Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Mum's The Word

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?


Charles Gramlich said...

Sometimes I just try not to think about those big issues. Just try to get today's work done, and let tomrrow take care of itself.

Misha Gericke said...

I love brainstorming, but I'm still paranoid about sharing my ideas, so I rarely do it with people.


Rubye Jack said...

You make a very good point here. It took me a long time to learn that sharing my projects with others before completed does not work for me. I don't even ask advice any more. I don't like brainstorming either. :)

It seems my thinking is always better when done alone.

Lexa Cain said...

I don't talk about ideas (usually), but not for the reasons you have. I feel if a writer wants to bounce around ideas with others it means the ones he has are wishy-washy and he's looking for help and validation. Unless I have a firm I'm-completely-sure-about-this-idea for a novel, I don't write.

Lynn said...

I need to give your blog post some thought... hmmm. Thank you!

Jan Rider Newman said...

Avoid anything at all that makes you less enthusiastic or confident about your writing. If brainstorming works for some, let them do it. If privacy works for you, play it close to the vest.