Sadly that isn't the case. I had an idea for a blog post just last night, but I didn't record the idea anywhere (wait, maybe I put it in a note in my iPhone...grocery list, future names for kids, random poem...nope. V_V).
I can't tell you how many ideas for stories I have recorded on one computer or another over the years, but there are a lot. Some are literally just one sentence ideas, others are 5,000 word first chapters. The thing is, for a long time, I was writing on several different WIPs at once and getting no where with all of them.
Eventually I had to make a choice. Which idea was I going to work on? I had a lot to choose from: alien/angel story, magical family story, dystopian story, vampire story, fey story, zombie story, princess from another dimension story, and on and on.
I asked for advice on choosing a story. Which should I dedicate my time and my future doctor bills for carpel tunnel to? Some said go with the one I had written the most on already. Some said go with the one with the coolest MC. Some said go with the one with the most original plot. But you know which one I chose?
The one I needed to write. The story that had to be told. The one with the MC that I would dream about and would have scenes constantly popping into my head for. The story I couldn't get away from.
I actually explained my myriad of story-lines to several people, and not one of them said I should write the one I ended up choosing. I even read somewhere that the majority of authors won't sell the very first book they finish. Most have to write several before one of their works even becomes a blip on the radar of an agent. That has honestly led me to question myself on many occasions. I love this story, I love the MC, I love the love interests. If I finish it, it will be my first fully written novel. I don't want it to be my never published work.
But I chose it anyway. My current WIP is not my most original idea or my most complicated plot, or even have a crazy cool main character (though I like her plenty anyway). But I felt -- I don't know how else to say it -- that I had to write this story. That within me was this need to express what this MC goes through, what happens to her and those around, and why.
I could have chosen my crazy-complicated alien/angel story, which I've written tons and tons and tons on, or my princess story with the kickin' MC, or even my zombie revolution story. I still could. I could scrap everything I've done because I'm afraid I won't be good enough to get my chosen story finished and out there for the world to see. But I don't want to do that. I don't want to give up, no matter how many blogs and websites and the world in general tell me how difficult the journey will be, and most likely, ending without success.
So the title to this post is actually two-fold. If you complete the sentence as I had an idea but I lost it, then it is a reminder to write down every idea you have no matter what it is. But if you complete the sentence as I had an idea but I was afraid to do anything with it, it is a challenge to not be afraid. You can't fail at something you don't try. Cliche, I know, but cliches are what they are because they are true. I can't fail at publishing a book if I don't finish one. Most likely, which ever WIP I work on in the future, I'm going to feel the same about it as I do my current one. And if I listen to all the discouragement out there, then, no, I never will publish anything.
But every written word makes me a better writer. Every step forward is a step closer to my goal. So I'm going to finish the sentence like this:
I had an idea, but I didn't lose it.
I had an idea, but I didn't give up on it.
I had an idea, but I turned it into a dream, into an action, into something more.