Freelance Journalist, Editor, Copywriter and Author – Dubai

The Pursuit of the Perfect Idea for a Book

Great work, Andrea

“I was travelling back to London on my own on a crowded train, and the idea for Harry Potter simply fell into my head. I had been writing almost continuously since the age of six but I had never been so excited about an idea before. “- JK Rowling on how the idea for Harry Potter came to her.

I’m pretty sure that any wannabe author, or even those who have been published and are looking for their next great idea, all wish that something as great as Harry Potter would just seemingly ‘pop’ into their heads. I know for one that I wish that it would happen, but at the grand old age of 30, I can confirm to you all that I’m still waiting. Unfortunately, there’s no best-selling story in sight.

I’ve wanted to write a book for as long as I can remember – it’s one of my main life goals (in addition to being rich enough to never have to work another day in my life, but let’s get realistic here). The only thing that eludes me is that great idea. I mean, many ideas have come and gone, but whenever I’ve tried to flesh them out a bit more, all I can find are faults with them. This in turn frustrates me, I tell myself I’m a loser and then eat a whole tub of Jaffa Cakes to make myself feel even more ridiculous.

I’m starting to realise, though, that ideas as great as Harry Potter don’t always just manifest themselves magically while travelling on the train to London. If it were as easy as that, I’d sit my ass down on one of the East Coast line trains and go back and forth until I had my own great vision. If only. Sigh.

I was talking to a close friend of mine the other day about how I’m frustrated with the fact that I’ve yet to start writing my book. She recommended that I start writing at least 300 words a day, even if they’re just ‘crappy notes’ – to quote her. And I’m starting to think that she has a very valid point – the truth is, my current method of sitting and staring into space and trying hard to think of something great to write about is achieving me nothing.

My boyfriend has also pointed out to me that I’m just ‘scared.’ And the more I think about it, the more I realise he’s right. I’m so scared of failing at this, that I’m doing nothing. Counterproductive much?

So my new method of action is to start writing something – anything – in the hope that something which resembles a great idea will appear. After all, not all dreams begin with a dream – some of us actually have to work a bit harder to get there.

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