I honestly like the idea of brainstorming with friends. Sitting around a table in Starbucks or in a mountain cabin and tossing out plot ideas sounds fun. I like it but can't do it. Something in my brain shuts down when it comes to verbally sharing my work. Guess that tells you how good I am at pitching to editors and agents, huh?
I love Anderson Cooper and catch him every day here in OK at 11 CST. Yesterday I watched him interview Sara Blakely, who founded a multi-million dollar undergarment company. Maybe you've heard of it: Spanx. Blakely is the world's youngest self-made female billionaire. Sara has some great business tips but one thing she said jumped out at me and I agree 100%.
Blakely said "I didn't tell friends and family my idea for a year; your ideas are the most vulnerable in the moment you have them. People will tell you things that will stop you dead in your tracks, and you have to explain the idea instead of pursuing it."
Did you get that? You have to explain the idea, defend it, instead of pursuing it. That's exactly the way I feel about my writing. If I sense negativity toward an idea, a proposal, my plot, I have a very difficult time going forward with it. I'm filled with doubt.
Blakely says we need to trust our gut.
When critique partners read the first three chapters of an unfinished work, and toss out ideas, suggestions, potential problems, I find my own personal roadmap getting a little fuzzy. Doesn't it make more sense to hand them a finished product--the complete manuscript--so they can read the project in its entirety?
Blakely also says we need to figure out how to differentiate ourselves from the masses, figure out how we're different. If you think about it, that's a great tip for our writing and marketing.
Do you believe your novel or NF book is different from anything out there? If not, how can you make it stand out from the crowd?