I was catching up on some reading last week. The writer Hunter Davies has a column in Cumbria Life magazine, and in the issue I’d finally got around to reading he was discussing ideas: how some work, some don’t and some just aren’t right for him, but could work for other people. In the article he even mentions some ideas that readers can take for themselves. (Well, there is no copyright in ideas, only in how they are expressed.)
Several of his ideas that he was ‘giving away’ in his column were because they weren’t commercial enough. He’d tried offering them to publishers, but they’d all rejected them on the grounds that they weren’t enough of a money-spinner (for the publishers). Hunter Davies wasn’t saying that they were bad ideas - just not economically-viable ideas. Many of his ideas could work really well as a hobby-project for a writer who isn’t reliant upon selling everything they write to put food on the table.
This got me thinking … I often have ideas (thankfully) but I don’t always see an outlet, or market, for them immediately, so I often put them aside in storage for when the time is right. But it has never crossed my mind that my own writing circumstances might actually prevent me from developing an idea any further. My ideas books could be full of ideas that I’ll never be able to develop, for whatever reason, so is my ideas book the best place to store them? Or perhaps we should share our ideas around a bit more?
Even if we did, other writers would develop our ideas in their own way. Give a writers’ group an idea for an exercise and you never get two writers producing the same content.
So, next time you have an idea that you can’t use it right away, consider whether you’re the right writer to develop that idea in the first place. If not, then what are you going to do with it? We could start selling them on eBay! Now there’s an idea!