I’m noticing a pattern in my woolgathering and writing. It goes like this:
Day 1 — I get a flash of an idea for a story (or series of stories). The idea is very vague, but I’m fairly excited about it and write it down.
Day 2 — I get more ideas that build on the original idea, writing them down. I’m even more excited about the story.
Day 3-4 — I can’t stop thinking about these story ideas. I want to spend every waking hour on them, but I can’t, so I spend what time I can adding more ideas, fleshing some things out and generally getting more and more excited.
Day 5 — I don’t have any more ideas, but as I look over my notes, I’m still very excited about the story. I can’t wait to get some time to actually start writing, because this is clearly going to be an amazing story!
Day 6 — I look over my notes again and start getting more ideas, but these ideas are starting to calcify the energy and enthusiasm I’ve been feeling. I start to question everything about the ideas. Are the characters likable and believable? Does the setting even make sense? Do I even have the ability to pull this story off? Doubt begins to overshadow everything about the story.
Day 7 — I put the notes aside and shelve the story away as “something I might write someday.”
(Have I mentioned I have a short attention span?)
So I should clearly not wait more than four days before I start the actual writing. Definitely don’t wait a week or more. I should ride that wave of enthusiasm, rather than letting it die down. Run wild over the self-doubt, trampling it underfoot. Because I’m tired of letting my fires dim.