Lin-Manuel Miranda once posted a picture to Twitter with a caption that read, "Had an idea that might be terrible. Or transcendent. No way to know but to write the ******. *cracks knuckles*." This is a strategy that he is seen to employ multiple times through his postings on social...
Lin-Manuel Miranda once posted a picture to Twitter with a caption that read, "Had an idea that might be terrible. Or transcendent. No way to know but to write the ******. *cracks knuckles*." This is a strategy that he is seen to employ multiple times through his postings on social media. Even when he isn't sure if an idea will work, he writes it. He writes it because you can never know how something will be until it's an actual work and no longer just an idea. Other writers can use this attitude to overcome problems such as idea anxiety and writer's block.
It's normal to be worried that your ideas aren't good. The problem comes when this fear keeps you from writing and actually making those ideas into something that other people can read. Maybe you keep ideas in your head or jot them down in a notebook. That's a good start but it isn't how you want to finish. Take an idea and just start working on it. Putting in even 20 minutes per day will eventually get you to a completed draft. Just write it.
Miranda knew he had to take a chance. In Playbill, he describes how he struggled with whether to leave his job as a teacher to pursue writing—or to take the safe route, instead. He opted to leave, and the results were spectacular. You don't have to leave your job, but you can take the chance of simply putting pen to paper, blocking out 30 minutes per day, and starting to actually write out your ideas.
Actually working on a piece when an idea strikes you can help you paint a clearer picture of the original idea you had. Memories fade and blur; ideas slip away and don't come to us nearly as sharply as the original idea itself. When Miranda starts writing, he doesn't know whether the new project will be something that other people will see. He just sits down to do it before he loses the idea and the possibility that it will be something spectacular. Ideas that aren't written don't ever get the chance to shine.
Getting started also gives you a something in which to work. You can edit anything—except a blank piece of paper. No one produces perfect first drafts. Miranda himself takes years to develop, edit, and finalize his ideas. What we see on stage isn't the same thing he originally wrote when the idea formed in his head. It's important to remember that and not judge your own writing against ideas that have been developed and tweaked for long periods of time.
As Manuel reminds the Rolling Stone writer who interviewed him in 2016, he was a substitute teacher when his first play, In the Heights, was written and produced. It was his big break—but he couldn't have known that when he was writing it. You never know how your ideas will develop. So take a page from Miranda's book and just write. You never know where your writing might take you.