How to Clear Out a Sky Full of Locusts

Many people write simply to try and do something productive with ideas flying around their brains like a plague of locusts

They are like farmers who enjoy nothing better than watering and weeding the fields they’ve spent their lives cultivating–row on row of jobs and family relationships and ingrained habits.

When suddenly they hear ominous whirs of random ideas and self-talk that blot out the comforting sunlight and raise questions that depend completely on complex variables and characters.

Unfortunately this plague comes with your decision to begin writing anything: unless you happen to be named Georges Simenon (prolific author of the Inspector Maigret mysteries) you can abandon any hope of rounding up all those ideas and releasing them one at a time.

Because even if you could do that there will always be another wave of ideas and critical editing decisions on the horizon.

“Is this scene or dialogue in the right place? Can I tweak its transitions or tone so it might work here? Or should I just leave it lay where God has flang it and cross my fingers?”

It’s a big reason many writers publish a book much earlier than they should: they want to avoid the plague of questions and related decisions they can see massing on the horizon and decide to harvest their work much before the proper time.

As soon as a farmer spots locusts massing over a neighbor’s field they’d call the neighbors to come and help wave the insects off the crops.

Consider yourself forewarned that a plague of ideas is about to obscure your cherished work; there’s still time to get the help you need to prune and channel and prioritize your waves of ideas.

As long as you have an editor.


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