Don’t Talk About It
Are you writing a novel?
Don’t talk about it.
Are you recording a new album, planning a new product launch, gestating a new philanthropic venture?
Keep your mouth shut.
Talking too soon is bad luck. It’s bad karma. I go even farther. Here’s a short quote from an upcoming book called The Authentic Swing:
I’m superstitious. I have habits.
I always give a false name to the book I’m working on. I never use the real title when creating the working file. Why? Because the devil might see the real title. Then he would have power to jinx it. I called Gates of Fire “Spartans.” I called The War of Art “Resistance.”
Granted, I’m probably a bit over the edge to engage in such elaborate prophylactic machinations. But I believe (though I can’t prove it) that in some occult dimension of reality an as-yet-unbirthed idea is vulnerable to evil juju.
“First rule of Fight Club. You do not talk about Fight Club.”
More than that, I believe that the luck, the chi, the mojo of an as-yet-unborn work can be bled away by its author running his mouth prematurely. Sometimes I’ll meet a writer or director or musician and they’ll start blathering excitedly about a new project they’re working on. I always stop them. For their sake—and for the project’s.
Conserve that energy.
Keep the genie inside the bottle.
I can almost feel the air going out of the balloon as these artists blab about it.
Talking too soon is Resistance.
Premature yakking is a form of self-sabotage.
Another way to look at it is that that work-in-progress is your baby. It’s a fetus, gestating inside you. Don’t expose it to germs or daylight or gamma rays from Jupiter. Protect that fragile life-form.
There’ll be plenty of time to brag about your baby once she’s born. Give her time. Let her make her debut. Wait till she has a name and a Social Security number.
Then, when she’s blinking and bawling, out at last into the wide world … then you can mount to the rooftops.
Till then, shut up.
Don’t talk about it.
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