I’ve got a big fat whopping spoiler for you. Years of mistakes and potential suffering and running manically in dizzying circles while being chased by angry beavers beating you with pork sausages could potentially be spoiled for you, so if you’d rather go through all that before discovering this nugget of writerly wisdom, you know, stop reading now before it’s too late.
Ready for a lesson, grasshopper?
Creativity is not what makes you special. You may like to think you have Super Writerly Creative Imagination Powers™ that make you superior to mere mindless mortals, but it’s not true. I used to think it was, too, but I was wrong.
Here’s the news.
Everyone’s creative. Imagination and creativity don’t make artists. It’s just part of the human mind. We can think and make, all of us, it’s something everyone’s been doing since they were children.
There’s something else that makes us writers special.
And that’s discipline. Not the ideas. There’s thousands of people out there with an awesome idea for the next bestseller, but no idea how to create it. They have a wild herd of ideas running loose with no way to rope them in. Your writerly power is harnessing these ideas.
You have the ability to knit ideas together into beautiful patchwork nets of evil genius to ensnare innocent readers’ imagination and feels. Writers are special because we can harness the chaos and ride its bucking bareback butt into the sunset.
So you may be full of ideas and that’s great. But the test of your artistic merit isn’t how many ideas you have or how good they are. It’s about training those ideas. It’s about putting them together, laying them out, ordering them, arranging them, lining them up, and marching them out until they become a story.
And then you take your story-herd and kill them all and grind them into meat. Next you spice them up, cook them, and presto, hamburgers for all.
Writers do more than poop out ideas. Writers plot these ideas, write these ideas, edit these ideas, sell these ideas, market these ideas. You’re not just an idea pooper, you’re an idea dietician, an idea gastoenterologist, an idea toilet cleaner, an idea plumber. That’s your job.
Go do it.