I frequent some different writing forums. A common title I see reads something to the effect of, “I’m going to try to write a story a day for the next year,” or, “I have this good idea for a story. What do you think?”

These goals in and of themselves aren’t necessarily bad. But, in my experience, it is better to produce something than to talk about producing something. The work to develop a project is much more impressive than the idea alone.

When I see people throw out goals and ideas like this, my thought is: “I’ll believe it when I see it”. I don’t really believe they’ll follow through with what they’re saying because I have no evidence of their passion for what they’re talking about. Maybe that’s pessimistic, but without anything to show for it, the statements are empty promises. It seems like these people only want to do something if it will make them popular or rich. There’s nothing interesting or passionate about that.

Think of how these scenarios play out between Gwen and Gregor:

Gwen: I think I’m going to write 1000 words every day. What do you think?

Gregor: … Great. It’s a goal. Good luck!

OR

Gwen: I wrote 1000 words a day for two months and finally finished my novel!

Gregor: Wow! That’s really impressive, because I can look at something tangible and see how much effort went into it!

Now, I understand that when people post these kinds of goals and ideas, they’re mostly looking for answers to these questions: Is it a good idea? Is it a waste of time? Is there something better I can do?

I’ve found that it is better to work on and develop an idea for at least a small period of time, like a few days or a week, and then reevaluate. At that point, it’s ok to come out with a question and get feedback, because now you have some experience to back you up, and people can see that you have put at least some effort into it.

I’ve made these kinds of statements. I’ve broadcast my goals and ideas and I realized I have a lot harder time accomplishing what I say I will than if I had just started doing it without talking about it. That’s what I see in these posts. I don’t want to put energy into giving an idea feedback if I haven’t seen energy being put in by the person who had the idea in the first place.

It’s good to try to get feedback early. It’s better to develop your own ideas before trying to get people to do the work for you.

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