Love this. I was just listening to a podcast where an entrepreneur was talking about how as a “visionary,” she’s “downloaded” all these ideas from God, then she talked about how she basically just let these ideas guide her and tried everything until she saw what stuck. She kept talking about how much money she lost, how much it all sucked, but she didn’t ascribe her eventual success to her own efforts. I’m not religious and have no problem with others’ belief in God, but something about her outlook struck me as strange. It wasn’t that she thanked God, it’s that she took herself out of the equation. She got so caught up in her inspiration that she didn’t put in the perspiration, and it sounded like she put a lot of stock in her initial ideas without developing a strategy.

As writers, we must regularly engage with our own ideas, but not rely upon them. First, they’re not all good. Second, as you point out, they need work. They need perspiration. I occasionally have written something stream-of-consciousness with minimal editing, but I’m also a practiced writer. And I have a full strategy for sharing my stories with the world. I’ve abandoned ideas because when I worked on them, I realized that they had no legs. And I’ve had some ideas that I initially pooh-poohed, but I worked on them and found that they had wings.

Thanks for a great piece!

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Writer by day, circus artist by night. I write about art, media, culture, health, science, and where they all meet. Join my list:

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