Friday, May 6, 2011

Don't Expect Lightning to Strike Twice

People often ask me "Where do you get your ideas?"

I'm sure most authors get that on a pretty regular basis.  I sometimes tell them "Ideas R Us."

Honestly, I'm not sure where ideas come.  The idea for "The Canticle Kingdom", when working at Target arranging stuff on the shelves. I didn't have on my thinking cap, and I wasn't even thinking about writing.  The brain is strange in that any little thing, a snatch of conversation, a strange image, even a song can spark an idea.  You can't really predict when these ideas are going to hit, but you can be prepared for them.

The know the old saying that "lightning never strikes the same place twice"? That's often true for ideas too.  And just like lightning, they can come quickly and powerfully and then be gone just as quickly.  If you are serious about writing, make a plan of where you are going to keep your ideas.  Always carry something around with you that you can write on, or can store your ideas in.  When one strikes, capture it as soon as you can. The shortest pencil really is longer than the longest memory.

Once you have that idea captured, make sure that you put it some place safe where you can easily get at it later.  I have a file which I back up on my computer that has all of my snatches of ideas so that I can visit them later when I'm looking for a new project.

You may never know how much an idea could be worth.  Just think it J.K. Rowling had failed to act on the idea for Harry Potter.  That idea was literally worth millions of dollars.  I'm not saying that all ideas are equally valuable, but if you don't preserve them, you'll never know.

This week on my personal blog, I outline a few important lessons learned at a book signing and reveal the cover for my upcoming release "The Last Archangel."  Stop on by!


  1. I find that I don't really know what my ideas are until I write them down. Otherwise they just congeal into a nebulous blob in my brain and nothing ever happens with them. I like the idea of keeping snatches of ideas for later. Thanks.

  2. That's very interesting! I often find that I get the spark of the idea and then I can flesh it out more when I commit it to paper. Thanks for stopping by.

  3. Excellent post and great cover for The Last Archangel. I can't wait for others to read it.