Ideas are like Rabbits

The question writers get asked the most often is, "where do you get your ideas?" For poets, short story writers, and novelists who write a book a year or several series a year the need for ideas is a constant. How do they have ideas for so many stories or poems?

For me, ideas are like rabbits.

They multiply at a rapid rate. And in the same way that rabbits create more rabbits, ideas create more ideas and the more I have the more I get.

Craft books are profuse with ways to get story ideas:

  1. Brainstorm
  2. Read newspapers
  3. Observe people in the cafe
  4. Play the "what if" game
  5. Eavesdrop on conversations

Each of those methods is helpful and can elicit an array of story or character ideas for your writing. I have on occasion used a few myself. Mostly, however, I don't search for ideas, they find me. And just like those fertile little bunnies, ideas increase exponentially. They float in thin air and crawl inside my ear. They arise from some cells deep within me and gnaw at my brain until I catch them and get them on the page. 

I have ideas for more stories than I can ever write in a lifetime and they vie for attention every minute of every day and they are highly competitive. Each one wants to be dealt with NOW. They don't want to wait until this story is written, or this poem is revised and submitted, or until this present novel-in-progress is completed and sent to an agent. Each and every idea, in whatever genre it is cloaked in, wants to be written today. They parade through my head like the walking dead or like the the six characters in search of an author in Pirandello's play. Each one is a shiny object flashing her significance like sunlight on the lake, begging me to pick her.

So which do I choose? Which story do I write now? Which character will get my attention today?

The choices are impossible to make. 


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