Back in the old days coming up with an idea to write about was a bit easier. These days I do get ideas, or, rather, an idea, and build up on that. Sometimes it works out fine and others, like last year’s NaNoWriMo idea, it works out about as well as a two-minute Saturday Night Live skit being turned into a two-hour movie.
The one I’m thinking of this year came about from a conversation I had with someone. I told her the idea and she asked how long it would take to write something like that. I told her it would take about two days. And, really, it would if I kept it as a short-short story. But, because she wanted me to actually write it, I wanted to make it good. 
Instead of writing it down I started thinking about it. It would be science-fiction but, like most sci-fi stories, it would really be about the present and the direction mankind is heading. The problem is the story takes place thousands of years in the future. Well, that’s one problem. Another one is that I tend to make things really difficult for myself.
You see, I spent a lot of time reading old science-fiction. And watching science-fiction. Stuff from the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s. As I grew older and lived in a world where computers went from being warehouse-sized devices to fitting in the palm of  a hand I couldn’t help but think that some things were a little off in those old tales. Spaceships, for example, probably won’t be fitted with enormous reel-to-reel tape drives for computer storage. 
So I have to think: what will humans and technology be like thousands of years from now? The truth is, I have no freaking clue. If I did, I’d probably be working for a think tank or something and be making a lot of money sitting around making things up.
This year is 2014. A thousand years ago it was 1014. What were humans and technology like in 1014? That was before the Battle of Hastings (1066!) so people were still hitting each other with sharpened metal instead of taking out their frustrations with Angry Birds. Did anyone back then think we’d be watching TV on LCD panels and controlling things with our cell phones? I think that’s highly unlikely.
What will we be like in the year 3014? Or 4014? Or 5014? I could go the pessimistic route and say that we’ll be back to hitting each other with bits of metal but that’s not going to fit my story. At least, not the first part. Because I like to make myself miserable I require that I future think what things will be like.
In an episode of Red Dwarf, from the 1980s, Lister tries to encourage Rimmer by saying that, after a couple of million years, humankind has probably found a way to cure death. Rimmer is unconvinced and sarcastically says that they probably have a pill for that. The idea was probably quite the fantasy back in the 1980s (it was; I was there) but now… Not so much. Sure, it would probably be too late if someone had already passed away, but are we really that far away from being able to swallow a pill and have our life extended? With research in medicine and nano-technology it’s not that far-fetched to think that we could extend our life span by having tiny robots fix broken organs and replace tissue on the fly. It may not be that long before humans attain immortality or, at least, defeat the aging process.
These are all wonderful thoughts but they kind of take the place of actually writing it all down. Which is why I have a story to write for November instead of having already written down.