The fear of running out of ideas – Writing Nightmares #11

Once upon a time, when I was young and foolish, I wanted to be a writer but did nothing to become one. I wanted to write but I didn’t take the time to put the words on paper. I had a journal and started some stories, but never finished one.

I was paralysed by fear, the fear of beginning of course – the fear the catch every writer, but also another one: the fear of running out of ideas.

Sounds stupid?

Well, it isn’t when it stops you from doing something important. The fact is that I had this strange notion that I would have been gifted with only a few strong writing ideas, and I didn’t want to waste those few strong ideas on fruitless attempts. I thought I had to save those ideas, to cherish them for the time when I would have been good enough to do them justice.

How I planned to become a good writer without writing I really don’t know. Yes, of course I used to write something but I was never serious about it. I never committed because I was paralysed by the fear of running out of ideas. It was a sort of writer’s block in advance.

What happened then?

After cherishing and cuddling my ideas for years – yes, this madness went on for years – I got tired of waiting for the right moment and gave up writing. Truth to be told that wasn’t a good period for me. I was at University, far from home, I barely had time to think, let alone write… but this is no excuses.

I gave up on something I used to love because of fear.

That wasn’t me! And that wasn’t destined to end well, but in the mean time – a time that went on for a long while – I kept thinking that it was the right thing to do, that give up on my passion and focus on “important” things was what I was meant to do as an adult. Beside by the time I was convinced that my ideas would have been already used by someone else. So why keep worrying about them?

The problem was that I missed writing, a lot. I continued to write my journal but it wasn’t enough. I craved fiction writing. At a certain point I decided to go for the easy way: I started writing fan fictions, taking advantage of characters someone went to a lot of trouble to create, so that I could produce stories for an already faithful and voracious audience.

Anyway it was better than nothing. I was writing again.

A lot of things happened in the mean time. I graduated, passed the State Exam, found my first temporary job and through this all there were times when I wrote more, others when I wrote less and others when I didn’t write at all.

I reached a point when what I was doing wasn’t enough anymore. Fan fictions and meaningless short stories where fun to pass an afternoon but they weren’t enough anymore. I dwelt about my writing, day after day, coming to the realisation that I had to change something.

What gave me the final push was a book – as simple as that. It was You are a writer (so start acting like one) by Jeff Goins, I believe the headline is self explanatory. That book changed my view about writing. I didn’t commit to writing overnight, but I started changing my frame of mind.

I found the nerve to create a blog where I write in English, then I opened its twin where I write in Italian, then I entered NaNoWriMo for the first time and I wrote the first draft of my first novel. That was the first writing project I wrote from beginning to end.

And you know what happened?

As soon as I started writing, writing seriously, almost every day, ideas and inspiration appeared everywhere. I started seeing stories or topics for blog posts in landscapes, faces, walls; I found inspiration in eavesdropped conversations, newspaper articles, science workshops. I had so many ideas, my imagination was triggered by such a number of impulses that I had to bring a notebook with me to jot down those ideas.

At present I have to revise my first novel before deciding if I want to go the “traditional” road or go for self-publishing. I’m going to complete the first draft of my sci-fic project before the end of the month and I have a notebook full of ideas for at least other five novels.

I don’t plan to run out of ideas any time soon.

And you?


If you’re interested in reading more of my posts, don’t forget to sign up to my mailing list and get your FREE download of “Odyssey in the Job-sphere”!

2 thoughts on “The fear of running out of ideas – Writing Nightmares #11

  1. I have times when nothing comes and then others where I have a flood of ideas and have to filter out the rubbish. Generally, I have enough for the three post a week schedule I’ve set myself.

    You’re right though, the more I write the more I feel inspired to write.


Share your story in the comments!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s