Usually, ideas are not my issue with writing. I know a lot of writers struggle with a new idea, what to write, who the characters are, what's the plot, all that good stuff. The idea itself, though, the "what if..." is not a problem for me. Another time we can talk about follow-through, but as for the ideas themselves, life seems to be designed to throw them my way.
But sometimes I do find a blank. For writing a blog post, for example,
and sometimes for other short works. That's when the cart following the
horse can get useful. Today, for example, I sat down at my computer
without a clear plan of what to write about, but at least I had a plan
to conquer the lack of plan. My plan? Check out the photos I've recently
snapped on my camera, and see if the muse is lurking in images.
And there's my post.
What was next on our agenda, my in-laws' and mine on Sunday afternoon, was to finish walking down the bleacher stairs at the Clyde and Seamore show at SeaWorld and follow the kids to the sea lion pool to feed the animals. Instead, we were last to the bottom, encountered the trainers near the tank enclosure, and stopped to thank them for a great show and ask a few questions. Within minutes, they called over one of the stars and invited us to give him a pat. (He felt remarkably like my dog after a bath, all muscle and sleek short fur.)
The kids had raced off, fulfilling their plan. We took the more leisurely route and, though our plan got changed, it was infinitely for the better.
This can be true of our writing, too. Having a plan is great, and I'd even recommend it, but being flexible allows for rewards that might be invisible if we stick to the designated line. Same for our characters, too. How many times have you been reading a book and the character went left when she should have gone right? Well, that's when it can get really interesting. And that's the point, isn't it?