When is My Idea Ready to Write?

The ideas are constantly floating in and out of my head like the fish on those horrible screensavers (they are entirely too distracting). When one of them swims off-screen, it’s not usually lost, but taking a break before swimming back into view. Sometimes, they do die off, but it’s a rare occurrence, and the number of little fish being born every day make up for the occasional death. But when is the fish ready to be fried for supper?

…did I go to far with that metaphor? I might have; let me clarify.

For me, there are always ideas once I start paying attention to them floating about. Just in the month of May I doubled my reserve of ideas just because I started writing them down. However, there is a difference between having an idea and having an idea that’s ready for me to work with.

When are those ideas ready?

If I’m looking for a particular type of story, say I’m writing for a school assignment or some sort of contest, then I just look for ideas that fit the prompt and go from there. Unfortunately, if I don’t have one that fits it means I have to brainstorm, which doesn’t often result in my best stories.

Otherwise, I look for the first story idea that I like. If it sparks anything good, then I’m ready to try it out for a few days unless I need to write then and there. I brainstorm a few ideas, and see how it works out when I start to outline or write. It’s not a perfect system, but it works much more often than it doesn’t.

How do you know an idea’s ready for writing? Are you like me with a list ready to review or do you have to wait each time for the right idea to cross your mind? I’d love to know.



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