Creatives: Should You Discuss Your Project Before It’s Finished?

I’m fortunate to be friends with a lot of highly creative writers, artists, musicians, and filmmakers. But a significant number never realize their full potential, and in fact, never actually finish many projects. It baffled me for awhile, but then after years of observing them, I discovered the problem:

They can’t wait to talk about the new book, movie, or other project they’re working on, so they spill their guts too soon and too often.

They talk about it to every friend, co-worker, and family member. Over and over, they share what they’re doing.  But like slowly deflating a balloon, by doing that, they let their passion and energy about the project leak out as well.

In my case, when I’m working on a new book, I keep it bottled up. Rather than sharing it with everyone, I fight the urge so it will pour out of me later at my writing desk. I’m a firm believer that during the creative process, you can only tell your story so many times before it becomes rote and boring, and you start to lose interest.  And if that happens before the project is finished, you’re dead in the water.

Try it out. Next time you start on a project, resist the urge to talk about it. Instead, keep it bottled up and pour that passion and energy into the writing or creating of the project. Because on the page, the studio, or the stage is where it should be most alive.

And then once it’s finished, you can shout it from the housetops…..

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  1. As a stand up comic, I can relate. There’s a strong urge to share your latest idea with anyone who will listen! The problem is that the setting is never quite right and, more often than not, the material falls flat. Which leads to the deflating you’re talking about. Which leads to a loss of confidence in the material. It’s always better to present your grand idea in the arena for which its intended. If it kills on stage, your mother will see you were right all along, even if she never gets the joke.

  2. I understand where you’re coming from, and that’s generally my perspective, as well. But for some people, they need to tell others what they’re working on or they won’t, in fact, do it. I’m not sure that’s good for one’s mental health, but then, being a writer or creative of any sort often isn’t. I suppose we must differentiate between telling folks that you’re working on something vs. going into gruesome detail about what it is. Like Bob said, you risk too many people raining on your parade. And I gave up on mom getting my jokes long ago.

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