Once Upon a Bumble: WHAT to Write

I realize that sometimes I do a lot more thinking than actually DOING. I’m the kind of person that can fret all night about what to wear to the party and then, lo and behold, the party is over when I get there. Now that’s just sad. Actually, I haven’t been to any parties in a long time. Also, sad.

Lately, I’m thinking about WHAT to write. I can spend a lot of time thinking about this. It would seem to be a huge part of the puzzle in the writing process. In fact, I don’t think you get past GO without this figured out.

I think I have the wherewithal to write a book. I just, you know, haven’t decided what to write about yet. Procrastinator? Perhaps. Just hasn’t come to me yet? Haven’t had the mind blowing experience that shouts, “You need to put this in a book?” Oh, I have ideas swirling around. As I mentioned, I like to think about things. But also, I don’t want to invest a load of time into something and then half way through run out of gas and say, “This was a stupid idea.” Time is so precious and all.

I’d like to start…notice how I am doing this, not thinking about it…a weekly forum of sorts. It’s called Once Upon a Bumble. I know, that’s so catchy, isn’t it? What? You think it’s stupid? Well, who cares what you think?

Actually, I do care what you think. I won’t attempt to provide writing advice, as I think there are many wonderful blogs out there that already do this well. It’s actually me that needs the advice. Yeah, I’m just being a little selfish. Free advice. I mean, who can pass up this opportunity?

Seriously, I’m sure we can learn a lot just by talking, then we can think about it, then we can DO it. I will simply ask a question that I’ve been thinking about to open it up. And, I have lots of questions, need lots of advice…

Here it is….the basic question:Β How do you decide WHAT to write?

Do you write what you know? Is it something that’s pulling at your conscious, keeping you up at night? Is it something that’s eating away at you that needs to get out?

Or, is it more methodical, something that interests you? Something you researched? Is it an experience you need to share or communicate? Does it begin with a character?

How do you zero in and pick your subject? Or, does it pick you? When does an idea say, Yes, Green Light, Go, Write This?

I know your answers will not be same for every project that you write. I am thinking of projects of longer length, not so much blog post topics. It doesn’t matter if you have written a book, are in the process of doing so, or like me, are sitting on the fence. What do you think?

Okay, now give it up. What’s your secret?

photo credit: 0olong via photo pin cc

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52 thoughts on “Once Upon a Bumble: WHAT to Write

  1. Now don’t tell anyone Ms Bumble, my secret is………Bam!! Sorry, had to shoot myself . But I’ll tell you. I don’t concentrate on the whole initial idea. Just take one piece and really work on it to see where it goes. Once exhausted repeat the process with the next idea. I like to, say, create an action and repeat it three times, each time getting stronger in the story to build up interest. Then it’s a matter of taking all these writings and somehow blend them together with a common theme runnning through. I have written the first page of a novel……and my blog has taken over. Help !! πŸ˜‰

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    1. I know, right? You can get so lost in the blog fog and abandon your book forever. I like the idea of starting small and perhaps it builds into the bigger idea. A bigger iidea waiting to happen after spending some time working it through. Thank you.

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  2. I tend to just get hit with a random idea — which is usually triggered either by walking through the park, or from a TV show/book. This morning I was reading a Naruto fanfiction (don’t judge!), and I got this cool new book idea about … well, I can’t tell you because it’s a secret πŸ˜€

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    1. Ah, man. What is it?!! I was going to so snag that. No, I wouldn’t judge. Definitely not. Best of luck with that, whatever IT is. True, sometimes an idea can just hit you. Do you then have a process? Just start writing? Thanks for your comments.

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      1. I usually let the concept mull in my head for a couple of weeks. If I can still remember it when I get around to writing, then I write it. If I can’t remember, it probably wasn’t a very good idea anyway.

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      1. Another thought is when you think a piece of writing is total garbage, Do NOT delete it. Put it in a file “I wish I had not written this !!”. It may be just the jigsaw piece you need for a future project.

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      2. That’s great advice, Ralph. It’s so easy now to push the delete button. That’s true. Sometimes, one little word or sentence is all you need to connect something. I mean the right word or sentence, not just any. I hope I’m making sense.

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  3. I like this post very much … no I have not been selfish, just honest! Yep, so I can honestly say that I am glad there are others like me … and few at that! In my case it went like this; as a kid and a young woman I did not realize that every time I felt truly alive; I was writing. So I wrote like one breaths the air; unawares. Some teachers said it was great; some laughed at me … it all felt sideways. Because I thought I have much bigger plans. Then I lost my complete tool kit; the language. Kaput. And the other plans. And now I have assembled, somewhat shabby, a new tool kit. So we are back were we started; to feel alive I can only write. My blog is my β€˜living room’, a parlour as I understand it. Visitors come. The torture rooms are in the beck … where stories fight to come out … and have been for years. And I all I have is my shabby new tool kit.
    Sorry for the too long comment,,
    Kind Regards,
    Daniela

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    1. Oh, never too long. Stories are fighting to come out. Do you think something is holding them back? I like your comments about writing like one breathes the air. I imagine if you do that enough something will come to fruition. I bet your change of plans brought new stories to your writing, even if the tool kit is, as you say, somewhat shabby.

