Tuesday, September 16, 2008

A dime a dozen

"You're a writer. I've got an idea for you."

How many times have you heard that? You're sitting in a library or a bookstore and before or after your talk someone offers you an idea for a story. Or a true confession that only you can write.

It's the best story anyone has ever heard; it's so sensational, he's going to have to hide while you write it. It will be on the bestseller list quicker than you can say Ghost Writer in the Sky.

This weekend a man approached me in a library as our panel of authors was getting ready.

"I'm a political prisoner," he said, "and I know things that I really can't tell anyone." He then proceeded to tell me everything he could in the few minutes before show time. "I'm going to let you write this story," he said. Apparently I'm the only one in the world he can trust. Or maybe I look like I'm desperate for ideas.

What none of these people seem to realize is that writers have more ideas than anything else. More ideas than time, more ideas than computer paper, more ideas than money. We have ideas in our file cabinets, in notebooks all over the house, and on the notepads by our beds. Some of the ideas take up many pages in an old notebook; others fit on post-its in the bathroom.

I feel guilty not jumping on these proffered projects, but it's all I can do to manage my own ideas. Maybe there should be software that takes random ideas and works them into a book. Maybe there already is.

Mary Kay Ash said, "Ideas are a dime a dozen. People who implement them are priceless."

I'd better get busy.


Betty Hechtman said...

My father was a writer and he used to tells similar stories to yours, Camille. But it was even worse, they'd want their name in the byline.

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

What's wonderful about this is that folks relate to us, to what we are doing, and the love of a good story.

Camille Minichino said...

Leave it to Joanna to put a positive spin on this!

The problem is that that kind of person will try to usurp the writer's attention, making it tough to be inclusive with people waiting.

Anonymous said...

How true it is, as is Mary Kay Ash's statement. This applies to painting as well, for sure. I'd better get busy, too. xoxoxo