I first posted this picture on my Facebook page in May of 2016 with the caption, "staring at a blank page, beginning the long-sometimes painful-but always exhilarating-process of turning a spark into a story..."
I then struggled for two months only to create a hash of a story which I subsequently buried next to the many other "misses".
Having gone through this process many times, I know the best thing you can do sometimes is to put the story away in order to let it "ripen"...for a month...a year...sometimes ten. I probably have a hundred stories, or pieces of stories that I worked on for days, months, or in some cases years. Sometimes when I pull them out again, they will have indeed ripened. Other times...not so much-still rotten.
If there is one thing that separates an amateur from a professional, it is the massive amounts of time invested-with absolutely no guarantee of a positive outcome. It is understood going in that it often won't end well. iIt's a tightrope walk without a net.
That said, if you put in the work, learn from the gazillion mistakes you will make, and stay with it, you get better at generating ideas. You get better at fleshing them out. You get better at sensing whether you have something that is worth the investment of your time. You also start to love that tightrope.
So, the story I posted about last May-and buried last July...well, I dug it up last month, ripped out much of what was rotten (most of the story), and just put the finishing touches on a new version-and Sue likes it!!!! (which is always the first test). Time to send it off to my agent. I'll let you know if anything happens.