Friday 15 October 2021


A new creative idea goes round and round in your head like a worry. Not quite like a worry, of course, because round and round with a worry is unproductive and feels bad. With a worry, the more you let it fill your mind, the more the same stuck thoughts seem to come around without solutions.


But as a new creative idea goes round and round, it expands and develops; it puffs up like candy floss spinning in a tub, no, solider than that, it grows paths and bridges and sometimes dead ends. It’s a gorgeous thing to have a brand-new creative idea growing in your head. You want to nurture it, to obsess about it. It pops into your mind at the oddest moments. You play with it in the moments before you sleep and when you’re not quite awake.


But – and it’s a big but – there’s a moment when you have to pin your New Idea down. If not, it will disappear into the ether. You’ll remember the flavour of it, but you’ll never capture the excitement. Write it down now, before it’s gone. No matter that you’re working on something completely different. No matter that you haven’t a clue what to do with your new idea, that you don’t know what it actually is.


Set your notes to one side. Carry on with what you’re working on. Once the notes are on the page, your head will quiet. The New Idea is silent for now.


One day, when you come back to your New Idea, you’ll find that pinning it down has turned it into something different. It’s a bunch of notes on a page. It’s not flying anymore. Some of the magic has worn off. You’ll need to turn it over and inspect it to see if you can find the embers of the magic. You’ll need to push them around to see if the embers will spark. And then, if they do, you’ll need hours and days and weeks of solid work to turn the Idea into something you can show other people.


And maybe, if you do your job well, your New Idea will catch light in the mind of your reader and the idea that went round and round in your head will fill theirs. A gift from your mind to theirs.

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