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  4. I’ve written two novels. I can’t think what to write next! Two years ago, while trying to think of what to write next, I wound up doing a sequel to the second novel. Just kept going with it and it turned out great I think. I’m going to release it soon. With the novels I kind of made it up as it went along and then went back and forth editing endlessly. Each book took over ten years to do. So, if you don’t come up with an idea for a novel, maybe you’re better off.

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    1. Congratulations on your novels, Stephen. That’s wonderful. Wow, what a long process. I think I do fear this a little. I’m not fooling myself that writing is a lot of work. Will you be writing another one?

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      1. I don’t want to discourage you. But it is a lot of work, at least for me it is. I didn’t use an outline, which made it harder. So – if I have an idea – I might try another. I think I told you that I finished a third one – a novella – just by continuing some threads from the second one. So, just write. A couple of pages every day – and before you know it – well, then you can start editing.

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      2. Thanks for being honest. Writing, then editing, and then you hope someone reads it. So, next time you would use an outline? I can see the benefit of that especially if your idea is well-developed. I like the idea of keeping on track by writing a certain number of pages a day. I should try that. Thanks!

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      3. I hope you don’t mind Bumba. If during writing your 2 pages and have a total mental block…..say you were blocked at…”I was thrown off the bus” ….and you know you’re meeting somebody at the railway station for the next scene. Write the next scene, try not to sit for 2 hours pondering “thrown off the bus, what next, got to get to station in 10 minutes, how am I going to get there with such and such happening during the 10 minutes” Probably while you are writing the next scene the connection will reveal itself. At least this way you are still writing πŸ™‚

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      4. Brilliant, Ralph. I’m actually having that very problem. I probably should just skip over it to keep writing. I think that’s the biggest key for me. I just need to keep it going. Thanks. πŸ™‚

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  5. I have a hard time finishing anything! Usually ideas/inspiration come to me at very strange times…sometimes in dreams. Whenever I get a “brilliant” idea for a post or book, I enter it into my phone, which is convenient since I always have it on me. I have also tried writing down the jist of my dreams when I first wake up in the morning and I’ve found that to be entertaining if not inspiring!!

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  6. I think a lot of people, myself included, have been through this. Sometimes I wanna write something SO BAD, but nothing comes to mind and it’s almost painful. I’ve a little golden notebook I carry around with me. Often, what comes to mind are phrases and sentences. And after scribbling down a page or two of them, I tend to read them over and over again until I manage to string them together. Some times, the outcome is much more polished, sometimes choppy but hey, I can’t say I didn’t give it a shot at least, right?

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  7. Wonderful post! I have the same problem, so no advice, but I have enjoyed reading everyone’s comments! Some were great tips! Thanks!

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  8. For the longest time I have been trying to write a post that touches on your quandary, so whittling it down to a comment would be tough. This past week the thought that’s been sitting with me is that there’s a difference between preferring (or being stronger at) writing over other forms of expression and being a writer in the sense of one who creates something or communicates significant truth and / or beauty.

    I also believe process may be as unique as fingerprints. I’m fascinated by hearing others’ processes. One idea may be to write out everything and then let the words and idea tell you which ones most need to be shared. Write on!

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    1. Very interesting. I like your thought about your process, or maybe even what you write, as unique as your fingerprints. I think it’s true as writers we may gravitate towards one type of writing or genre. But perhaps seeking advice on this is a stretch since certainly no one can really suggest what I should write, or even explain what they write. I think what you end up writing is so pieces of yourself. So, I like your idea about letting words and ideas dictate, and provide the motivation for, what story to write. I guess so long as there’s fuel, I can keep writing. If one day, I notice I’m on empty maybe the idea isn’t what is was cracked up to be. Thanks for your comments.

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      1. I think it’s a great gift you give to your readers (or potential readers) that you’re thinking so much about the writing! I meant also to say that I’m sorry it took so long to drop by and I’m still just dashing through, but I promise to come back!

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      2. Why, thank you. Hopefully, it’s a good opportunity for everyone to gain something. I appreciate all your comments and insight. Thanks for taking the time. Please do come back. No worries. I know it’s hard to read everyone. No many blogs, so little time πŸ™‚ P.S. What should I call you?

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  9. I believe that writing what you know is the key (for longer projects, at least). I started a novel a few years ago that was meant to be a historical fiction piece that took place in a country I’d never seen. After months of frustration, I had a dream about the same characters in present day, living in a city I used to live in and know fairly well. It took off from there. That said, I’ve changed jobs since then and have less time than I used to, so the darn thing will still take me a decade to write. (it’ll be historical fiction after all!)

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    1. Interesting. It sounds like your mind was processing your story throughout, even when you didn’t even know it, in your sleep. I’m so happy you made a breakthrough. Dreams can be powerful. Unfortunately, I can’t seem to remember any lately. Best of luck in finishing your novel. I wish you well.

