The Fun and Frustration of Ideas


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by Linda O. Johnston

Like many of you who may be reading this, I’m a writer. A fiction writer. That means what I write is rarely true, though of course it needs to be logical and, hopefully, enjoyable.

And how do I figure out what I’ll be writing? Well, my mind is always at work. Whether I’m intending to or not, I’m always coming up with ideas. That, too, probably sounds familiar to many of you.

While watching a TV show a couple of weeks ago, my mind glommed onto its theme as being a great idea for a story. A mystery? Probably. A series? Hopefully. 

But unlike many of my ideas, how to proceed with this one didn’t become automatically clear.  As a result, I’ve been doing a lot of pondering and research and jotting down possibilities. And reading what I can about the general concept.

That’s an important part of writing, of course. The plotting and writing and character development are all essential. But so’s figuring out how you will determine each of them and where your story’s likely to go.

I knew I was scheduled for the WinR blog today and, while at first not knowing what I’d write about, this blog idea finally came to me, too. It’s important for writers to recognize how their minds work at least some of the time. Ideas and me–well, I’d better make note of them and run with them when it makes sense. And writing here about coming up with and following up with ideas–why not?

 So how do you do it? Where do ideas come to you? How do they come to you? Is it always by a similar way, or, like me, do you just keep your mind open to whatever it wants to throw at you and then follow up on those ideas? 

And me? Well, I’m sure I’ll figure out the direction I want to go, probably soon. Will I run with it? Depends on whether I wind up liking my direction as much as the initial idea.



Artwork Design by Cher Schriefer(Groch)


10 thoughts on “The Fun and Frustration of Ideas”

  1. Linda,
    Your perceptive comments on your own creations – novels and mysteries – hit the nail on its proverbial head. Nice to see someone expressing what can be difficult to compose. Thank you. Ideas do indeed abound within which our writing style emerges. I usually wake up with phrases and full-fledged sentences demanding to be set down so I grab my notebook and scribble away, whether it is 4 a.m. or later. Ideas tumble through my mind, thankfully, but threaten to flee if I don’t pay attention to them. I suppose scientists like Einstein experienced similar breakthroughs , with which comforting thought we should fall asleep peacefully, knowing answers are in our minds somewhere, ready to burst forth with the dawn. Or something like that.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I keep notecards beside my bed and in my purse and in various locations in my house, just in case some of those ideas creep up on me at odd times–which of course they often do. I certainly don’t want to lose any of those ideas, even if I decide not to follow up with them.

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  3. Ideas are the basis of our writing and I’m sure we would all like to know where and how they will materialize, but as you said, they come from everywhere at anytime and in any place. So what do I do? I make sure I have a pad and pen handy to jot them down because we all know if we don’t capture the moment, it will leave us as fast as it came. Great point, Linda. Write on!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, Gayle! I always have a pen and some kind of paper, including notecards, with me. But I get so frustrated when one of my pens runs out of ink!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Great post, Linda! This is the fun part of being a writer; all the great ideas whizzing through one’s head – usually at the most inopportune moment moment, such as when I’m driving or in the shower. I have notebooks everywhere. However my scribbled notes usually end up on the backs of envelopes or store receipts. The exhilaration and also the agony is the other part you mention, that can take seemingly forever – making sense of it all and coming to a satisfactory literary conclusion.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Just make sure you don’t toss those scraps of paper before you use them! And yes, it can take forever–but at least the process is enjoyable.


  5. When walking dog and falling asleep or waking up. Kindle and cellphone(I take on walks)have microphones I talk into… Have to grab ’em when they come, I think. I know from experience can’t force them. Thoughtful provoking post.

    Liked by 1 person

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