Spring Cleaning Your Idea File - A Piece Of My Mind
“We are all cups, constantly and quietly being filled. The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out” —Ray Bradbury
I just realized this fact, in a few months from now, I am moving to a new apartment. Other than the simple household tasks like vacuuming and laundry, which I do weekly. I have been going through a lot of old stuff to move out to the new place. I have been doing a major overhaul of personal stuff I saved over the years. Since I am moving to a smaller place, I am getting rid of old pots and pans, clothes, outdated text and research books, etcetera. Many would to call this task “downsizing”...and I would agree wholeheartedly.
This does not mean I am leaving the columns (including this one), writing in general or any of my blog talk radio shows. It just means I am cleaning out old files, getting rid of some stuff (books, audiobooks, CD’s and DVD’s) and stream lining my stuff for my newer place.
In thinking about this task (YES it is a chore), I have an understanding that what is happening in my personal life also is a gauge for my writing life. So we as writers need to do some spring cleaning of our own.
If you have an idea file, notebook or draw like I do, GO THROUGH IT! Sometimes with time, your tastes change. An idea you had a few years ago may not work for you today. You also may rediscover something and find a new way of using this idea.
Am I advocating throwing out the literary baby (the ideas) with the bath water? NOT AT ALL! All I am saying is review the files, look them over to see if they work for you at this time in your writing career. Maybe these ideas may inspire you write more or attempt things you forgotten about.
I will tell you (and freely admit it), I have been lax in cleaning out my idea drawer for years. Some of these previous ideas I wrote on cocktail napkins, back of envelopes, yellow and pink sticky notes and hotel bills from workshop trips from long ago. Many are jammed into a drawer of a desk. A number of these ideas have not been seen in years. I also felt like Indiana Jones unearthing the lost ark.
Some of these notes and starts of works included column ideas, beginnings of short stories or novels, novel plot synopsis proposals, a beginning of a play that seemed to go nowhere, an outline or two for a novel and the starts of poems left unfinished to my liking. In reviewing these ideas, I notice some ideas were very good. Others, let’s say this, they aren't up to my current standards.
Some of these old ideas I have unearthed and I’m now developing. That does not mean I will work them to the finish or just file them away again. Some of the other ideas, I have either burned in a friend's fireplace or have score points shooting them into the circular file. As I score a rim shot off the trash can, I yelled out (as I write these words, it is MARCH Madness on my TV set) “Thanks for playing, it was good to know you!”
Cleaning house is never easy. I just found that out old blender I have not used in five years. Goodwill is getting another blender.
You may, as you look through these ideas, find a sweet memory of a good time you may have had. Savor that moment. Just remember and laugh at some of the weird ideas you wrote on those cocktail napkins. I know I have. Also remember, these ideas were your brainchild once, you posted them on some sort of paper with the intent to do something with. Don't have regrets as you say to yourself, “Did I really write that garbage down? I must have been drunk! You know you weren’t. Never denigrate your ideas no matter how silly they seem years later.
I leave you with a quote from Ray Bradbury’s Zen in the Art of Writing: Essays on Creativity.
“That's the great secret of creativity. You treat ideas like cats: you make them follow you.”
Until Next Time, reach for the Stars!
Columnist: Bennet Pomerantz has covered the Audio medium for the last 20 years. He has syndicated newspaper columns, AUDIOWORLD and "Movies of Your Mind", in Affaire De Coeur Magazine. In which he showcase his vast and diverse knowledge of the spoken word medium.
He is also known as a media review critic (books, music, graphic novels, DVDs, CDs) in his weekly syndicated newspaper column "A Piece of the Page". He also is a ranked media reviewer for Amazon.com. http://www.facebook.com/bennet.pomerantz1 / E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org