There’s no shortage or variety of ideas on the scratchpad I keep for the purpose (which I regularly transcribe onto a typed list) but nothing has yet sparked into something that is likely to keep me engaged and interested for perhaps a year or more, or that I feel I can add fresh illumination to by my treatment or insights on the subject.
What I am doing is reading. A lot of news reading at the moment, but also reading around some of the themes and topics I’ve earmarked as possibilities, just to see if I can find a way in, a thread that could lead me to further creative exploration. For example, I had half an idea that I could base a human interest story around a workhouse – not one of the Dickensian era, but one of those that hung on into the twentieth century, even surviving in a few cases beyond the Second World War. At the moment I have only the faintest notion of how a story could develop; I’m waiting to see what might emerge from my reading into the subject.
Or so I tell myself. I’m enjoying the reading and the learning, but so far have failed to take a single note. Is this really early research, or am I just indulging myself, and putting off the more difficult task of getting down to write something of my own? Am I hiding from hard work, or in waiting for the Eureka moment?
I do know that once I get a clear fix on what I am going to write about and the general direction it might go in, my research will become more purposeful and the notes will begin to gather; but in this vague maybe-there’s-something-maybe-not phase my reading is annoyingly interrupted by increasingly loud whispers emerging, I guess, from the left side of my brain, which tell me I’m merely wasting my own time.