Great idea + Brick Wall = Waaaaaa!
So here's my thinking behind the Great-Idea brick wall. You get a Great Idea: a writing idea, a new biz venture or a breakout thought that will solve some age-old problem. Hooray for creative bright ideas! Hooray for resourceful you!
And then the brick wall goes up. Or the air goes out of your sail. To mix even more metaphors--you want to run screaming from the room of your great idea.
The other day I was excited about something--it could have been research that relates to a business venture or a writing project. There were action-items, I could see the end-result, I felt committed, knowing I could take action on them soon... and then ... WHAM.
The brick wall again. I love getting all juiced up on a Great Idea as long as I am in no place to have to actually do anything. Like, in a car or an airplane, in bed or weeks away from a deadline.
This seems to be the formula: Great Idea comes in. Celebrate! For days--exhalting in said Great Idea. Then find self standing in front of the Great Wall of Idea Deaths and run dejectedly home. Then, after dust settles, come up with a new Great Idea. Celebrate, hit wall, abandon, repeat.
Here's a story with an imbedded solution:
I like to think about what the writer Ron Carlson once said at an AWP conference. So, he starts a novel. He writes the first paragraph of the first page. It's magnificent. He's so happy. He's on his way! Good job writer, high fives all around, etc. So what does the writer do next?
Well, he wants to leave the room and go out and celebrate for the next decade. But instead, he does something that separates the writers from the non-writers.
He stays in the room.
I think about this when I'm filled with ambition at the idea of a new project or I write the first lines of a poem of a formidable business plan and then close the document to do a jig right out of the room.
So here's today's suggestion: Stay in the room. Even when your idea feels like too much work, impossible, crazy and you want to abandon the entire world as you know because it's too uncomfortable. Stay in the room.
Many of us hear about writers who simply show up for an hour or two to write. Some days words come, some days they are simply filling the space. But it's a really important act, their showing up. Their not leaving the room.
Sometimes showing up is the most important part of the day.
Recently I've had the privilege to speak with many people who are embarking on new projects, adventures, businesses, dreams. These new great ideas are ones they're excited about but also overwhelmed by. And staying in the room without fleeing into the streets of oncoming traffic can be challenging.
So, how can you stay in the room with your great idea, your project, your self?
Today I'm going to sit at my computer and pick away at my action items, one brick at a time. I have a motto I'm test-driving: Doing is freeing. So, I am going to sit in the room with my ideas and dreams and To Do list (oops, recently renamed Forget-me-not list) and see if the wall comes down a bit. And if I can just hang out in this room for a while.
How about you? What happens when you stay in the room of your Great Idea and dismantle the wall so you can forge ahead?
Tangent flash: I just remembered a dream last night that involved a delinquent road trip with Matt Damon and Ben Affleck!