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Ideation and Execution


“Ideas are cheap. It is the execution that is all important.” — George R.R. Martin


The other day a respected fellow author asked if I could give any hints on my next project. Before sharing my ideas, I expressed that I always get a bit nervous about sharing before I reach a certain point in any creative process. Why? It is because so much can change between ideation and execution.

I wish I had a dime for every ‘bright idea’ I have had, or for each time I have heard someone else say, “I’ve got an idea!” It is true. Ideas are cheap. I like the quote above because it holds true across the board. It makes no difference whether it is work or play, an idea is just an idea until you make it happen. Now it is here that I wish I could insert the magic bullet, but as it turns out, I do not think one exists. However, I can share a few things that helped me move from ideation to execution with Dunnigan.


**Disclaimer** These are just a few thoughts from my perspective. Take or leave what you wish!


In general, the secret to executing a good idea is going to be the same, but the finer points of execution are going to differ for each person and project. In my case, I had to start with something foundational and choose a “micro-task” within that realm. For example, I began with the research, which is critical for historical fiction. However, research is a broad term. More specifically, I chose to start research by doing in-person interviews. Whatever the idea, to move into the execution phase, a manageable, preparatory task has to be identified.

The next thing may seem overly simplistic, but as I see it, you need only to repeat the previously mentioned process time after time to execute an idea. Small task after small task, you identify and complete, identify and complete. Before you know it, you will reach a point where you have accomplished a visible body of work. It is not unlike watching a new home rise. The workers prepare the site, and before too long, they lay the foundation block by block. After a while, the walls and roof get framed before the structure is 'dried in' with exterior materials and a roof. That is execution! Step by step, task by task, things are completed until the whole is finished.

If you struggle to execute an idea, I hope this will encourage you! I will end with a remark from Samuel Clemens, best known to us all as Mark Twain.

“The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and starting on the first one.” ― Mark Twain


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