They say, the best things in life are free. Of course, there's something to be said for a free tank of gas, a free soda refill at the restaurant, or even a free vanilla latte when my friend picks one up for me on BOGO day at Starbucks. Or how about those free samples at Costco? I think they literally have a free item to try on every aisle, and people are going to arm wrestle someone if they are handing out the good stuff. Oh, what about the free book bins in front of 2nd and Charles? I always wanted a free book on Gardening in Alaska written in 1982. Okay, maybe not.
Back home in Ohio, at our small-town ice cream shop, my mom always got the free "puppy cones" for our wiener dogs, Fritz and Heidi. They were these cute little mini cones of soft-serve vanilla ice cream topped with a dog biscuit, and our dogs went nuts over them. Americans love free stuff. I get something for free, and I don't have to work for it. I don't have to do much but wait in line, or buy something I was going to buy anyway, and the "freebie" is the bonus. Receiving free stuff is easy. No commitment, no sacrifice, no real energy expelled. It's free.
There's another kind of "something free" that people tend to pay way less attention to. It's with us all the time, but it's often incomplete or broken, sometimes lost or forgotten. Sometimes it's the smallest thing we've ever seen, and sometimes it's so vast it seems impossible to carry. But it's yours-free of charge. So, what will you do with your FREE IDEAS?
I've been working on writing (the craft) and revising my first "idea" for nearly five years now, and it's been hard as hell. I've had moments when I felt victorious in completing a full first draft. I've felt the agony of defeat when I read my first critique. And again when I lost my first writing contest. And again when I received my first rejection letter. I've wondered why the hell I even try. I've wondered if I am wasting my time. I've thought about all the friends and family that have read drafts for me over these five years and nearly puked thinking about the versions they saw and how awful they were. And yet, they read them and told me nice things anyway. It makes me want to pick up version 327 and shove it in front of them, beg them to read it again and cry out, "see, it got better!"
Trying to write for publication is hard. There are the few who get lucky and hit it big on their first try, but that is not me, not yet anyway. But it may be time to shelve my first idea and try something new. I've always resisted the thought of putting it down and moving on. My writing friends, both published and unpublished, have tried to encourage me to begin a new story. But letting go is hard, really hard. In a way, I feel like I'm abandoning the characters who mean so much to me, the characters who birthed the writer. I know, I know-- I'm the writer, I created the characters. But as the years came and went, and the writing changed a hundred times over, it was the characters who began to create the writer. I don't like to think of my characters as tools for learning, they are too real, too special to me; but they certainly filled the role. I planned a three book series. The ideas are there, they lay in wait to be spun into a fantasy only my imagination can conceive. But I feel like I am out of time. This year is coming to an end and I still don't have the answers I seek. So, as I sit at my laptop today, mulling over the NEW ideas in my mind, and trying to decide which broken, forgotten, and sometimes painful idea to pull from the recess of my mind, I know I can't let go of everything old. But I am no longer going to ignore the idea of something new.
May 2019 bring you peace, joy, prosperity, and FREE IDEAS. Pick one up and run with it, see where it takes you, what you can create, who you can impact, or how you can make a change. Never ignore your FREE IDEAS, they are yours.