When people discover I’m a writer, they usually have three responses.
- What have you written?/ What do you write?
- I have a great story for you; you should write it!
- How do you come up with ideas to write about?
Answering the first question is easy. Sometimes they want details, but usually not.
The second response is a little more tricky. You see, I keep a list of “Books I Want to Write” with me at all times. Currently that list is at 27 ideas, plus a couple prequel/sequel things that could turn into something. A few of these ideas are in development. Some are waiting their turn. So when someone hints that I should write their story, I tend to encourage them to try their hand at it without me.
The last question almost always makes me laugh. It’s as if my brain never expects it, and the slightest suggestion that I might run out of ideas is funny to me. Almost an I wish reaction.
This morning, for instance, I awoke from a dream that was absolutely crazy. It felt like watching a movie, but I was in it. And of course, I wasn’t me. It was a romantic little identity-swap “magic wish” situation that couldn’t really happen. But I woke up with a happy little buzz that told me this might be Book 28.
Probably half of my ideas (maybe more) have been born of a vivid dream. I can tell you that I don’t dream like a normal person. Always in color (once in Hanna-Barbara-esque animation), and I’m usually doing things I would never do in real life. I have killed lots of people (in self-defense or in defense of others) in my dreams, usually with unconventional weapons. Hand me a plastic fork and put me between a baddy and a dozen little kids, and I’m a regular Jason Bourne in my dreams. And, just to dispel whatever myths you might have heard, I have died a few times in my dreams. I didn’t like it, but it didn’t actually kill me.
I suppose that, like dreams, my writing is a sort of therapy for me. It’s a way to tackle my questions and solve problems that I can’t seem to figure out any other way. It’s a weird collaboration between my conscious and unconscious mind. Because of this, my writing may never bring fame or fortune; and I’m okay with that. But if my inner conflicts and resolutions help others deal with their hidden battles, then I’m more than okay with it. That will fulfill my purpose here on this planet. And that, my sweet friends, is better than cash in the bank.