They literally go to infinity, if not beyond. There’s an old saying (or at least I do believe it is one), trouble never comes alone. If this was true for something, it’s definitely for writing. Whenever you have an issue with any writing, know there are more issues behind the corner waiting to ambush you. Like the mythical Hydra creature with three heads which sprouted a new head (or by some legends two new heads) whenever you cut off one of its original heads, so can writing issues never really be weed out. Let’s go with a simple example.
Writing Issue N = Lack of Ideas
This is as basic as it gets, you’re literally sitting there with no ideas whatsoever. Still two issues in this path way — either you’re stuck in a loophole with this same issue, or you actually get ideas!
Writing Issue N +1 = Random Ideas
More like thoughts rather than full ideas, but definitely random. They can come to you at any time through the day, yet mostly unexpected. While you’re taking a shower, while you’re lying in bed trying to fall asleep, during a bus ride, etc. The issue here is what to do with them. Do you grab a note and write down the initial thoughts? Do you try to keep the thoughts forming so that you use the moment of creative outburst? Or do you simple ignore them in the hope that you’ll remember them later (this has never worked in my experience)?
Writing Issue N + 2 = Idea Shaping
Say you wrote down the initial thoughts. What do you do with them now? They’re just thoughts, not a full idea, so do you try to bend them into something you’re already writing or do you try to create a new idea around them?
Maybe you kept going with the thoughts until a full idea was formed. Now you get to decide whether you like it or not, meaning if you’re keeping it or not. If you decide to write it down and use it, you have formatting and editing to worry about. If you discard it, you’re back to the basics.
I sure hope you did not leave the idea with the hope it will come back you at a more suitable time, because the answer is it won’t. Ideas are like the dust the wind carries — they comes and go in the blink of an eye. Either you work with them in the moment or you write them down so you can later iron them out. There is no third option.
Writing Issue N + 3 = Editing, Adding, & Removing
An issue as big as the Pacific Ocean itself. Even after you envision your idea, capture your thoughts and shape them into something grandiose, you have literally only taken a single small step in what’s a marathon you need to run. Your race has not even began. You need to go to your work, read it again, fix your mistakes, add new mistakes, remove mistakes, add more mistakes, fix additional mistakes, and keeping doing that dance until your feet hurt. Is this okay? Should I remove this or just change the wording? Maybe I should add a sentence in-between? The questions are never-ending, and the actual process itself pretty much feels never-ending.
But, say you’ve accomplished this. You’ve finished the Neverending Story, and we’ll assume you’ve even published it. However, the issue of what now? still remains. Do you start a completely new piece of work? Do you try to write something related to your previous work? Or do you just wait for another one of those random ideas to drop out of nowhere? Back to basics. I would call it the Phoenix cycle. An idea is born, and sooner or later dies, on its own or at your hands, but eventually a new Phoenix rises from the ashes of the dead one. Never ending and always changing, these writing issues.