Sunday, March 8, 2015

Blowing Your Wad

Anyone who writes knows that every person out there has an idea for the next Great American Novel.  Even most of us who take writing seriously have that one awesome idea inside of us just bursting to get out.  We look forward to the day it's all on paper and we're ready to present our masterpiece to the world.  Of course there will be banner headlines and rave reviews.

And then what?

It's this question where most writers fail.  We're all so focused on getting out our masterpiece that many fail to think beyond that.  The key question we have to ask ourselves is whether it's a splash we want...or a career.

Harper Lee is an example of a splash artist.  She wrote a great book in To Kill A Mockingbird, but what else has she done?  Can any of you think of another novel she wrote?  Truth be told, there isn't one - her sequel(Go Set A Watchman) isn't due out until later this year, marking 53 years since her first book.  Is that really what we want?

You need to think beyond the "best" book you have if you want to be in this business a while and do silly things like put food on your table or live in more than a cardboard box.  So many of us get so caught up in the excitement of what we just know will be terrific that we don't brainstorm to the next idea.
(Like urinals, readers like to have more than one to pick from)
No serious professional athlete wants to play in only one NFL game, just like no actor wants only one movie role.  They plan their careers around multiple roles and games, so why should we be any different?  I hope you can find and distribute that one great novel that gets you through the rest of your life, but most folks don't win the lottery.  Think through more than just your initial(and best, of course) idea.  I'll bet that if you give other ideas half as much passion, you'll have at least a chance to do this for a living.  And isn't that one of the reasons we write?

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