My day job – the one that feeds the kids, pays the bills, and provides us all with blessed insurance – involves a lot of time spent on the road. I can’t begin to tell you the places my mind soars to while I’m stuck behind the wheel. Sometimes it’s there for an hour, sometimes three, but the one consistency no matter the duration is that it returns with that magical Idea.
You know the one.
You might know it as the one that strikes just before you pull up the comforter at night and sends you scuttling around the bedroom at 11pm for a pen and scrap of paper.
Or the one that ambushes you in the shower with such force that you splash shampoo into your eyes as you frantically breathe on the shower glass to scribble notes with your index finger.
Now, if you’ve been wracking your brain for weeks trying to come up with an idea for a story, congratulations! You’ve got it! Go forth and meld that masterpiece.
But, if you’re like me and you already have a project you’ve been grinding on for [insert the age of your toddler here] years, what now? You can’t stop in the middle of your WIP to try this new thing…that’s Penfidelity (totally just made that up but I’m trademarking it so hands off!)
Should I sigh and let the idea fall away like seeds fleeing from the grasp of the trees looming over them?
Should I write an opening chapter and then shove it into my Drawer of Forgotten Projects? (Don’t look at me like that, we all have one…)
Lately I’ve been trying to capture those seedling ideas as fragments of a story in media res…a character struggling against something, or dialogue revealing a complication – something that captures the gist of what my mind created and brought to my attention. So far it’s been working, and some have even made it into my current WIP.
Who knows…whenever I’m finished with this book, maybe one of those seeds will flourish into my next project.