Monday, July 10, 2017

How Can You Have a Lack of Ideas?

I've had a vague sci-fi idea in the back of my mind for some time now. So I asked my friend Jo, who designs both computer games and board games as well as writes superhero novels, for some recommendations on books for game theory. And he gave me a ton of reference links and material.

That led to him asking about the idea, which I really couldn't explain because I'm not sure at this point. And who knows? It might fizzle before it becomes fully formed. But if it does congeal, I'll add it to my idea folder.

But this is how my brain works. I'm wrapping up the Bloodlines series. I've started the Justice series. The first book of the 1-888-555-HERO series is almost done. I'm two-thirds of the way into another book that will become another series. Then there's the Four Soccer Moms of the Apocalypse which I was writing while sitting in the student pick-up line last year (which won't be happening this year now that GK is driving himself to high school).

And that all led to our conversation of how can a writer NOT have ideas. I mean, the list above will keep me busy for at least two years. That doesn't even begin to count my ideas under Alter Ego. Nor doesn't it count the ideas sitting in my idea folders. And what about the sci-fi ideas I already have outlined that I may publish under a different name for marketing reasons?

Jo's pretty much in the same boat. In fact, most writers I know have a mega-ton list of ideas sitting in a paper file, a computer file, or both.

So what's happening when someone says they're blocked and can't come up with ideas?

Generally, it goes back to the single biggest stopper of a writing career--FEAR! Fear of not having the big idea. Fear of readers hating the story after you've put so much work into it. Fear of wasting time and not making any money.

If it's not fear, maybe you have to face the fact you're a one-book-idea person. If you don't believe that's the case, then guess what? We're back to the FEAR issue.

Yep, FEAR is that freaking insidious. And you have to find a way to drive back the forces of darkness.

"How?" you ask. All I can tell you is what works for me. Take a break. Take a shower. Take a walk. But my number one cure for coming up with an idea?

Clean my teenage son's toilet. Trust me. You'll want to do just about anything besides that!


  1. LOL!

    Back before I got married, I moved back in with my mom for a few years while I went back to school. My brother lived there too, and a family friend about my brother's age.

    The hall bathroom the two boys and I used was dis-GUS-ting. Brett and I insisted Sean (my brother) was the slob. Mom just eyerolled; she was sure we all contributed equally to the grossness.

    Then Sean had a chance to move into an apartment with some buddies. Mom was all, "NOW we'll see what happens with the bathroom!" with more eyerolling and a smirk for good measure.

    You know, the damn bathroom was a couple of orders of magnitude cleaner after he moved out. :P He's 47 now, and I still don't go into the upstairs hall bathroom at my mom's. [shudder]


    1. Well, I can honestly say GK gets it from his dad. It really doesn't matter to either of them how much mold is on the shower walls or how much dust lies on objects. It matters to me because of allergies more so than the cleanliness issue.

      It's the hair. Since puberty, GK has literally grown a pelt on all the manly areas I can see. And I swear he sheds more than any of our dogs ever did. His toilet is literally coated with hair, and it makes me want to gag.

    2. Oh, lordy, that'd do it for me too! :(

      We actually had a small mushroom growing out of the carpet in the hall bathroom, next to the tub. (Yes, we had carpet in the bathroom, which was the first mistake, but we'd had carpet before in bathrooms and it never got that badl. [shudder])