I’ve been talking to some friends lately, and it seems many of them have hit a writerly slump throughout the years (myself included!). I’m not talking about writer’s block. The question that’s got my attention is “Where did all the good ideas go?”Let me expound. Big blockbuster books hit the shelves regularly – The Hunger Games, Harry Potter, Children of Blood and Bone, Six of Crows, THUG, Long Way Down, etc. I picked just a couple of titles, but there are dozens more in every genre. And each time they do, many writers think, “Why didn’t I think of that?” or “I would have loved to have written that.” More still think, “There are no good ideas left; they’ve all been done.”
They might sit and examine their current works-in-progress and think there is no way their book can compare. That their book won’t be the one to breakout like a firework arcing into the sky of publishing. They might be right; they might be wrong. The thing is, you never know. Writing isn’t just subjective to readers, it’s subjective to writers. How can you judge your own work? How can you be truly objective? To be honest, you can’t.
Besides, while being the next big thing is the desire of many an author (yours included) there is one thing to remember: one of the most important things a book can do is open someone’s eyes, help one person see the world in another way, help one person feel less alone, have someone understand you, help someone to think and question the world around them.
So, yes, many a writer would rejoice in their blockbuster novels (I certainly would without a doubt), but it doesn’t mean you can’t rejoice in your book if it doesn’t hit that list. It isn’t a question of finding where the next big idea is. It’s a question of opening your heart and finding the connection to someone you’ll probably never meet, but make a big impact on.
So where did all the good ideas go? They’re in your head. Your heart. Your imagination.