I’m still editing my manuscript, but at the same time I’m thinking about my next big idea. And freaking out that I won’t have a next big idea. I think it’s a common concern: what if this is the end of the road? My goal is to be a full-time, published writer (fiction, non-fiction, either, both), but what if I can’t think of anything to write?
Barbara Kingsolver said in an interview that she aims to answer broad questions in her fiction. She ruminates on the world around her, comes up with a big question, and uses fiction to help answer that question. Or at least shed light on it.
Stephen King wrote that ideas come to him like lightning bolts. You either get an idea for a novel or you don’t.
My current manuscript, written during nanowrimo 2009, is a result of a lightning bolt. I don’t remember my train of thought but I remember sitting at my computer and thinking: aha, a Caribbean island, a murder or two, an unwilling detective, lots of local flavor.
The routine of daily writing and editing will soon be over and I’ll move on to the “attempt to get published” stage. Once I get there, I’ll need to start something new. But what? How do writers come up with new ideas?
In my writing journal I’m keeping a list of words that intrigue me and could be woven into a story. For example: secrets. Also, every time I go to Ikea I get the idea to write an immigrant novel–immigrants living in the US working at places like Ikea. How about a dry erase board instead of a paper journal–every time I pass by I can jot down a new idea or thought or inspiration. And when I’m feeling less than inspired I can stare at my previous scribbles.
How do you come up with new ideas? Do you have creative writing exercises and prompts? exercise? cooking? daily writings?