So you got an awesome idea … you want to work on a screenplay, or you’ve been bitten by the YouTube bug and want to start producing videos. Maybe you have an idea about a novel, or even a series of them.
This moment can be very empowering and exciting. You are about to set off on adventure that will take months, maybe even years to complete and who knows what opportunities await on the other side?
And then what do you do? You announce to the world your plans to do this magical thing.
As a creative, this is like inviting a group of vampires to your house, and telling them it’s an all you can drink special and so .. line on up, and pick a vein.
Why is this so?
Anything of merit takes work, and that work requires sacrifice. Persistent painful sacrifice. This effort requires a tremendous amount of energy and by sharing your project with your friends, you are literally giving this energy away.
For example, you start your screenplay and you tell *everybody* about it. Eventually, you hit a snag or run into the wall. Production stalls. Now, you have all those people circling over head, asking your progress. What to them is a positive question – an inquiry that shows that they care about your life – will to feel like a nip to you.
“Oh,” you say. “I haven’t had time.”
When in truth, you’ve been alligator wrestling with the story. Or maybe, you haven’t prioritized the story and it has fallen through the cracks.
Now imagine all your friends, co-workers, and associates asking you about the project. You’ll be nipped to death!
And slowly over time, this great project starts to feel like an anchor around your neck. Questions feel like barbs, and worst of all, you start thinking of yourself as a failure.
I’ve experienced this cycle many many times to the point now I don’t tell anyone my plans. I hold my cards in a balled fist that only very few people (mostly my wife and kiddos) know my intentions.
I keep my dreams in the dark until they are ready for the light. And if they never come to the light, well — I won’t feel depleted for explaining my creative process to the world. Let’s face it — not all ideas are good ones.
I’ve found this is especially true at the end of project as well. Let’s say you are within striking distance of your creative work … by all means, do not talk about it. Put all your remaining energy into finishing it, then head to the beer tent (or Twitter) for celebrations.
Ultimately, it’s what works best with your creative process. So try, experiment, and when you have the urge to tell the entire world of your intentions, write a personal journal entry instead. It might be less fun, but may end up with a completed project instead.