No, not another A to Z Challenge post, I swear! Actually, those are all done now, and I have to say. WHEW!
Remember when you were in high school? I realize some readers may actually be still in high school (hi, kids!), but stay with me here. In high school I had to write a paper, and it wasn’t a research paper, it was called an I-search paper. We couldn’t turn to books for our information, we had to contact people, make phone calls, and do all the learning first-hand.
I recall the absolutely hardest part for me was deciding on a topic. I came up with an idea right off the bat, but do you know who shot me down?
Both my parents, and my teachers. *thbpt*
Unbelievable, I thought. How am I going to come up with anything now? I had no more ideas.
Just like in Field of Dreams, I heard a voice. Make a list, it said.
I’m kidding. It was my teacher, or my dad. Someone. I don’t even like Field of Dreams as a movie, and I’m especially not fond of Kevin Costner. Although I did enjoy both Waterworld and The Postman. But, I digress. (By the way, do you know how annoying it is that the only joke that people ever tell when you say you’re from Iowa is related to Field of Dreams, unless they’re asking you about potatoes of all things? True story.)
The trick when you’re out of ideas is to make two lists. The first list will consist of the first ten to twenty ideas that first occur to you. That list, when you’re done, you throw away.
The second list will consist of the next ten to twenty ideas. Those are the ones you pick your I-search paper topic from.
I wrote my paper on how words make it into the dictionary. Many, many people who answer the phones at schools of higher learning will then mistake “etymology” for “anthropology”, even if you spell it and explain what it means, and you will end up talking to one very confused professor. Eventually you’ll make a phone call to Miriam-Webster, or another suitable dictionary publishing company, and get a letter that details the process, and then you can write your paper.
The A to Z Challenge is a lot like those two lists I just mentioned. When I forced myself to come up with a new idea for very nearly every day of the week, I ran out of the top-of-the-mind ideas very quickly. The ideas that came after those first ideas were popped off…those were the good ones. The interesting ones. Not all of them, of course, but now that I’ve had a chance to write about the “easy” ideas, I get a chance to explore a mystical handbag that always has what you need, a pencil that creates reality from ones wishes, and a woman whose personality changes based on the drinks she consumes.And where was I going with all this, you ask?
Can you imagine what I haven’t thought of yet? How much more I’ll think of if I keep this pace up?
My plans for the rest of the year include publishing three novel-length stories (NaNoWriMo 2011, Camp NaNo 2012 June session, and Camp NaNo 2012 August session), the edited and updated A to Z Challenge works that have appeared on my blog (read them here for free, folks!), and now…
Well. Now I know I can churn out a flash fiction a night, give or take.
I might not win any awards for writing, but wouldn’t it be amazing to be the most prolific new writer of 2012?
I can do that.
(And I’ve lied about this being another A to Z Challenge post. Well, it wasn’t a challenge post…but it was. You get the idea.)