I’ve been meaning to write a couple of blog posts for over a week now. I wanted to plug a local novelist, Naseem Rahka, whose debut novel, The Crying Tree, just won the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association award.
I also wanted to write a post about the first annual Terroir Creative Writers Conference held in McVinnville. For non-Oregonians, McVinnville is a sweet little town in the heart of wine country, about 90 minutes from Portland. The word “terroir” is a winemaking term, not, alas, “terror” + “noir.”
Yet another novel idea preoccupies me. The air-fairy kind of preoccupation that involves a list of everything that interests me right now and a lot of nonfiction reading. Going from one topic to another, letting my mind wander in an imaginative way…Letting the subconscious juices burble…
But enough of that already. Last week I forced myself to get concrete. It’s one thing to amble around in the land of, Oh man, I’d like to write a story that incorporates x and centers around y — quite another thing to actually have a story idea.
So, last Monday, I opened a Word document. I wrote, “I want to write a story about (insert air-fairy inkling here)” and spent the week asking myself a million questions. By Friday, I had almost two pages of particulars (character names, location, central plotline, some backstory, an ending that will probably change but that’s okay).
I’m skittish. The last couple of novel ideas haven’t panned out. I almost have a complex! Second-guessing myself, perhaps, or, worse yet, trying too hard. By which I mean, trying too hard to write something that will for-sure get me published (as if there’s ever a “for-sure”).
This time around I’m trying to listen to my body for those “a-ha” moments that might indicate that I’m onto something worthwhile idea-wise. And I’m trying not to dismiss the fact that my idea seems…well…too outlandish — maybe even stupid?
But what is too outlandish these days? And what’s stupid anyhow? I don’t even know what I mean by that word when I use it. Must be my fear talking, right?