Monday, November 15, 2010

Ideas Versus Execution

I've always been an idea person. Ideas come to me all the time; thoughts that sneak into my mind while I empty the dishwasher, mow the lawn, or try to catch a few extra Zs on a Saturday morning.

I'm sure I had some good ideas growing up, although I don't remember most of them. However, one idea I had when I was a sophomore in high school is still as vivid as it was the day it came to me.

Our high school band was traveling from Hawaii to Florida for the Citrus Bowl parade, and I thought it might be fun to make a sign to hold up during the game--something silly like, "Aloha! We made this sign just to get on National TV!"

The reason I remember this idea is that, unlike most thoughts from that era, I acted on it. I shared the thought with some friends and, armed with markers, paint, and a bed sheet, we made the sign. We smuggled it into the game in my xylophone case, waited for just the right moment, and unfurled our queen-sized banner.

A camera wheeled over, the red light went on, and people all over the country saw our sign. We had our fifteen seconds of fame, all because I had the courage to execute on an idea.

I'm sure you've noticed by now that even the best ideas fall flat when the execution doesn't measure up. Have you ever picked up a book or gone to a movie, excited by the title and synopsis, only to experience terrible disappointment at the result? That's failed execution.

In writing, successful execution requires a number of things: clean prose, interesting voice, likable characters, and solid story structure. Execution takes time and effort.

And it takes courage. Because executing an idea is to risk failure. And the bigger the idea, the bigger the risk.

Every book out there started as an idea. The thing that separates the published works from the ideas scratched in notebooks is the courage, effort, and determination to execute on that idea.


In an act of shameless self-promotion, I would like to share with you a the execution of an idea I had more than half a year ago. I present for you the Bumpy Landings Teaser Trailer.

In connection with the release of the trailer, I'm holding a contest on my blog. Visit for the complete details.


Michael Knudsen said...

Idea + execution = result, good or bad. Idea + do nothing = no result. Acting on ideas may be risky, but doing nothing nets nothing. Unbelievable teaser, it will be everywhere within 24 hours.

Stephanie Black said...

Great trailer!

Steve said...

Great job on the trailer. I love it.

FireandIce said...

LOVE LOVE LOVE the trailer!