18. Turning an idea into reality
If I had ten cents for every time someone said to me, “I have a great idea”, well, I’d be rich! Now please know that I don’t mean to put anyone down, and being an ‘ideas person’ myself, I know how exciting it is to come up with a great idea. The kind of idea that you know would be hugely successful if someone would just write it, or read it, or better still, make it!
But here’s what I’ve learned after all these years in the business: an ‘idea’ alone is worthless. I have hundreds of ideas written on napkins and scraps of paper scattered around my house. Some are OK, some are good, and some are even great. But even a great idea is just a fluffy white cloud floating around the cosmos, filled with promise and potential, and hopes and dreams – it has no value until you get off your butt and do something with it.
Your job as a writer is to turn that idea into reality and what that takes is your time, your skills, your sweat and tears – and a lot of hard work.
You are the first investor, and if you don’t believe in it, nobody else will. As the creator you must spend time coming up with amazing characters, as well as developing the world, logic and style of your series or film. And as a writer, you’ve got to come up with a story that captures us and speaks to us. The kind of story that will stand out from the rest and attract serious attention from a producer, director or broadcaster.
There is no easy way and unfortunately there is no other way. You will spend months working on projects that never get off the ground. You will face rejection and frustration and huge disappointment. But then, one day, you will see those two magnificent words in the opening credits: 'Written by'...
And there is no way to describe just how deeply meaningful that moment will be!
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