The process of writing a novel used to go something like this for me: 1. Have idea. 2. Have PANIC.
Because suddenly there is a massive lot of ideas showing up (if I'm lucky), and they're each bringing a dozen more ideas (if I'm lucky), which translates into a million things for me to do. If I'm lucky.
Which is great. Which is grand. Which is why I love this big crazy career in the first place.
But it also kind of feels like trying to catch the whole Earth with your teeth.
I get overwhelmed. That's what I mean.
How do you deal with a massive idea overload, with the zillion steps it takes to complete a writing project? How do you organize it, how do you survive the slog, how do you--?
Enter: This book.
You guys. You GUYS. Making Ideas Happen is SO GOOD. (The title alone just kinda calms me down.)
And I deeply appreciate that Scott Belsky is writing for creatives. He's writing to the artists and designers and jewelry makers and entrepreneurs and to all of us lovely writers.
He's helping us get organized.
He dispels the whole myth that organization could zap creativity, or that creativity only occurs in chaos. He gives reasonable and reliable tips for how to become more organized, and how to deal with long-term projects.
Which, hello, is what we all need. Because if a novel isn't a long-term project, I don't know what is.
So he talks about how to break down your huge projects into smaller steps, how to be more prone to action than to procrastination, how to deal with every stray idea that floats through your head.
He gives you a bazillion ideas for how to execute your ideas: how to act on them, how to lean into the process, how to keep going through the huge massive middle of your project (which he calls the Project Plateau--how much do I love that name?!).
How do you keep working hard? How do you use the people around you--their willingness to support you, their creativity, their unique skills?
And then how do you lead yourself well? (Because you know I LOVE that topic!) Are you motivated by the right things? How do you stick it out through failure, through uncertainty, through discouragement?
And he has a pleasant, encouraging tone all the way through, that left me with a huge pile of notes and a deep sense of empowerment.
I mean, listen to this:
"It is not naïve or a cliché to say that the creative mind holds the answers to all of the world's problems. It is merely a fact. And so, you should balance your desire to use your creativity with a sense of responsibility.
Please take yourself and your creative pursuits seriously. Your ideas must be treated with respect because their importance truly does extend beyond your own interests. Every living person benefits from a world that is enriched with ideas made whole." -- Scott Belsky
He is extremely passionate about helping us creative sorts figure this out, because, basically, that's how to save the world.
Suddenly learning how to manage the different stages of a project takes on--if not a sense of the glamorous--a real weightiness. It keeps me taking this seriously. It isn't just "oh, shrug, who cares, it's just a novel."
And coming from that place, that dedication, I feel like I want to implement the ideas in this book. ALL of them.
I think you will too.
So, go ahead. Grab a copy.
And then let's make some ideas happen.