Where Do You Get Your Ideas?

Over the course of my writing career, I’ve conducted dozens, if not hundreds, of author presentations, workshops, seminars, Q & A’s, panel discussions and many more public appearances. Selling books is largely a grass roots business and they certainly don’t sell themselves. Plus, I flat out enjoy talking about writing.

Invariably, when it comes time to answer audience questions, someone will ask, “Where do you get your ideas?” For me, that’s never been a problem. Ideas are everywhere. In the daily headlines, in overheard conversations, in a dream (or a nightmare). More ideas than I’ve got time to write. That’s why only the best ones make the cut; the ones I can get — and stay— excited about when I hit, as we all do, that mid-manuscript wall. The magic isn’t in the idea. Give a hack writer an earth-shattering idea and he’ll muck it up. Give a gifted writer an ordinary idea and she’ll make it sing. The magic is in the implementation.

I have to laugh when someone says they’ve got the world’s greatest idea and all I have to do is help them write it (not for a fee, mind you, but for a portion of the profits). I have to laugh even harder when another someone is so worried about me stealing their idea that I need to sign a mountain of non-disclosures for even a hint. I’ll pass, thank you. I like my ideas better.

 

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