Two years ago, I was starting to get worried. It had been a while since I’d had a ‘shiny new idea’ and I knew that NaNoWriMo was coming up. I try and write something brand new for NaNoWriMo, and by the middle of the year, I usually had a basic idea for what I would work on.
I really didn’t need to worry. It’s amazing how stress can affect the creative muscle. By the end of July, I had a full-fledge idea, one that turned into four books, and sustained me for two years of NaNoWriMo.
You’d think that I’d learn from that experience, but here I am, two years later, again worried about NaNoWriMo. The rest of the year, I know I’m set. I’m editing and revising to my heart’s content, but the closer I get to November, the more my brain starts to panic, thinking that I won’t be ready.
Most of my panic is because I’m a planner. I need a thick and detailed bible ready before I can even start writing the first word. I want to know the direction the story’s headed, and the character backgrounds. I need to know the culture, their beliefs… I even tend to draw out the setting so I have a feel for the world.
I had a basic idea, but it wasn’t fleshed out, mostly because it was so generalized and so vague that I didn’t even know how to flesh it out.
Here’s the secret to shiny new ideas:
Always pay attention to everything. You never know what will start a spark.
Last time this happened, hubby and I went to the museum for our anniversary. Not because either of us were particularly interested in pirates, but because we wanted to get out of the house. The entire experience was a fodder for ideas, and pirates played a heavy role in my later book.
This year, all it took was an article on Pinterest, with a title that was much more interesting than the article itself. It was the spark that I needed to turn my vague idea into something that keeps me awake at night, planning and plotting for November.
How about the rest of you? Where do you get your ideas? Are you already planning for NaNoWriMo?