You have an idea.
It’s not a complete thought.
It is a little sparkle in the recesses of your mind that keeps bumping it’s way up to the front of the line. The rest of your synapses tell it, no cutsies so it hangs its head in shame and makes its way to the back of the line. Feeling destined to wallow in the darkness of the incomplete and partial trial balloons that you have sent out your entire life.
We all know what those life beta tests are. When you mention to your parents what you would really like to study in college and it gets shut down because who is going to pay all that money to study painting, which would only lead to a job as a waitress. You didn’t need to got college for that. Absolutely not. A degree in something practical is what is important.
Or when you tell your group of girlfriends that you want to travel to the outer reaches of Asia and they laugh and laugh and laugh, because you can’t even walk out of the house without having your hair blown-put just right. How are you going to walk the backroads of the third world?
Lost ideas take their place along with every missed opportunity that ever comes along in life. The cute guy that didn’t wear nice enough clothes, so you didn’t date him- who knows where that might have led; or that job you didn’t take because it was too far away from everyone and everything you had ever known-but it could have been the adventure you needed in life to make you into who you were meant to really be.
So what keeps it all locked up inside you? What prevents you from trying a new goal or thought or idea? Fear.
Lost ideas, as lost opportunities, can all be chalked up to fear. Fear of the unknown. Fear of an outcome. Fear of failure. But worse, fear of maybe succeeding. Yes, success is something deep down people fear.
We fear success. We fear its requirements. We fear its obligations. We fear that once attained we will then loose it and be less than we were before we started. We fear so many things in life that it holds us back.
So when thinking about a new idea. Something you want to try. Something that is a little outside the box. Go slowly. First the big toe, then the next. Wade quietly into the stream. You don’t have to jump into the ocean and swim with sharks. You can slowly get your feet wet and and enjoy a child-like splash.
Start with a small idea and expand it. Don’t create the entire universe all at once. Pick out which part is most comfortable for you and begin there. Build the room in a home instead of the entire home. Then take the home and place it on a street, in a city, in a country, in a continent…
Use a word to start your idea. What do you enjoy the most? Are you looking for joy or trying to explain sadness? Are you interested in the layers beneath a simple word or are you content with its basic meaning? What are you trying to attain with your idea? What message are you trying to convey?
Then take your fear and use it as leverage. Make it work for you. As you use your writer’s block to your advantage, use your fear in creating your idea. Make it a part of your story. Think about what your protagonist would fear and how that fits into your idea. Engulf yourself in it. Allow yourself to feel that fear and illuminate how your character would conquer their fear.
How does this all come to fruition?
It’s as simple as seeing a beautiful red rose and smiling. What thoughts does that convey? What hopes and dreams does the rose symbolize? What longings, what loss or what imaginings of times to come? And as your character peels away each petal, they discover something new about themselves, their lives and their worlds. Let this lead you into your story and shape the ideas that find themselves at the end of your synapse line, waiting for you to gather up enough courage to bring them into the light.