In the last episode, we discussed the urgency of acting on ideas. I quoted an editor my parents worked with who shouted, “Never, never, never sit on a story!” I warned you not to let somebody scoop you, because that idea was given to you. So take action, I said. And write.
Today, I want to encourage you that if you waited a few beats too long and your idea was written up and sent out by someone else…you have some options.
You can let it go, or let it grow.
If you feel like you’ve been scooped, it’s possible you did get scooped and you need to simply let it go and move on to new ideas.
But before you abandon it completely, maybe you’ll find you haven’t really been scooped—maybe you’ll see that your idea is quite a bit different from the piece that came out before yours. If so, you can continue with your idea as originally planned.
And maybe you’ll see that your original idea did get scooped, but if you’re willing, you can let it grow, tweaking yours so it can find readers who have been waiting for someone to write beautifully on this topic.
It might require letting go of your original vision for the topic, but by finding a more specific way to explore it, letting it grow into something with a new angle or audience, the idea may be richer and more interesting than you first imagined.
Ideas from this episode:
- If someone truly scoops you on an idea or story, you can just let it go—generate new ideas and move on.
- When you compare your idea with the just-released version, you may find they’re different enough you can continue without changing a thing.
- When you compare your idea with the just-released version, you may find they’re similar, but with some tweaks, you can let yours grow into something related but different.
- Let it grow by slanting to a specific audience.
- Let it grow by combining your idea with something else.
- Never, Never, Never Sit on a Story
- Write in the Middle of Everyday Distractions: 7 Strategies for Getting Back on Track
- Write in the Middle: Yes, You Can Maximize Distraction-Free Writing
- How to Generate Ideas for Writing
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Book Discussion – The Art of Memoir
Do you read or write memoir? If so, you’ll enjoy the book discussion of Mary Karr’s recent release The Art of Memoir. On Saturday, I launched with questions about the preface, and on Tuesday we’ll dive into the first three chapters.
Join the conversation at my Facebook page.