Polishing the Lightbulb: Making Your Idea Better

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Suddenly, you’ve got it! It’s the big idea you can build your book on. But before you start calling agents and publishers, step back and take a deep breath.

One myth of creativity is that great ideas spring from your mind fully formed and ready to go. Alas, it doesn’t happen that way. No matter how good your idea is, you need to improve it before you base a book on it. Here is how to make your idea better.

Give your idea time to mature.

The first thing to do is slow down. Your brain needs time to improve your idea. If you shut down this part of the creative process too soon, your idea will never become everything it can be.

Play with your idea.

Take time to play with your idea and capture insights. Make all kinds of lists. You can make lists of ideas, connections, people, keywords, and key phrases. Take a couple of weeks and add to the different lists as new ideas come to you.

Write down your idea in different ways. Write in your journal. Make outlines, mind maps, or lists of key scenes.

Get thee to Google.

Use a thesaurus to expand your list of keywords and key phrases. Ask others for their input.

Do a Google search for all of them. Google’s auto-complete feature may suggest other words and phrases to search for.

You will discover books and articles and people related to your big idea. Use all of them to sharpen your idea. Make lists of people and key concepts you want to learn more about.

Get thee to Amazon.

Take those lists of people and concepts and start searching on Amazon. You’ll find books you may want to read. Those books have authors. You may want to interview some of them. When you search for people, you’ll find books you didn’t know about. Those books may expand your knowledge.

When you’re done with the Amazon part of your process you should know some important things. You should know what’s already on the market related to your big idea. You should know who the important experts are that you should consult.

Trust the process, don’t rush the process.

You may be tempted to rush the process and start working on your book. Resist that temptation. Trust the process and wait for things to jell.

Some clients I’ve worked with have emerged from this process more excited about their big idea than when they began. They also have everything they need to start writing their book or book proposal.

That’s not the only good outcome. Some clients never make it through the process because they decide the idea is not that great or that the market is already saturated with books on it or that they just aren’t as excited about it as they were. That’s a good outcome because it frees those clients up to work on other things and to carry the knowledge they’ve gained from the process to use sometime in the future.

Takeaways

Give your idea time to mature.

Play with your idea.

Get thee to Google.

Get thee to Amazon.

Trust the process, don’t rush the process.

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