I’ve been reading a blog at copyblogger.com a lot recently. I keep forgetting that it’s a group of people who contribute, and assume that I’m reading all the thoughts of one person, but I’ve been getting better about that.
The articles are very informative — ranging from how to maintain interest through vocabulary and action to tips on controlling your own output. This quote, from last week, was food for my own thought.
“Never save a good idea. When I know I have many article deadlines to meet, it is tempting to “save” a few good ideas for later. New ideas will always come so always give your best ideas.” (September 5, 2008 copyblogger.com, by Jim Estill)
I’ve heard people talk about ideas in several different ways. Some people complain that it’s hard to come with a good idea; these types tend to hoard their one ‘good idea’ for long periods of time. Often it is never developed, spending so much time in the mental refinement process that the light of day never gets a peek. Sometimes people have ideas that they don’t have the ability to manage themselves. The published authors I’ve heard speak, however, and at least one other person on copyblogger seem to have similar ideas: An idea is just that. An idea. Until you do something with it, it will never be anything else.
Sometimes people are afraid to let their good ideas see the light of day because they are afraid someone else will take it and use it. However, when a writer has an idea (or anyone else, for that matter), the way that they will write and develop it is completely different from how anyone else would. Say I wanted to write a book about green space monkeys. Sure, they’re monkeys, and they’re green, and they apparently have something to do with space, but the ways to implement that are myriad. Green monkeys who live in outer space and hitchhike on passing starflyers. Green monkeys from space who return from the 13th moon of Jupiter to terrorize the inhabitants of earth. Is it a monster story? An alien encounter story? A romance between a pilot and a skyway airline attendant? A fantasy? A science fiction story? Now, I do realize that many people have their ideas fleshed out a little further than that, but the point remains the same. Not only will content differ, based on the writer’s personality and own experience, but the style and efficacy of their words will vary.
I’m the same as anyone — I have good ideas, then I fear that, maybe, I won’t be able to do what I want to with them right now. What I can achieve in writing now may be so far below what I could achieve in five years as to not bear comparison. However, I won’t get better if I don’t write. And I won’t learn how to develop good ideas if all I work with are mediocre ones, because I’m afraid of failure.
So, let’s jump in.