With respect and best wishes/prayers with those being affected by Hurricane Sandy, I love storms.
I grew up in tornado country (and they still freak me out no end) and one of the only things I miss about Texas, besides real barbecue and the best ice cream in the world, are the thunderstorms.
There’s so much primal energy flying around.
What does this have to do with writing, I hear you asking.
Storms are transformative. They are brief, even by the standards of human measurements, but their impact can last for generations. Who hasn’t seen a huge tree split by a bolt of lightning, a flash and sizzle and bam- a century-old tree is so much kindling.
Ideas can be that way too. You can have a well-thought-out idea for a story- hell, you can have characters and plotlines and even a world created- and you will be hit with a lightning bolt of an idea, and now you’re ankle deep in pieces of plot and lightly fried squirrels.
But, like the lightning strikes that start the wildfires that rejuvenate the forests by burning off the debris and detritus and tangled undergrowth, those flashes can be the catalyst for something new to grow.
Never be so in love with a character or a plot that you can’t set it aside to see what will come of a strike. You may set him/her/it aside for five seconds, five minutes, or five years- but you can always pick them back up.
Even if you have to start by picking up the pieces and starting a new fire.
Stay safe out there, everybody.