Tag Archives: ideas

Random Bits of Paper…

ideas41200x630bbI’ve kept many notes I’ve written over the years – from stories I’ve since had published, all the way down to stories that I never even got around to writing. Not yet, at least. Frighteningly, some of these notes and ideas go back to the early nineties. It’s so long ago, people actually liked OJ Simpson.

I went through a whole pile of stuff today, all of which I wrote before I had seen any of my words in print. Some notes and ideas are documented on A4 sheets of paper, but most are written on torn promotional leaflets, or the backs of supermarket receipts, such was the urgency of my thoughts two decades ago!

It’s interesting to look back at these things, and it’s certainly an eye-opener to see just how prolific my thoughts were in those days, but while it’s reassuring to see that I took any and every opportunity to write down a thought I considered potentially useful – no matter how trivial – it’s also sadly frustrating that there have been many moments since those days when I have not been nearly as eager to… do my job.

Sure, a lot of the ideas I thought were gold then are actually complete shit now – in fact some of them were bad even then, but there are a few diamonds in the rough there… a few of which I still intend to get around to at some point. Sometimes an idea needs to breathe first and live later.

A lot of my notes from those days are no more than a few words or a single line, completely devoid of context. This obviously meant something to me when I wrote it at 17, but it means nothing as I stare at the paper at 41. Even with a little creative hindsight, the best reason I can come up with as to why I wrote WHEN THEY WAKE UP I WILL DISAPPEAR, in isolation on a slip of paper, is nothing more than an approximation.

Still, sometimes the why is the most interesting part.

Out With the New and in With the Old…?

LightbulbI just finished writing a 6,500 word horror story called The Quick Brown Fox, which means that in the last six months I have completed three pieces that have been ‘on my books’ for many years. All three have turned out pretty well, but it does make me wonder why I have gone back to these old ideas all of a sudden… and is it just my imagination, or are they coming together better than the finished products of my more recent ideas?

I think a lot of the ideas I had when I was younger were very ambitious (too ambitious for the kid who was dreaming them up) so many of them were left unwritten or partially scribbled down to be tackled at an undisclosed date further down the line. Now that I have a clearer understanding of what I am capable of producing – and more importantly, what I’m not – my ideas these days are more… appropriate. Does that mean I have lost my imagination as the years have progressed? I don’t think so. Sure, I have pulled in the edges a little, but I still have the ability to come up with something a little left field when I need to.

Don’t get me wrong: not every idea I had back then was worth saving. Far from it. There are more than a few duds in amongst them that even the greatest literary mind couldn’t rescue, but another difference is that now I can (usually) tell which ones they are, throw them in the bin, and move on.

I still have a lot of (good) ideas from years ago that I want to get around to completing before I shuffle off this mortal coil, but hopefully I can balance that with some of the more recent imaginative acquisitions I have had as well.