Regardless of the industry you are in, it all starts with an idea. As for writers, you might harvest an idea from a recent experience or upcoming trend. When I was in business school everyone seemed to have an idea for the next promising start-up business, however there was a strange belief that keeping those ideas to yourself was preferable to telling others, solely so the idea didn’t get stolen. The same sheltering of ideas can happen with writers.
If I were to give one piece of advice for what to do with your grand idea it would be to tell everyone and everything. There are a handful of reasons why sharing your concepts and any works-in-progress can be beneficial to your project and writing career as a whole:
- Feedback – By telling other people your ideas, you can receive suggestions for improvement, pointers on flaws that need looking into, and the revelation of typos and flow problems you might have missed. You might even learn that your story is very similar to something that was already written and the content could use a shakeup, or maybe people aren’t that receptive to the idea so you can simply throw it in the trash. This allows you to cut your losses before actually completing an entire project.
- Buzz – Why wouldn’t you want to get the word out before you actually release your big project? If you tell friends and family, they will turn around and tell people they know. And why stop there? The most important people to tell about your work-in-progress are writers and other contacts you might have in the industry. Sharing the news with industry insiders can only help sales in the future.
- Everyone thinks they have the next great idea – Like any great idea there will be someone who comes along and says they had the idea first. The thing is, no one cares if you just have an idea. It’s the ones who act on the idea who are innovators. The only reason people are afraid to share is because if someone else puts a little effort into the idea, they might end up further ahead than you are. Crush the possibility of anyone taking your ideas by getting a solid head start. Otherwise, in my opinion, if you refuse to share, it means you just haven’t put enough work in yet.
- People will probably think the idea is silly – No matter how many people tell you the idea is good, you have to realize that ideas for stories, businesses or inventions fly through people’s ears all the time. It’s just another idea, until you act on it. With this in mind, most people will just think it’s another idea and will not drop everything in their life to steal your one idea. This especially stands for speaking with other writers. Chances are other writers are already working on their own big project and it would be foolish of them to drop all that hard work. Not to mention, in my experience, people think of their own ideas as their babies. They would rather know that they thought it up, instead of having the guilt of stealing it from someone else.
- The support group – Most people are there to help, and when embarking on an adventure as tedious and time-consuming as writing a novel or even managing a blog, it helps to have all the support you can get. Keep your friends updated and ask your family members to read over your most recent chapter. The support of these people, as well as fellow writers could be the difference between you finishing your project and it ending up in a drawer somewhere.
- Networking – By speaking with people about your writing, you have the opportunity to learn more about the industry and possibly make contacts for future endeavors. Talking with others in the industry or even with friends and family will help you refine a pitch for when the time to sell your project actually rolls around. The more you talk about your project or idea, the easier it will be to talk about in the future.
- It feels great – When working on something you are passionate about, something inside you wants to share every detail with the world. Why wait? Get the excitement off your chest and make yourself happier just by sharing your passion with others.
A successful writing project is much more than just a grand idea.
It takes dedication, along with constant tweaking after loads of feedback. Don’t be afraid to share your ideas with the world and realize that the benefits far outweigh the extremely rare costs.
Let me know in the comments how sharing your idea or progress with other people has helped you.