There was a point in my life when I used to write short stories. I never sold one — hell, I never really even finished one — it was just a hobby. Someone said that if you want to be a good writer you need to do it everyday, so I did. I didn’t become a good writer as a result, but I did learn, rather definitively, that I probably never would. So I stopped.
The problem is that a couple of years of constantly attempting fiction kind of fucked up my brain. Some sub-process in my mind began to constantly work on coming up with ideas for stories: plots, scenes, characters, lines of dialog, that sort of thing.
A lot of people ask writers where their ideas come from, and usually the writers demure rather than answer. I don’t need an answer to that question though. I want to know how to make the ideas stop. It’s possible to have too much of a good thing, after all. If ideas were puppies, I’d be like, “Please stop giving me all the puppies! I love them but I can’t take care of them properly! Please give them to someone more responsible than me who also needs to have a puppy!”
Actually, the ideas have slowed down a lot over the years, thank goodness. But they haven’t stopped entirely. And the come at the worst possible times. “Okay, I really need to buckle down and get to work on this thing for my job and — oh no, I just had an idea and now I can’t stop thinking about it, aarrgh.”
When I hear people say that they want to do something vaguely “creative”as a job, without ever specifying exactly what that means, I wonder if maybe they just want to be free to pursue these sorts of errant idea things that pop into their heads without having to worry about starving to death. I quite agree, that would be wonderful. I wish them luck.