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  10. I guess that depends, what kind of writer you are. (Probably someone else here has said it before me): I could never write about something that I haven’t at least to some extend experienced. So I would not write science fiction or fantasy. And I don’t have a writing plan: The story unfolds itself. The characters have a life on their own. I can only write, when I’m in some kind of flow, and that happens mostly when I stumbled out of bed, unwashed and just sit there with my laptop and a coffee.
    You can only try. Take an idea and see if you can put life in the people you create.

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    1. Thanks! I’m sure lots of stories are based on our personal experiences and somehow our characters become their own people. If we can breathe life into them and make them believable, then I think we succeed as writers. Great comments. First thing in the morning is a nice time to write when your mind has not yet been cluttered with other business.

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  11. For me it is usually something I see or read that leads to a memory or a thought that sets me of in a direction that may be completely different than what I was reading about. I too would like to write a book “someday”. I’ve had a couple of ideas over the years that “got me thinking”. I had one a couple weeks ago while reading the science news. But it is a lot of time! I think your forum idea is a good one.

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    1. Hi Eric. I think there are a lot of us who would like to write a book, but actually putting an idea into practice is, well, really hard. I hope you can get your book written. I think it takes time and patience. But I guess you never know what may spark an idea. It could be just a memory or something you read. Thanks for all your comments.

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  12. As I’m sure you’ve noticed I’m not much of a writer, B.F. (which explains all the images, I guess – and why I’m so impressed by folks like you who are so good with ‘the words’)! So, luckily, I don’t have to worry about how / what / where to start writing. That’s fortunate, since the single paragraph or so shabbily construct twice a week or so seems to take me at lest half an hour to write and STILL makes no sense (for real – I only wish I was kidding). I’d imagine how you feel about starting might be similar to how I feel before I start a drawing/painting/etc., though (as they say the first mark is always the most difficult to make – and I tend to find that’s often true). Luckily when it comes to WHAT to make I’ve got so many ideas jotted down at this point it’s just usually a matter of picking something I can cobble together with I have laying around at the moment (which I guess wouldn’t help a writer so much – now that I stop to think about it). But… you know… the thought is there.
    πŸ™‚

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    1. Well, my my. I’d say your comments amount to a good sized paragraph. Perhaps, you’re underestimating yourself. If it makes you feel any better, I couldn’t cobble a drawing or painting together to make what anyone would consider presentable. I rely on stock photos usually. But, you know, it’s all about process. I imagine all artists have their preferences. I think what you say is true though. Sometimes you just need to get started and the first mark, (word, page) is probably the hardest. I appreciate your thoughts πŸ™‚

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  13. Hi Amy! Great post and great conversation! When I wrote my book, The Right Relationship Starts with You, I wrote it in pieces and not from beginning to end. For example, I would get a thought about something and then jot it down in a notebook I carried with me. It could material from a conversation I had with someone or an experience I had that day or week. Then, over time I compiled all the information and it evolved into a finished book. It was a day by day process and having that notebook at hand when my ideas were fresh seemed to be the key and not worrying how it would all fit together. Hope that helps. πŸ™‚

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    1. Thanks, Cathie. That’s immensely helpful. I guess it will require a lot of patience and time. Well, it’s good thing I have no deadline. Or, is that bad thing? I’m encouraged to get it in motion. I really appreciate your comments. Thanks for taking the time.

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  14. Great post, and I’m happy to chime in, as I think my process is probably a bit different from others. I really view writing as a very physical activity so the act of sitting in front of my keyboard and just moving my fingers along the keyboard, writing anything (really! anything!) with the idea that “This sucks now but I’ll fix it later” as I plod along. If you look at my writing drafts it’s not uncommon to see “something else happens here” and “add something funny here” inserted in the text. To me it’s important to keep chugging along, and have enough confidence to realize that something will come to me, and whatever crap I write now, I’ll somehow be able to go back and fix it later.

    And my deepest admiration for the folks out there who have completed novel length work! Kudos!

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    1. Writing as a physical activity. I like that! I actually start thinking a lot more clearly when I get up to do something. I have “a ha” moments that way. And, I run back to my computer to add a bit more. I also think it’s helpful to allow yourself to add it later. Your comments are great and most appreciated. Thank you. πŸ™‚

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  15. Well, if What is giving you trouble, then how about asking When or Who? Perhaps you’re asking the wrong question in your search for what to write about. The wrong question will usually lead you to the wrong answer. We all know that a wrong answer, of course, will be of no (or little) help. So, get back to asking the right questions to come up with the right answers.

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    1. Thank you for your input, C.A. You’re right. It’s not altogether necessary to start with What, especially if you’re not getting anywhere. You can always begin from a different point. I assume you are referencing the Who or When in a story or piece of writing, right? Thanks!

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      1. Not specifically. The β€˜When’ and β€˜Who’ could also be directed toward something in your life that has happened, or someone that you know. It really depends on where you feel like looking for the answers to your questions.

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      2. Thank you. Yes, that’s different. I’m so happy you commented. I’m putting all these ideas together for a post tomorrow. Maybe it will be useful to people. I found everyone’s ideas really insightful!

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