Why I don’t write #1: Lack of ideas

Why I don’t write #1: Lack of ideas

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I’ve been thinking about this series for a while, realising that post-wedding, post-new term, I still am not writing and a series of goal dates flash past while the page stays empty. I have lots of reasons and excuses in my head. But even as I started to type the title, my fingers pause on the colon: I don’t know what to write.

I have ideas. I have ideas on the pages of notebooks that line two study shelves and that are in my desk tidy, on a post-it note in the back of my school planner, on word documents on Dropbox – half finished paragraphs and ‘what if’ questions – on hard drives at work and home, on a scrap of A4 stuffed in the back of Year 12’s set text.

So if I have ideas, why don’t I have finished stories? Because ideas alone are not enough – they lack the precision, definition and stamina of a story, complete and entire. They need nurturing, growing, feeding, soothing into being. They need work. On their own, ideas are worthless – a handful of seeds scattered on rock that will come to nothing. But the ideas are there, buried in the places where I have hidden them waiting to be moved to somewhere they an be worked on and thought about and cared for.

I started the last paragraph “ideas are worthless” but deleted it because they’re not – but they’re not enough. Nothing but a starting point, a beginning. Something to mull over. but do I write because I lack ideas? No – a skim through the notebook to my left shows me fifty different what ifs, flashes of character, lines of dialogue, images and possibilities.

I don’t not write because I lack ideas. I have plenty of ideas.


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