Friday, February 11, 2011

Dream, Dream, Dream ...

When do you get your best ideas? Some of you dream every night. Some of you start with a character. Mine come when I’m driving—or early in the morning when I’m fresh. Of course, sometimes they hit at night when I’m in bed tossing and turning. Because I’m often too lazy to reach over for pen and notebook, they’re gone by the next morning. I’ve been told that if I can’t remember an idea, then it wasn’t valid or a good idea to begin with, but of course, I disagree with that. I think because of my laziness, the good idea is snatched away from me and given to someone who’ll appreciate it and do something with it.

Last week I drove to Lafayette to have lunch with daughter. I listened to an oldies CD. The song, All I Have to do is Dream by the Everly Brothers came on, and brought back a memory of when I was a kid window shopping with my parents. I hated window shopping. Still do. I’ve never liked looking at things I want and being unable to buy them. Window shopping is pure torment.

My mind runs rampant and random when I drive—especially on an interstate where there’s straight sailing. So, when the words of All I have To Do is Dream slammed into me, I realized when it comes to my writing, all I’m doing is window shopping. All I have to do is dream, dream, dream … and I’m satisfied. Whenever I want to feel productive, all I have to do is dream… or critique a manuscript for a friend… or start a literary magazine with a friend … or join another online writer’s group … or blog, or leave a message on someone else's blog … or purchase another how-to book ... or even write/submit haiku.

Get the picture? It's my escape, yet it's satisfying my need to be creative and productive--or I think it is. Actually, that's why I feel so frustrated. My lack of focus...accomplishment. My dreaming is the equivalent of some of you mopping your floors for an hour, or cleaning off your desk to avoid getting over that hump in your chapter 7. You'll get back to your chapter 7--I hope.

My driving and random thoughts took me from the song, to window shopping with my parents, to analyzing my writing life—and that little plotting/word association/mind-mapping exercise showed me that I’m window shopping—wasting my time. And I don’t like it.

I guess I need to do something about it, don’t I? Revise/rewrite at least one of my eleven novels. Or trash them all and start over fresh.

Have you realized something about yourself that needs to be fixed? What are you doing about it?


Sylvia Ney said...

Isn't it funny, the way we trick ourselves out of TRUE productivity? I still believe in my blog. Even if I let a million other things keep me from submitting my manuscript or starting a new one from my mile high idea pile, my blog is a fun way to get "something" out there. I hope you keep up your own blog while you more actively pursue your new endeavors. I really enjoy reading your work. Good luck!

Charles Gramlich said...

My thoughts ramble from place to place much like that at times. but sometimes I think that the idea of "fixing" something about ourselves is the wrong thought. If we could take those things we feel we should fix and capatilize on them, make them work FOR us instead of against, we might have that unique voice that is what the best writing careers are built on.

Jess said...

Sylvia, I wish I could sit down and write a perfect first draft. All the rewriting has me running for other things. )

Charles, I really like the way you think.

Timekeeper said...

I could never write a perfect first draft. I start getting it right after about 6 go rounds. But somehow I managed to get a few books published. Here's where my mind is. I played music in the old days, played Dream, Dream, Dream, too, but I stopped playing in the early 70s. Now I want to reconnect to satisfy my soul.
I like this post. Please visit my blog.

Carole said...

I do see things about myself that need to be changed and I don't like it. Probably the thing I need the most right now is to finish what I start. I don't have the fighter gene. If obstacles come, i don't try to overcome. I think, I should have known I couldn't do that and I quit. So I need to quit quitting.

Lauren said...

I get my best ideas in the evening once my kids fall asleep and it's quiet!

Jess said...

Timekeeper- thanks for visiting me. Hope you come back again. I'll head over to your site and check out your books.

Carole--I was raised by a "scrapper" from Arkansas who tried to force me to fight for my rights. It didn't take. :) You and I share some of the same traits. I need to quit quiting too.

Lauren-I wrote and sold my novel when my kids were little. Now, with so much time on my hands, I dawdle. :) Too much free time can make or break a novelist. :( Thanks for leaving a comment.