Goals vs Passions

I had my novel goals typed up and being worked. I was committed to focusing on a single project through to completion. I was in the zone. And then this happened. A short story anthology about colonizing Mars, to be published by a local publisher! This is a confluence of events that cannot be ignored or denied.

To give some context, colonizing Mars (or really, any planet) is one of the few things I am fan-boy level passionate about in life. I donate monthly to Mars One, despite rampant public speculation that it is at best a doomed project, and at worst a nefarious scam. I stalk Elon Musk and live vicariously through his endeavors to accomplish his dream of colonizing Mars. I want Mars to be colonized, bad.

As such, I’ve often thought about writing a story within that context, if for no other reason than to possibly excite others about the prospect as much as I am. The only hangup has been that I’ve yet to come up with a compelling enough story to commit to it as a project. It’s always been one of those things in the back of my mind that keeps nagging, but never steps out fully into the light of day.

So, here I am with a golden opportunity, paired with a tremendous passion of mine, married to my current preoccupation of writing. What’s the problem? I still don’t have a good story idea! I’m willing to throw all my previous goal commitments to the wind to work on this, but I have zero foundation to start from. I brainstormed all the way through two nine hour drives to/from Ohio over the weekend, and I’m still not happy with anything I came up with.

This is not the first time this has happened, and that’s daunting in its own right. The only times I’ve had stories rejected have been when I forced them out onto the page. When things don’t flow naturally out as an “ah hah!” story idea, things don’t go well for me. Needless to say, this is extremely frustrating. Does anyone have any great story generating ideas? I’m open to anything: meditation, ritual goat sacrifice, whatever it takes. For now, back to wracking my brains on it.

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