Don't you love when you turn great ideas into actual things? I do. An idea is just an abstract, cloud-like substance, and it takes a bit of determination to turn that idea into something solid. Lately I've had three wonderful experiences of seeing that happen.
1. My new novel. Ivy in Like had been an idea floating and simmering and taking lots of different shapes for years. But now it's a finished draft. Whew! What an accomplishment! What a feeling! True, this novel will continue to change shape for the next couple of years until it's an actual book on an actual bookshelf, but it's more solid now than it's ever been.
2. This past weekend's writing retreat. Last year during one of our critique group meetings, we talked about how fun it would be to rent a house for a weekend and just write. It would be easy, we said. We should totally do it, we said. And then we actually did it! We found a great place in Michigan, invited some friends, and spent the weekend writing, talking, eating, drinking, and laughing. And how's this for karma? The room I stayed in was called Ivy, the name of my main character!
3. My Neighborhood Book Club. One day in January, as I was walking my dog and waving to a neighbor who drove past, I had a moment of inspiration. It went something like this: I wish I felt a sense of community here. Wait! Why can't I have that? I had just finished reading the book The Help by Kathryn Stockett (such a fantastic book!!) and I was thinking it would be nice to read more books for grownups (not that I'll ever stop reading fabulous books for kids!). A Bookclub, I thought! A Neighborhood Bookclub! I came home and sent an e-mail proposing my idea to a few of my friends who lived walking distance from me. They loved the idea and invited some of their friends. Tonight is our first meeting. We read Mudbound by Hillary Jordan. Another fantastic book! I am really looking forward to getting to know my neighbors on a deeper level. After a year of feeling completely disconnected from my community for a bunch of ridiculous reasons, I'm searching out and creating the change I desire.
A new book, a writing retreat, and a neighborhood book club. All were just ideas. They could have stayed that way. But with a little bit of effort (okay, a ton of effort when it came to writing a new book) and help from friends, I turned those ideas into solid things.
Do you have an idea floating around in your brain? Take the first step today. Make it happen!