Have you ever come up with an awesome idea, written it down, maybe even developed it a little, and then… nothing?
Maybe you’ve got a character you absolutely adore, but for some reason you can’t fit her into a story. Or an idea for a blog post that you desperately want to share but it just doesn’t feel complete yet. Or a concept for a poem but you can’t get it to throw itself onto the page.
It could be writer’s block (if so, take a look at this blog written by our founder Teagan on ways to combat it), or maybe the initial idea just isn’t inspiring you anymore.
In my own writing world, I call these my “false starts.”
I’ve got a ton of stories that I’ve started and journal entries that I one day wanted to turn into blog posts, ideas that lay encapsulated in weathered notebooks on my shelves at home, stories that have never breathed fresh air.
Here are a few of them:
- A story that starts out from a man’s perspective, just after he’s (presumably) murdered someone. Thought it was dope AF. Never got past the intro.
- A girl steps out on stage and is battling stage-fright – what happens to her? Who knows? Not me.
- A blog post about dreams, both sleeping and waking. I’ve gone back to this one several times and can’t seem to find a rhythm.
When I started them, these ideas felt full of life and promise. Now they lay forgotten, or they hover around in the back of my mind, reminders of little failures.
But… are they failures?
If we start something and pour ourselves into it, then can’t complete the project, it definitely can feel like failure. I think it’s easy to get caught up in the drafts, the unfinished-ness of our work.
But have faith, writer, because it’s my opinion that false starts don’t mean failure… they mean opportunity.
Think of all the wonderful ideas you’ve had. That murder mystery lying in wait. That character with a spark of brilliance. That shaded, forested wonderland you created.
They all have value, writer, and I think those ideas need to get out on the page so that you can move on from them. Not every idea is going to turn into something incredible, but every false start can be a learning experience, can mean more practice. And I think every false start gets you closer to a good one. Closer to the one that may turn into a self-published short story, or an impactful blog post, or a full-fledged novel.
So keep writing. Keep starting, even if some of those ideas fizzle away. Maybe go back to your older false starts and see what lingers there, what things you may have missed. Maybe you’ll be rejuvenated.
And even if not, I can’t wait to read what idea comes next.
Got a few false starts you want to share, or an idea you need some help on? Join the TWC Facebook Group to connect with other writers.
Comments or questions? Let us know in the comments, or fill out our contact form!