Wednesday, December 11, 2019

The Idea Collector

Many people I know are collectors…of something. I know people who collect books. Others collect salt and pepper shakers or sports memorabilia. Golf balls, coins, stamps? You name it. People collect things that bring them joy.

My daughters were collectors. When they were young.

Allison collected porcelain dolls.
Danielle collected music globes.
Kendall collected Cherished Teddies.

Allison grew up, got married, and has two sons. She kept a few of her favorite dolls. Perhaps one day she’ll pass them on to a granddaughter. Or not.

Danielle still has most of her music globes, though now they are safely tucked away. She has four young children. Enough said.

Kendall married a minimalist. Don’t misunderstand. It’s a quality I admire. She may have one or two of her “Cherished” figures around, but some other collector dropping in on a yard sale benefitted from “drastically reduced still in box” prices. 

I understand. You grow up. As a little girl, I collected stuffed animals and rocks. The colorful animals covered my bed. I have one left. His name is Pokey. He was Lassie’s friend. I did the math and the poor thing is over sixty years old.

I’m still drawn to pretty rocks or fossils. I don’t have my collection anymore. Somehow in moving, my boxes of rocks and fossils disappeared. I mourned the loss, but my husband, Tom, seemed to be happy about it. Hmm…

Now I collect ideas. Seriously.

I am always bumping into great ideas. I jot them down for later use. I collect ideas for crafts, menus, parties, programs, and gifts. 

But my biggest collection? Ideas for stories and books I want to write.

I have story ideas scratched onto scraps of paper, receipts, church bulletins, calendars, envelopes, and in the margins of workbooks. A few ideas make it into my computer and I have a few in a notebook. But mostly, the ideas are “displayed” in my car cup holder, my wallet, or on the fronts of file folders in my closet.

I tried writing them on a poster in my office, but I would tire simply looking at the ever-growing list of possibilities. I finally grabbed a boot box and started throwing the bits and pieces of paper into it. Perfect. I can close the lid. 

I’ve tried to organize my story ideas. I’ve tried transferring them to a spreadsheet, copying them in a notebook, or putting them on index cards. It’s no use. There are simply too many of them.

Boot Box of Ideas
I have enough ideas to write a plethora of works of fiction and dozens of non-fiction works. I could spend the next 365+ days crafting stories and books using these ideas and never make a dent in the box. (That’s assuming I can read my writing on those scraps of paper.)

Do I throw up my hands in despair? No. I’m an idea person. I’m always coming up with ideas. I collect them. All I need to properly display those ideas is the time, energy, and motivation to write.

Which gives me a great idea…I could create an idea manager for writers like me…or not. So for Christmas this year, I’m asking Santa for a heavy dose of “follow through.” 

What’s on your Christmas list?


Leave your comments here. I look forward to hearing from you.