Imagine washing up, and the rinsing water didn’t go cold and weird with soap scum. Imagine the dishes coming out steaming and glistening the whole way through the washing up process. Now imagine maybe it has jets, like a jacuzzi but not as vigorous, so that the water is constantly moving and everything is getting very very clean.

Now remember that what I’m describing is the messiest rinsing cycle a dishwasher has ever had, because it’s open and up on a bench. It would use so much energy and what if it broke? The plumbing would be a nightmare! And the space under the sink where you store chemicals and spare kitchen paper and garbage bags would be full of pipes servicing this one over engineered tub.

I had the thought of the heated jacuzzi rinsing tub yesterday while washing up – we’ve been having a problem with water spots on our glassware at work and I was musing as I washed and rinsed and washed and rinsed that maybe it was because the rinsing water was getting cold, or maybe there was just too much soapy mess in the rinsing water and it needed to be cycled through some sort of filter.

The idea is half baked. Or maybe quarter baked. I had not defined the problem properly before trying to solve it – my idea was the musings of an otherwise disengaged mind.

I processed this idea to its logical end after mentioning it to my supervisor as a joke, and while I was wiping things down and putting my gloves on their rack to dry, I realised that this idea was not dissimilar to any number of ideas I have that I go on to try and write into manuscripts. And that’s why they don’t ever go anywhere. I have only ever had a plan for a story from start to finish once.

This is a really roundabout way of saying I came to a realisation yesterday.

I will never be a successful writer until my writing is based in ideas that have been considered – not every ‘neat’ idea or ‘fun’ storyline is ready for a manuscript. Not all of them are worthy in my hands.

T.J. Burgin

This realisation is not productive. It’s not actually an epiphany that will necessary fix anything or change anything in my life. I have to make a decision to change the way I approach stories. I have to pick out stories and plan them out, a painstaking process that drives me nuts and often removes the luster. The grunt work of creativity does not to me feel creative. It feels mundane. The magic of world building turns quickly to a grinding monotony and characters lose their shine when I have to design them. Sometimes I feel a character into being but books require more than one character and I usually don’t feel into being more than a couple.

I do not know what I will do with this realisation in reality. I hope you can do something with it.

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