I've written a lot of books and I'm still writing. People often ask me where I get the ideas for my fiction and non-fiction; the implication is that ideas are hard to come by. I can tell you, the reality is that ideas spring up like mushrooms after a rainstorm. They're everywhere. A snippet of overheard conversation. A photo on a billboard. A personal life situation. I've even written books on request - that's what happened with Labrys and Horns, which my Minoan spirituality group asked me to write as a follow-up to Ariadne's Thread.
For many writers, including me, coming up with ideas isn't the problem. I have a whole file drawer full of book ideas - novels, non-fiction, you name it. The problem is finding the time and the focus to figure out which of those ideas will turn into the best books.
Which concepts can I actually flesh out into a full-length story?
Which subjects can I dig up enough interesting information about to create a whole book?
And, of course, the biggest problem for me:
Which one should I tackle first?
I get the feeling that I'm not very different from other creative people. Ideas pop into my head constantly throughout the day. Inspiration is everywhere. The challenge is to sort through the flash and sparkle of all the great ideas to find the ones I can actually turn into books that people will want to read.
Once I've made that decision, which is hard enough, the next step is even harder: Actually sitting down and turning that idea into a book. This is the reason behind all those unfinished manuscripts in people's desk drawers all over the world.
It ain't easy.
It's actually very hard work, but most people don't realize that until they're hip-deep in a manuscript with no way out. It takes many hours and lots of labor and dedication to turn an idea into a book. It doesn't matter whether you're writing romance or horror or self-help or something else entirely. It's work.
But for those of us who feel compelled to write, who can't imagine a life that doesn't involve putting words together into bigger and bigger bunches until we finally have a book, it's a labor of love.
Do you have an idea for a book? I bet you have more than one idea. That's usually how it works. Hang onto those ideas. But even more important: Do something with them. Pick one - your favorite, the wackiest one, the one your best friend likes, whatever. Pick one and run with it. Write that book.
No one else is going to write it for you.