Don’t Wait Until Somebody Does It First

Image from Karin Dalziel via Creative Commons.

Image from Karin Dalziel via Creative Commons.

You know what feels terrible? Believing you have a great idea, but not trusting yourself to do it justice.

This recently happened to me. I came up with this idea for a novel, and I received wonderful feedback on it, and I wrote about 20,000 words toward it, but then—nothing. I got too in my head. I psyched myself out. I started thinking I didn’t know how to write this idea, and if I didn’t know how to write it, why waste it? Its’ really such a great idea. So I put it on the shelf and picked up something else for awhile.

And then I came across this quote from my personal hero Joss Whedon, and everything changed.

“If you have a good idea, get it out there. For every idea I've realized, I have ten I sat on for a decade ‘til someone else did it first. Write it. Shoot it. Publish it. Crochet it, sauté it, whatever. MAKE.”

And something clicked in my brain, and I got over my block, right in that moment. Because as good as my idea is, and a unique as I find it to be, there is definitely somebody out there who can think it up. If I don’t write my idea, somebody else will, and the only reason they’ll succeed instead of me is because they had the grit to push forward where I did not.

Nuh-uh. The competitor in me just can’t let that happen. This is my great idea, and I’ll be the one to write it. I’ll write it in the only way I can, and that will be enough. No more letting the concept bloat up until it feels too large for me.

Because in truth, you can’t ruin a good idea. Ideas are just that—ideas. They’re not novels. They’re not stories. They’re not emotionally moving—not yet. They only become so once we create the stories that go along with them.

So be brave. Pursue the ideas that scare you. I’ve settled into a really great writing pattern now, churning out pages and pages without hesitation. I’ve found my groove.

And you can too. I know it. 

-- Kelsey