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When an Idea Just Won't Come

Beyond writer's block - this is Idea Congestion




I firmly believe in creating a little every day if one considers oneself the creative type. Usually, this takes the form of getting some writing done for me, but for you it doesn't have to. it's especially important if, say, you haven't gotten creative work in a while and need to keep sharp.

But we've all experienced times when trying to birth an idea feels harder than actual childbirth.

For me, I'm not talking about not knowing where to go next in a story (though that does happen to me a lot). I'm talking a little bigger picture than that.

For instance: I want to try my hand at writing a novella over the course of two days when I someday have two consecutive days free. At least 20,000 words - I think that's pretty doable if I really knuckle down and get obsessed with the right idea.

...aaaaaaand there we hit the snag. As I sift through my backlog of collected ideas and do some pondering on my own, no idea seems to fit right. It's tricky because if I could just pluck out any story idea, it wouldn't be so hard, but a novella has certain constraints to it that I need to adhere to. Essentially, it needs to be an idea more easily in expressed in a form that is both shorter than a novel and longer than a short story. That idea sweet spot, I've found, is difficult. All three of the novels I've written/am writing were all originally intended to be novellas. One is at 40,000 words. it could be considered an novella, but the others cleared the 50,000 mark by quite a ways so... nope. Not novellas.

I just can't seem to be satisfied with an idea. I always determine that it doesn't fit the constraints.

It's like this for other things too. I want to start a podcast, but as soon as I try and figure out what I want it to be about (you know, the most important fucking part) nothing I think of is satisfactory.

I want to create a dumb YouTube series using only my phone camera and Yeti mic. Again, no idea I come up with appropriately fits the constraints.

I want to create some sort of written fiction thing online and try and amass a following but... what's the style? What makes it unique? Is it an ongoing narrative? How do I make money off of it? Would I want a pen name? What can I create that fills a need no one else is filling?


I have no answers. I sometimes grab a pad and pen and brainstorm the fuck outta shit, but often I'm just left more frustrated.

Other people that have chronic Idea Congestion:

You're not alone.

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