Sunday, February 9, 2014

Blowing Your Wad

There are as many writers in the world as there are people, it seems.  Everyone I know has a great idea for a book.  The failing of many of them is that they don't take the time to, you know, actually write theirs, but they all have one.

However, even among those who put pen to paper and get through their awesome idea for a novel, there's another problem - lots of the time they've only thought of that one great idea.  In other words, once that one is written, there's nothing left.
(A nice dinner, but what if that's all there was?)
If you want to be a one hit wonder, then you've reached your goal once you've put down this lone masterpiece, but most of us want a career, not a moment.  I've got friends who've spent countless hours pouring over their novel, honing and refining it until it's...just...right.  Sometimes such revision even makes the final product look nothing like the original idea.  But what happens when that one runs its course, or, even worse, never gets off the ground?

Yes, you should get invested in your work, but never get so attached to an idea that it's all you have.  As a writer, you need to have multiple stories in your head that you can bring to fruition.  And you need to be prepared to let go of one that, while you may think is great, might not catch fire.  One never knows which idea the public will glom onto, and you must be prepared to shift, painful as it might be.

I've got another half dozen or so ideas floating around in my head for novels, and the only reason it's not more is that I intentionally won't allow my mind to wander into that yet, for I'll get distracted if I do.  Once one is finished, I move onto the next one, because building a portfolio has to be the goal.  Hugh Howey recognized this by releasing a number of novels and not getting too attached to any one, or at least not so much that it stopped him from writing something new.  JA Konrath is legend for this, and it has helped make him a best seller.

Don't blow everything into one idea.  Come up with several - you'll go farther.

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