IdeasSo, imagine you are in the middle of… everything.

Pulling one of those translation stunts for a foreign university, and putting together not one, but two little websites for two new projects, and studying for a talk you’re giving next Friday, and editing a couple of stories, and designing a conference-cum-reading together with a bunch of actors, and conjuring up a project for another, quite distinct bunch of actors, and minding your two blogs, and helping with the launch of a new association you’ve been blackmailed into joining, and translating an old monologue of yours, and praying that another dormant commission won’t wake up just now…

Yes, imagine battling daily with all of that – plus several family members and lifelong friends urging you to take a vacation, because really, how can you not find a week to go to the seaside? – and feeling in turn thrilled and a tad overwhelmed, and failing to return library books because you thought you had already returned them…

Are you imagining? Yes? Good.

And then, in the middle of all this, what must happen, but a new notion for a monologue? One you really like. One that will let you explore an interesting character with a good twist to him, and experiment one or two techniques you’ve been wanting to try…

And you don’t, but don’t have the time for this. There is all the rest – and you are rather short of breath as it is – but ideas… oh, ideas! Ideas won’t let you sleep, won’t let you work. They’ll nag, and shout, and elbow their way to the front while you research the correct denominations of Ukrainian monastic orders. They’ll hijack your mind during meetings, when you should be listening. They’ll force you to whip out your notebook and take notes in the middle of the night. They’ll try to surface in your conversation at awkward moments – because that’s how ideas work.

And perhaps you think you know how to deal with the little pest, on the grounds of long and sometimes painful experience. You take copious notes whenever the idea starts pestering you, in the hope that it will be assuaged by your display of interest and offerings of ink and pages.

Sometimes it works – you put it on paper, and leave it there, and next time it rears its head, you will be ready and it will have grown.

At other times, though, all the notes in the world will accomplish nothing except whetting the little brute’s appetite for more, more, more…

Which is why, in the end, you find yourself opening a new Scrivener file at four in the morning, and giving up. Giving in: Come on, you bloody pest, and do your worst. Good thing is, when the bloody pest is this unquenchable, its worst tends to be worth the pain. And the lost sleep. And the occasional moment of fury. And the look in everybody’s eyes, when they realise you are writing in your head – again.

And not that I am complaining, but really, when people ask where do you find ideas, ain’t it a lark – considering?