Ideas Are Fragile
By Terry Whalin @terrywhalin
Years ago, I took a continuing class from bestselling author and Guideposts Contributing Editor Elizabeth Sherrill. She said, “Writers are swimming in a sea of ideas. You have to carefully select which one to pursue.” While I have forgotten other things from those workshops, this concept has stuck with me and something I want to address in this article. As Earl Nightingale said, “Everything begins with an idea.” Ideas are fragile and need to be guarded and most importantly executed.
Capture The Idea
As you read books or magazine articles or watch something on television, ideas are swimming through your head. There are many different tools for capturing ideas. Some people use their smartphone to make a quick note. I often use a piece of paper or a post-it note from my desk. The post-it notes are good because after I handle the idea, I will throw it away.
Pitch the Idea
As I’ve mentioned in these articles, timing is a key element with the idea. You have to pitch it at the right time to the right person. Maybe it's a magazine article idea and you write a query letter which you send to several different publications at the same time. Of course, you mention in the pitch that it is a simultaneous submission.
Or you have written a book proposal which is getting out into the market and getting turned down. The rejections happen to all of us as writers, but you are working for the one person who will say yes to your idea.
Recently an author signed their contract with Morgan James Publishing. This author has been on quite the journey with his book idea. He had a literary agent who pitched the idea to various publishers but no one offered a contract. Then he hired an editor to write his book manuscript and pitched it to me. I championed the book to my colleagues and this author got a contract and is going to publish his book with us. See the persistent effort in this example? Timing and the right connection are critical for the idea to happen.
The final and important step with your idea is to take action or execution. From my experience, the sooner you can take action, the better.
To give you an example of taking action, next month I will be teaching at the Blue Lake Christian Writers Conference. I’ve not been to this particular event but I know a number of the faculty. If you can, I encourage you to attend this event since I understand it is a smaller conference. This week the conference director wrote that a broadcaster was coming to the event and could record an interview (an idea). I studied my schedule and looked at the interview calendar. Then I scheduled a time. I pitched an interview about my Book Proposals That Sell book. I have prepared a list of possible questions for an interview and I mailed a book to the broadcaster.
When the broadcaster saw my interview, he reached out and reminded me of our interview several years ago about Billy Graham. We have never met but we will meet next month during our scheduled interview.
Will others on the conference faculty, take action and schedule an interview? I have no idea but I saw the opportunity, seized it and took action. It’s the same process each of us have to do with an idea.
What ideas are swimming through your head? How are you taking action as a writer to capture, pitch and execute these ideas? As writers, we have a world of opportunity around us. We need to be constantly expanding our connections and continually pitching and executing our ideas. What actions are you going to take today? Let me know in the comments below.