Scientists say you have three seconds to cement an idea or puff, there it goes, evaporating into the ether. This has happened so often to me recently that I’m beginning to think the three seconds is generous.
A most perfect thought pops into my sub-consciousness and I grasp at its tendrils, reigning it in with the power of my conscious brain. I rise from the sofa and head towards my notebook. Once present in the real world, it will be safe, cosseted and nurtured; when suddenly another idea ignites and detonates in my head.
The original thought explodes quietly into smithereens. Deep within my head I flail around for the slightest hint or image of my idea. It’s there, hidden behind the dust cloud of destruction. If only I can reach that bit further. The debris is clearing, I’m sure of it, think and think again. My eyes are closed tight, head is bowed in concentration.
No, it’s gone. Irretrievable. At least, I have the new thought to hand though. Haven’t I? What? What was it again?…Nooo…
Luckily many of my ideas do make it to fruition although I seem to have rather a scattergun effect of ideas. Various words or images will create a series of ideas which I hastily jot down. An old man’s lop-sided gait, witnessed in town, became central to a short story. A pair of hand-repaired spectacles, recalled from childhood, featured in a chapter, highlighting the character’s despair and worry. Like many writers most of my ideas will remain known only to myself, until they have been moulded into a short story or such. Only then will I show the first draft to friends.
Ideas are fragile things and can easily be killed off by the slightest shrug of the shoulders, the questioning bemused look of a friend. That poor idea that could be so vital to the writing and lead onto new paths decimated by well-meaning.
So, catch your ideas, nurse them, mould them. Once they turn into a piece of writing, then happily share. Not before though.
Happy Fishing and May Your Thoughts Bite Aplenty.
A new idea is delicate. It can be killed by a sneer or a yawn; it can be stabbed to death by a quip and worried to death by a frown on the right man’s brow.