaper or hear one on the radio or TV that spurs a thought to expand on. Insight can come watching a movie or reading a book. Conversation with friends or family trigger brainstorms. People watching, eavesdropping - the list is endless.

I carry a small notebook in my purse to jot down ideas. There are pads and pencils in every room of the house; no writer should every rely on memory for a good idea because they can disappear as quickly as they arrive in consciousness. I have notebooks and folders filled with notes, research contacts, internet sites and clippings. I read through them to get inspired, find a topic for today, or locate a source of insight or reflection that sets my fingers flying over the keyboard.

The work begins when I must take that thought and logically develop it into paragraphs of interesting reading. Even though I have been through the process hundreds of times, it still takes an act of will to go from ruminating to effort. There will always be a myriad of chores, family obligations or relaxing pursuits that get in the way of settling down at the keyboard. Sometimes, the hardest part of the writing process is finding the uninterrupted time to complete an assignment. I have to keep in mind at all times that priority must rear its ugly head if anything is ever to be written.

An idea, taken from a note I've made, may not always turn into a workable article or story. I may abandon it as a noble notion which has no basis for further expansion. But, I also might discover that it's just the beginning of a much more involved journey than originally contemplated. Luckily, I usually find a spark there somewhere.

Once I commit to the concentrated task, the organization of my thoughts and notes begins. It is almost never a simple process to create a flow of words that works. I force myself to just keep going at first, even if some of what I'm composing seems static or superfluous. I know I will go back more than once to correct, edit, and rework until I'm satisfied with the end result. The outcome - no matter how long in coming - never ceases to make me want to make the journey again.

It is a source of amusement for me that everyone thinks they can write. I have certainly read lots of examples where that theory has been debunked. Writing isn't the glamor job so many envision, and it is rarely one that results in monetary riches. Those aren't the reasons I do it. I do it because I just have the need to see my ideas turn into action - and that action result in enjoyment for a reader.

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