My parents were editors at a major metropolitan newspaper, and my dad often quoted his managing editor, who fulfilled all ’50s and ’60s movie newsroom stereotypes—puffing on a cigar, shouting across the newsroom. When this editor realized one of his reporters had been scooped by a competing newspaper, he shouted for all the newsroom to hear:
“Never, never, never sit on a story!”
Though I’ve not been in the newspaper business other than writing the occasional feature story, I’ve seen this in my writing life. I’ve learned this lesson. “Never, never, never sit on a story!”
And that’s what I’m here to tell you today.
The times I’ve done nothing more than toy with a story, talking about it with friends and family, tossing it around like I’ve got all the time in the world to develop it, someone else goes ahead and writes it.
Seriously. It’s happened to me multiple times.
If you’ve got an idea in you, don’t sit on it. Don’t just think about it or chat about it with friends and family.
Do something today to make it a reality.
Don’t let somebody scoop you. That idea was given to you. And you will create it for readers, so it’s for them, too.
Take action. Get that idea in motion. Develop it. Finish it.
It might be hard and challenging at times, it’s going to feel risky—but you will have made it a reality.
Never, never, never sit on a story.
When it’s done, you’ll be so glad.
So will your readers.
Ideas from this episode:
- Never sit on a story or someone may scoop you.
- Take action today…and tomorrow.
- Don’t just do a little and stop. That, too, is sitting on a story.
- Fear of failure—fear of rejection—keeps some people from taking action.
- Reject rejection and write the story.
Resources mentioned in this episode:
- Reviewer Leanne Sowul’s website
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carol longenecker hiestand says
I’ll listen to the podcast later today, but you inspired me with these words:
“If you’ve got an idea in you, don’t sit on it. Don’t just think about it or chat about it with friends and family.
Do something today to make it a reality.”
It’s not that someone else will tell the story, but only I can tell it and if I don’t no one else well, since it’s mine. And no one knows how long they have to tell the story.
Ann Kroeker says
Carol, you were wise to act on the nudge to write down your story–you refused to sit on it, and chose to take concrete steps toward making it a reality. You’re right: no one else will write your particular story, but the unexpected in life can result in the story never being told…so wise. You inspire!
Marilyn Yocum says
EXCELLENT encouragement! Loved this, Ann! Need to keep moving forward, even when my tools have a date with the Genius Bar at Apple. There’s still pen and paper.
Ann Kroeker says
Marilyn, I’m so glad you are going to make progress with pen and paper, impressed you’re not letting lack of technology hold you back. (Sorry about the computer issues, though! Hope those geniuses get you fixed up quickly so you’re back at the keyboard fast!).
L.L. Barkat says
Funny, this is what my daughter was saying to me this morning. She said that even if you aren’t ready to do something with the story publishing-wise, write it down. I had asked her a question about what she would do with a dream deferred, and I guess that to her the writing of each story is a dream of its own. “Keep it safe and sound,” she said. “Write it down.”
Ann Kroeker says
Poetry and wisdom in those last lines! She takes after her mother! 🙂