The Power Of A New Idea

new ideaI have written three full-length sole-authored books, each of which was my very own idea. I had the idea for the first book in 2011, for the second in 2013 and for the third in 2015. Two weeks ago I had an idea for a fourth full-length sole-authored book. I think it’s a good idea, as do some people I’ve tested it on, though whether it will get written or not remains to be seen. I won’t have time to do anything about it until the middle of 2020 because I’m much too busy.

Trouble is, the new idea won’t shut up. It keeps badgering my brain, resulting in an internal dialogue which goes something like this:

New Idea: I’m much more interesting than that client work you’re doing.

Sensible Me: Be quiet, I need to earn a living.

New Idea: I could make you megabucks.

Sensible Me: I’ve written enough books to know how incredibly unlikely that is.

New Idea: You really want to write me, though, don’t you?

Sensible Me: I do… but all in good time.

New Idea: You dooo, you real-lyyy doooo, trusssssst in meeeeee

Sensible Me: Stop trying to hypnotise me, it’s not going to work.

New Idea [singing]: I’m fun and I’m exciting, attractive and inviting…

Sensible Me: Seduction won’t work either, you need a body for that.

New Idea: Nonsense, most seduction happens in the brain.

Sensible Me: Will you please shut up so I can get some work done?

New Idea: You’ll be sorry if you forget me. Why not jot down a few thoughts at least?

Sensible Me: Maybe that’s not a completely stupid suggestion.

New Idea: Go on! Go on! You know you want to!

Sensible Me: But I haven’t got time right now, I’m chasing a deadline.

New Idea: [singing again] You’ll regret it, you’ll regre-et i-it –

Sensible Me: la la la la, I’m not listening.

And so on. It’s really annoying! Yes I’d love to drop everything and dive into a shiny new project. But I’m already working on three books (and yes, that is two too many) and two journal articles, and I need to get those done, or a lot closer to done, before I start on any new writing projects.

Some of my friends are novelists and I know they have a similar problem. I see their posts on Facebook: ‘I had a new idea for a story this morning, and it won’t leave me alone, but I’ve got another 50,000 words to write on the current book and my deadline is in three months.’ One of the things I’ve been writing about is how similar non-fiction and fiction writing can be. I’ve written a fair amount of fiction myself, even been paid for some of it, so I feel reasonably well qualified to make this argument, especially as there’s supporting literature. But none of the literature that I have read – and I’ve read a lot of it – points out this particular similarity. So there you are, an informative and amusing blog post which also, I believe, fills a gap in the literature.

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2 thoughts on “The Power Of A New Idea

  1. I know that feeling well and you described it very sensibly. An important strategy in learning and achieving, in my opinion, is understanding that you don’t only work when ‘inspiration’ strikes. That’s also why planning and structure are important. I need to blog about it in order to get my thoughts together!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Absolutely agree, Joanna – and, conversely, that you don’t wait for ‘inspiration’ to strike before you start working. As I say to my students: don’t wait for the muse, she won’t turn up!


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