On a recent panel John August asked for a question to answer via Twitter, this is the question he got. The response is very similar to the suggestion poised by Don Miller in one of the blogs I linked to earlier this week.
Lawrence Turman suggests asking random people for their opinions of your concept. Any panelists do this or is mums the word?
Aaron Sorkin cautioned that talking about what you’re planning to write can easily sap your enthusiasm for it. Stuart Blumberg agreed, noting that even one ‘meh’ response might scare you off your dream project.
Lisa Cholodenko said that while they were working on The Kids Are All Right, they hadn’t talked to many folks about the plot. Only after the movie was finished did an executive mention that she’d read a couple of scripts with similar storylines over the years. Had Cholodenko known there were competing projects, she might have had second thoughts, worried that someone would beat her to the screen.
I agree with Sorkin and Blumberg. It’s comforting to know that even some of the great creatives can fall victim to same feelings I have experienced. It’s amazing how important enthusiasm is to the creative process. When I’m enthusiastic about something I want to share it with everyone but as it turns out, enthusiasm is fuel for the creative process and when you share it with too many others you loose fuel and make the already difficult process of creating harder and less joyful.
Sharing your half-baked idea with others is doing a disservice to yourself and the people you share with. People’s natural reaction with something new is to make it familiar, usually it’s something successful or something they saw as a failure, whatever is it, it’s not your idea… and they’ll put that on you. I can’t blame them, I do the same.
Somewhat related is this talk I saw on the TED site:
Basically saying, if you share your goal you’re less likely to complete it because just sharing your idea can give a feeling of satisfaction that is not dependent on completion. If you can trick yourself into being satisfied without doing anything, then why do anything at all? Seems like a trick Screwtape would describe to Wormwood in C.S. Lewis’ Screwtape Letters, and, he probably does.
Try to find satisfaction in doing, not in success or telling.