by Lindsay Bonilla

Hello Storystormers!!! You did it! You’re rounding the bases, and it’s time to bring it home. Can’t you hear the roar of the crowd cheering you on??

Wait! Is that the roar of the crowd or the sound of stampeding hooves??

When I think about ideas, I like to think of them as wild horses galloping across my mind. Growing up, I remember reading Marguerite Henry’s Misty of Chincoteague and being introduced to the idea of an island full of wild horses. Imagine the freedom, wildness and possibility of such a place!

Well, our minds are just that—islands of cavorting, galloping, prancing wild ideas just waiting to be discovered. But half the time we’re so distracted (mobile phones, social media, etc, I’m looking at you!) that we don’t even recognize the brilliance that is racing around in there.

Ideas are just like wild horses—blink once and they’re gone! How many times have you had that AMAZING idea that you promised yourself you’d remember when you woke up in the morning or as soon as you got back from the grocery store? Yep, not gonna happen. If you’ve got an idea, you need to rope it, and rope it QUICK!

So grab your lasso (ie; trusty pen and notebook, voice recorder, a new doc on your computer) and get that horse into a stable. You don’t need to know all there is to know about your new idea, but you do need it in a safe place so you can come back to it later!

Now that you’ve roped that horse (or 30!),  it’s yours! Woohoo! Time to start training. WHOOOAAAAA!! Just where do you think you’re going?

All I can tell you about this step is—prepare for a WILD ride! No two horses are alike. Every idea is going to require its own special treatment. So you, as the trainer, must be FLEXIBLE!

There are some authors who are very methodical, using the same process for every project they approach. That has never been my experience. Every idea I’ve worked with has been completely different and has required something different from me.

Some horses are docile. They’ll let you take the reins easily. (I have one PB under contract right now that was like that. I wrote it in one afternoon in between working on other ideas.)

But other ideas (dare I say, the majority!) WHOAAAA NELLIE! Hold onto your hats because they are like bucking broncos. You try to climb on but end up on the ground. UGH! But this was such a great idea!! Why isn’t it coming together?

That’s when you have a choice.

Will you. . .

A) steer clear of that horse?

B)  climb back on?

I know what you’re thinking. The right answer is B!!! Well, not always. Sometimes when a horse keeps throwing you to the ground, it’s best to move on for awhile. Give that horse some space. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and wild horses aren’t trained in a day either.

Sometimes ideas need to breathe, and sometimes, you, the trainer, need the fresh perspective that comes from time, space and experience in order to make your idea work.

The best part about Storystorm is that you’ve got 30 ideas to work with. 30 different horses to choose from. In this moment, don’t stress about which one’s going to get you the agent or the big contract. Instead, look at your stable and ENJOY your horses. They’re yours! And now it’s time for the fun to begin  – take them out for a ride. You may find yourself galloping, trotting, or getting pulled in a direction you never imagined.

So climb on and enjoy the ride, because as my almost-2-year-old already knows, horses (and ideas!) are the coolest!

NOTE: This post is not an endorsement for capturing/training wild animals! It is an endorsement for capturing/training WILD IDEAS! 

Lindsay Bonilla spent her childhood voraciously reading books, scribbling stories, and taking the lead roles in her solo front porch stage plays. While a theatre major at Northwestern University, she fell in love with folktales and world travel. Later she spent a year and a half touring Spain and Portugal teaching ESL with the audience-participatory theatre company, Interacting. Since then she’s had the opportunity to tell stories to school children in Haiti and Ghana, teach workshops to youth pastors in Guatemala and El Salvador and even perform street theatre in Puerto Rico and New York City. All of these experiences have made her passionate about building understanding and relationships across cultures while inspiring the imagination. When she’s not telling stories or acting them out with her sons, she’s busy writing them from my office or a library in North Canton, Ohio.

Lindsay is a member of the National Storytelling Network (NSN) and the Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). She is also a teaching artist with Arts in Stark. Visit her at

Lindsay is giving away a copy of her newest book POLAR BEAR ISLAND and a Skype session with the classroom of your choice. 

There will be two winners of one prize each.

Simply leave ONE COMMENT below to enter.

You’re eligible to win if you’re a registered Storystorm participant and you have commented once below. Prizes will be given away at the conclusion of the event.

Good luck!