One conversation I have with new writers goes like this:
Client: I’ve wanted to write a book for a long time.
Me: What’s stopping you?
Client: I can’t decide what to write about. I have a lot of ideas, but I don’t know which to choose. How do I know which will work? How do I know if people will like it? How do I find the perfect idea?
And I shake my head and tell them, “You just stop waiting, because there are no perfect ideas.”
This is how writing a book works:
- You get an idea.
- You roll it around in your head for a while, let it percolate and be shaped by your life, your subconscious, and your interests.
- Then you start working on it, either pre-writing, or drafting, however your process works, and as you go along, you notice your ideas shifting. You get new ones, or realize the original premise needs to shift to accommodate something else.
- So you shift a bit, write some more, and the same thing happens.
- Eventually, you reach the end of your draft, and begin your revisions. You excise whole chapters, move things around, add concepts, change things around, and reorganize it all.
- By the time you’re done, the book is shaped a lot like your original idea, but the interior is pretty different.
We’re taught to see writing as a rigid, structured process.
From idea, to outline, to draft, to revision, to editing, and eventually to publication.
But the reality of writing is different.
Writing is, and always will be, a fluid process that is bound up in the creator’s instincts, interests, and intuition as much as it’s shaped and honed by technical skills.
So don’t wait for a “perfect” idea. Just look for one that lights you up and get to work!