Have you ever tried to do something and then realized that you are hopelessly under prepared?
I remember one time I woke up one morning and was like, "Hey, I feel like making cookies." So I went downstairs and started just making them. I didn't even check to make sure I had all the ingredients. So, about five ingredients in, I realized, "well crap. I don't have any sugar."
So we have these pretty awesome neighbors who let us borrow sugar, eggs, etc, and so I went over to their house and got the sugar I needed. Problem solved, right? I mean, I had my sugar, I had all my ingredients, and I was hungry as heck for cookies. So where was the problem?
I continued to make the cookies until I realized that I didn't have enough butter. Greeeeat. So I went back to my neighbor's house.
Everything was going really well after that, and I finally finished the dough and was baking my lovely chocolate chip cookies when I decided to go into the other room to read some good old Harry Potter while I waited. Now, guys, you have to understand that this is Harry Potter we're talking about. Seventh book. And I was reading it for the first time.
Needless to say I got very enraptured and forgot all about my poor cookies.
So my cookies didn't turn out how I wanted them. The process of making them was slow--and a little embarrassing--and in the end all I had was a mess. But guys, that's going to happen. You're going to have big ideas, and you're going to get super excited and think that you have everything you need, but then you realize the truth: you don't have the tools. You just don't. And I'm not going to tell you to "follow your heart and you will surely succeed!" Because no. Just no.
But like I said before, don't give up. Just because you're under prepared doesn't mean you're going to stay that way. Even if you need help, you have what it takes to fix every problem that comes your way while writing.
Have you ever jumped right into a book with a huge smile on your face and at the same time thinking, "I have no idea what I'm doing." Yeah, that's called being under prepared. I guarantee that if you don't have any character development or plot already planned out beforehand, then your story will crash and burn. I'm sorry, but it's true. If you want to write a good story then you need to have at least a few structural ideas.
But how do you get those ideas? I mean, those are freaking hard to think of. It can't just be me right? I can't be the only one who pulls out half of their hair trying to think of plots.
My best suggestion would be to talk to other people. They have great ideas. So many of my friends have helped me to create some of my best ideas. I couldn't write my books without them. And you'll find that your friends that aren't authors have ideas that they've wanted to write but couldn't. There are so many options to explore!
So don't let your cookies flunk just because you didn't check to make sure you had all the ingredients before you started baking. Your neighbor is always there to lend you sugar and butter. ;)
"Writing's a lot like cooking. Sometimes the cake won't rise, no matter what you do, and every now and again the cake tastes better than you ever could have dreamed it would." - Neil Gaiman