Ideas sometimes will not make it to a state of end product. Every writer is guilty of feeling the guilt of a supposed failed idea.
But no ideas are really failed ideas. They can be stored away for another day with a possibility of return. The importance of getting an idea down should be more important than whether it will get finished. Part of the fun of writing work is revisiting those old ideas. I’ve written multiple times about how I will visit some old notebooks where vast amounts of journalistic poetic verse were written. Sometimes I can look at a piece of writing and remember where I was when I wrote it and what I might have been going through at that particular time.
An incredible trip down memory lane.
Some time ago I listened to an interview where one of my favourite writers spoke about how a novel that he never ended up publishing. He had “tried to write a novel” and finished it before giving it to some people to read. The beta readers of his novel thought the book was funny and engaging. Despite the positives, many readers offered up criticism that the author felt was fatal to the project. So he never ended up publishing the book. Even so, he emphasized that he had fun working on the project and was fine with the outcome.
The reason I share these thoughts is that I recently decided to shelve an idea that I have been working on for nearly two years. I’ve always wanted to write a novel myself with the intention of shopping it to a major publisher instead of releasing it under my own label.
Without getting into the overall exact specifics of the idea I can tell you it is a novel of very original thinking. I hit a nice home-run once before coming up with an original book idea which became Planned UnParenthood – Creating A Life Without Procreating. So I figured an original novel with an original story would work well too. The characters are ones that anyone can easily relate to. The story-line is a very original one that has rarely been explored in Canadian literature, let alone other genres for that matter.
So with all of this brimming confidence, you might ask why I would even think about putting this idea away? Be it permanently or temporarily?
Because it became too personal. A small number of experiences during the last year, were part of the original outline.
As I continued to write dialogue, I felt the personal touch on the story was becoming too personal. Some of what was already written were scenes and stories that were similar to some experiences I dealt with over the course of the last year.
Writing has always been for me not just about making a living with creativity. It remains to be an exercise in health. When I am working, I feel like a better person overall. Despite this, I was growing uncomfortable with the direction this novel was taking. Maybe it is a direction that I will need to take through to the end page someday.
Now is not the time. When I look at the novel idea and reflect on the events of the last year, I can summarize that I have stories to tell. In due course maybe I will tell those stories. Maybe later. There are other stories I want to tell.
The idea is still a workable idea and maybe one day I will pick it up again. If I do not, I am perfectly fine with it.
My preferred focus right now is on the great joys that this business constantly provides. To write great content for clients whose trust I have worked hard to earn. To write more material for the comedy universe that has constantly brought me such great laughter and joy in the best and worst times. To reflect on what I continue to learn and share it with a great audience of readers.
To live and live well within the business of words.