Unemployed in the Thoughts Factory

Cute picture of a baby because then you may be fooled into thinking this is a parenting blog, which seem to be very popular in ‘blog world’.. Caution: no parenting advice here, I’ve just about learned how to bring up myself.

Where do the ideas come from?

Thoughts and ideas are wily little blighters in ‘writery world’.Before I started writing proper, I wondered where authors got their ideas from. I’ve read books that have stayed with me, long after the reading. I am jealous of certain authors who have come up with ideas I wish I could have got to sooner.

Then we have the bad ideas and thoughts… I understand that taste is subjective – my idea of ‘bad’ may not be yours. But come on people, Fifty Shades of Grey. Really? Fess up. Did you read it and relish its accomplished written style, or did you laugh, get annoyed, get your rocks off  (weirdo) or was it just a guilty pleasure?


I try not to be a reading snob. I used to be an English teacher. I taught 15 year-old boys in a bottom set who, funnily enough, had zero interest in reading. I could have forced them to read the classics and get educated. I valued my life.

I encouraged them to bring in magazines to read, and it worked. They loved reading time.I had to draw the line when one pupil brought in his dad’s copy of ‘Playboy’ (imagine how awkward that parents’ evening was) but besides that, they were reading, and learning how writers think and imagine. This then led to them thinking and imagining more; beyond just about the girl in Year 12 with the big baps. We had such classy conversations.

The good ideas days

When I write, I ‘word spew’ my thoughts and ideas all over my lap top. There are times when it is of pea soup, ‘The Exorcist’ magnitude. It will not stop. My head starts to rotate a little because the thoughts are overflowing my brain. I love and hate those writing days.

They rock because I am enthused by being a proper, grown up writer (TM). I am a creative genius. I will set the world of fiction alight with this sparky Thoughts Factory that has set up shop in my brain. These are the times when I believe I am writing like a boss.

Got to love how frantically writing a first draft can make you a bit of a self-deluded cockwomble…

Eugh, editing…

Fast forward to the edit. You discover that nearly all your ideas are a stinking pile of doo-doo shit. I’ve been told I swear a little too much nowadays and I’m trying to placate delicate souls where I can, but if I have to start using euphemisms like doo doo, when a good shit will do, I’m going to have to give up writing. This may be their intention.

Digressing again…

Within the manure occasionally lurks a little gem. I liken it to that scene in Trainspotting. The toilet one. Public toilets were never the same after this. Until George Michael came along and gave them a whole new dimension.

Here is the scene but BE WARNED! If my swearing offends you, it ain’t got nothing on this. Delicate Dorises, just use your imagination. I cannot afford to pay for your therapy… Trainspotting Toilet Scene

So, just as Renton will go down into the depths of ‘The Worst Toilet in Scotland’ to fish out his ‘gem’ of meds*, within the outpourings of his bum, I often have to try to uncover the thought gem within the gush of my mind diarrhoea.

Then we have the days when the Thoughts Factory appears to close down. The machinery has died, the workers are pulling a sickie and the boss (the writer) is tearing their hair out.

These are the occasions when every idea I have is pure plagiarism. I am struck by an amazing idea, standing in front of my wardrobe in the morning. How incredible would it be if you could step through, bring your mates along, chat with animals, and give a witch a kick up the jacksy? Then I remember. Curse you C. S. Lewis. You flipping genius.

Your mind engages in the batting away process. Nope to the vampire genre – Twilight you have a lot to answer for. Young people dying tragically – does anyone live beyond the age of 15 in book world nowadays? Memoir? Not rich, dead, famous or deluded enough yet.

Back at the Thoughts Factory the ideas workers continue to slack off. They need to take a note from the Oompa Loompa charter of work – doobedy doo. We could have chocolate as well *sigh*.

Ideas want to play at bedtime

17793620fd74b46dfb9b49a185a41677511f5330b303ca4b0a26d19d5f960f0bIt is then that ‘All the Amazing Ideas a Writer Has EVER had'(TM) pinball around my head. Cue frantic jumping out of bed, every ten minutes, to write that idea down. After a few jack knives, the husband checks I’m not fitting, observes the shiny, scary eyes of ‘having the ideas’ and goes back to sleep. He knows the drill.

I am sitting down the ideas workers later to discuss culling the night shifts. The problem is they know the pay is double. My best ideas seem to come out at night. Maybe, vampire fiction is on to something here …

*Note the irony please before the Disgusted Dorises attack me. Drug-taking, isn’t good at all, it’s not ‘gem’ like. Look up metaphors before I get my wrists slapped. It’s imagery’s fault.  She made me do it (not drugs, that is). Even I’m bored of this explanation now.

About Lisa Sell

Lisa Sell is a fiction writer. When she's not wrestling with words she can be found showing the love for chocolate, cheese, coffee, books, the cats, and the husband. Perhaps not in that order.

12 comments on “Unemployed in the Thoughts Factory

  1. Hahahaha, hiLARious!! I especially love the shiny, scary ‘having ideas’ eyes imagery. I too used to suffer at night from these fits. Kinda miss them. But building up to my awesome sequel of creativity. Thanks for the reminder 🙂

  2. I needed this laugh today. Thank you! I especially relate to feeling like every good idea is pure plagiarism. (They’re not, of course, but we writers are hard on ourselves.)

  3. I’m currently up to the editing part of my current WIP and this resonated big time. Thanks for the laugh 🙂

  4. Great post! Good ideas always seem to come at night…or I have an inspiring dream and have to dive for pencil and paper as soon as I wake up so I don’t forget it. If I didn’t know better, I’d say my muse was part vampire…

    1. Dreams certainly provide a lot of material! Mine are so weird though. I often tell my husband about them in the morning and he looks at me like I’m the strangest being on this Earth. He’s probably right…

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