Advice for Anyone with an Idea

Do the work.

Every now and again, I meet someone new and tell them I’m a writer/poet/storyteller/etc. and that naturally leads to conversations about what I’m doing now and what opportunities have come my way as a result. A subsection of these new acquaintances (hungry for similar opportunities) will often go into a long list of ideas they have and how they are looking for opportunities to come along or obstacles to go away so they can act on them.

This is an ass-backwards approach.

Are there certain things you cannot do because of lack of opportunity or the presence of obstacles? Certainly, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do something related (however tangentially) to the thing you really want to be doing.

If you need a certain opportunity or resource to make something happen, how can you tweak your project/idea to at least get started so that — once the needed thing is available — you can basically hit the ground running?

If there’s certain obstacle in the way of you making something, again, how can you tweak your project/idea to at least get started so that — once the obstacle is removed — the project becomes that much easier to complete?

The advice is pretty straightforward, but there’s more.

You need to produce results. It doesn’t need to be a particular result, or a particular amount. You just need to make something at least semi-regularly so that when you do share all the “so many ideas” you have, people know you’re not all talk.

If you absolutely cannot even start an idea without removing the obstacles and getting the opportunities, then write a project proposal detailing the thing you want to make and what needs to be done to make its creation happen. Submit the project proposal to places that can afford you the opportunities you need or put it to the side until you have been able to get things squared away for yourself to get started.

But whether you’re submitting your project proposal someplace or setting it aside until you have all the pieces of the puzzle to make it happen — either way — you need to take one of your other many ideas that you can work on right now and produce a result from it.

Opportunities are granted based on you being able to walk the walk. Obstacles are overcome or circumnavigated by those who put in the effort.

Create your portfolio of created work. Create your stack of project proposals. Submit those proposals so you can add to your portfolio of created work.

Congratulations, you have an idea! Now what are you going to do with it?

Also published on Medium.