March 17, 2017

Respect the Idea by Rohadi

In "Big Magic", Elizabeth Gilbert tells a story about a new book idea she had complete with tantalizing details. She toyed with the idea for a while, but ultimately never followed through from idea to completed project.  She reveals later that the 'idea' quite literally left her for another author, whom two years later published a book with same details, characters, and plot....

For Elizabeth, ideas are living things, and if you don't respect the idea when it lands on you, it might opt to move to greener pastures without you.

There's no shortage of ideas. It's why we keep pens and notepads in our coat pockets (just in case). Blogging for me as has been a useful process to get ideas out (and done). Posts are generally short, some mere vignettes or musings, others a bit more substantial, but rarely are my posts over 2000 words. I may have a card stack of blog post ideas, but because they're short, they seem insignificant.

But what happens when the ideas are bigger?

One of the frightening things for a writer is starting a significant project and having the idea leave you before completion. The professional writer may have mastered the art of overcoming resistance to 'close the deal' on ideas as they come. For me, who lacks the discipline, I'm terrified of starting something I can't finish, not because of my ability, but because the idea left me for someone else.

I'm in that situation right now, to be honest.

70-80 thousand words in and I left a project for what I thought was going to be a brief pause (I was waiting for a publisher to 'pick it up').

"I'll be back soon!" I promised myself.

That was 2015.

Two years ago I started my non-fiction book, "Adventures to Save a Dying Church", (title pending), only to leave it for a year.

A YEAR. Don't leave a project for a year!

As I came back into the rhythm of writing in January, it was evident I was about to pay a price for acting too casual with the idea. I'm stuck on Chapter 1 (or is it Chapter 2 now?), where my writing days are becoming a never ending merry-go-round of Chapter 1, Chapter 1, Chapter 1, Chapter 1, Chapter 1....

Am I even going to make it? Or will I have to let this one go?

Today, I think I'm making process, but it's slow, and I can't quite get it out of my head that I may have left this one dormant for too long. I disrespected the idea.

Thankfully, God's patient beyond measure with any ideas sent our way. I may just yet emerge from this extended intermission scathed but completed.


You can visit Rohadi on his blog, and you can check out the book he completed while abandoning his first writing project, a Christian coloring book called, "Soul Coats".


  1. Oh my ... you've hit a nerve here. Elizabeth Gilbert's thought that "ideas are living things, and if you don't respect the idea when it lands on you, it might opt to move to greener pastures without you", I can totally relate to that. I've had wonderful ideas move to greener pastures, and I have wondered if it was because I wasn't seriously doing anything with them (all for numerous reasons some even good ones).

    I have wondered about that very thing over the years. I do believe the Lord will give writers idea gems and book possibilities that He wants out there for his people, and if we will not move on them, He prepares someone else's heart to take them on. I have also thought of something else... as believers, because we walk in one Spirit, it's totally possible for writers to get the same ideas for writing; as we grow and learn, He gives us insights into similar topics. But, some of us wait for a better time... some of us run with it.

    All that said, I yearn to get what He's given me to write written. I really don't want to hear that the ideas He gave me were eventually forwarded to someone else because I was either afraid or careless about the assignment. And where I have missed it in the past, I am most grateful that He extends grace and mercy and forgiveness, so that I can do better and not just live with the regret of past mistakes.

    Thanks so much for this post! Brenda

  2. Be encouraged to keep on going - both Rohai and Brenda. One year (or two ) seems like a pittance! It's all in Gods timing.

  3. I often wonder, if I don't use it will I lose it? That seems to be true in so many areas of life. However, God is merciful and also redeems what we think is lost. All those years of refusing to write, God continued to work in me so when I returned I would be more ready to write what He wanted.

  4. Both of you, Rohadi and Brenda, intrigue me on what you have to say. You have also piqued my curiosity about Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear. Fear can be a big factor in stopping us from expressing ourselves creatively.

  5. Lots of food for thought here. It's good to know that God can take our mistakes which might include those times we did not move on an idea quickly enough, and make beautiful things - books, stories, songs - out of them. Thanks for sharing. Good discussion everyone!

  6. Two things I've learned: 1) If you never start something for fear of failure, then you've already failed without ever trying. It's called procrastination. 2) When you get stuck writing the same paragraph over and over, just get on with it and stop worrying about whether it's perfect. That's called perfectionism, and striving to achieve that is what rewrites are for.


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