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Journal Writiing Project-Andy Wolter

Fri, Nov 1st, 2002
Posted in Columnists

I was sitting in the computer lab, idly tapping the keys, trying to generate ideas for an article I had to write. I had procrastinated for days thinking up a decent topic to write about. Now I had two days left to write, revise and edit a piece on something I hadnt even thought up.

What should I write about? I asked a student sitting next to me.

Write about eating donuts in the computer lab, he said, sliding a package of powdered sugar donuts out of his pocket while furtively glancing at the teacher.

I laughed, there was an idea, one of many suggested to me over the past week.

Although he wasnt serious, I did consider writing about eating donuts in the computer lab, and other impediments on school rules - in the name of fun. Decent enough topic, I thought so I started writing, enjoying my break from the writers block that had been hindering me. I was happy; I had a good idea, and a fun topic.

A good idea.

I had tried hard during the previous days to think of a good idea. I am generally a pretty laid back person, but even I was wary of the deadline for the article, slowly encroaching.

Two weeks, a week, two days.

If I didnt think of a good idea within the next 24 hours, completing the assignment could be tough.

Then suddenly, from a source I wouldnt have thought of- came a good idea.

Right out of the sky, two weeks of fruitless searching for an idea, and finally one sneaks up on me while I wasnt looking.

Thats the funny thing about good ideas, you cant seem to find them when you're looking for them. Good ideas have minds of their own; you cant find a good idea, they come to you. You cant rush good ideas. Its like an egg, the chicken wont hatch just because you tell it to, it happens when it happens.

Then, about half way through the article, I lost my idea.

I had left the idea overnight, and when I came back, it was gone. I re-read my article, several times, but I couldnt put any more words on the page. I was stuck on the day before it was due, and I was only halfway done.

Thats another funny thing about my good ideas, they have a tendency to leave me about half way through whatever Im doing.

Have you had a really good idea, and were even slightly proud of yourself for thinking up this good idea, then about halfway through your idea things start to go awry. The good idea suddenly isnt very good anymore. Your good idea leaves and your stuck.

Ideas have a mind of their own.

I was back to where I began, idly tapping keys in the computer lab, trying to generate ideas to finish my article. At this point I was getting frustrated, right when I thought I had a good idea, and right when I thought Id finish this article, my idea is gone and I wasnt finishing the article.

I waited for a while to begin typing again, and my patience paid off. My idea came back and I was able to finish my article on time.

A funny thing about good ideas: If you dont force them, they rarely let you down.

Andy Wolter is a student at Rushford-Peterson High School.The Journal Writing Project focuses on the writing of area young people.

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