Do You Lock Your Best Ideas in a Vault?

Spend more time making your project happen, and less time thinking about it.

rationing your ideas

Photo credit: Thomas Hawk via Visual hunt / CC BY-NC

I recently read incredibly wise advice from artist Jessica Abel on “idea debt.” In a nutshell, it means spending an inordinate amount of time thinking about your dream project rather than making that project—a process that becomes crippling over time.

Similarly, Benjamin Percy recently wrote at Glimmer Train about how writers can be like “misers with their money” when it comes to ideas—and how ultimately that behavior can prevent you from producing great work. Once he was willing to go “all in” and not hold back (for fear of emptying the well), he produced a great piece of work that made him stop any form of rationing:

The writer is always a careful observer, but if you are constantly evacuating your imagination, your eyes and ears grow even sharper, and you lean forward with hunger for every experience, knowing that it will offer up a card to add to your hand.

Read Percy’s full essay.

Also this month at Glimmer Train:

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Posted in Creativity + Inspiration.

Jane Friedman (@JaneFriedman) has 20 years of experience in the publishing industry, with expertise in digital media strategy for authors and publishers. She is the publisher of The Hot Sheet, the essential newsletter on the publishing industry for authors, and was named Publishing Commentator of the Year by Digital Book World in 2019.

In addition to being a columnist for Publishers Weekly, Jane is a professor with The Great Courses, which released her 24-lecture series, How to Publish Your Book. Her book for creative writers, The Business of Being a Writer (University of Chicago Press), received a starred review from Library Journal.

Jane speaks regularly at conferences and industry events such as BookExpo America, Digital Book World, and the AWP Conference, and has served on panels with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Creative Work Fund. Find out more.

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