I was always stuck in the same cycle with my writing during my middle school and high school years. I’d come up with an idea for a novel, drop everything in order to spend every microsecond on it, be convinced that it was what I had been “destined” for, start imagining myself on talk shows being interviewed about this amazing book I would write, and then it would all fall flat. Why? What would happen? Was I getting bored and giving up too quickly or had it just been a dumb idea from the start?
This is still something I am constantly asking myself, from writing on this blog to pitching article ideas at my internship. What ideas are truly good enough to spend time and energy on? I think it is a question that all artists wrestle with. Is there any way to know from the beginning that what I’m working on is going to turn into something?
The answer, as much as it drives me crazy, is probably not.
I’m the type of person who wants to see how the big picture is going to turn out right now. I don’t like thinking that I’m “wasting” my time on something if it’s not going to go anywhere. This kind of thinking can make it hard for me to even want to start projects. At the same time, though, there can be so much freedom in the not-knowing. Anything could have potential, but I also need to do two things: put in the work and be willing to receive feedback and criticism. Sometimes, the seemingly worst ideas can turn out great in the end, and other times, ideas that seem great at first lose their steam if not given enough focus.
So instead of waiting for an idea to come along that’s “good enough,” maybe more time needs to be spent on all the nitty-gritty work of tweaking, editing, being open to feedback, and knowing that no work is truly a waste if you use it to help you grow into a better artist.