I love ideas. But they are fickle little creatures. You don’t pay them their due attention, and they decide to move on. In many ways, ideas are rather like small children – they don’t like to be kept waiting!
Just like in the early days with Lilly, when many a dinner was hastily scoffed, or worse, abandoned, the other day I was frantically scribbling in my notebook while a freshly baked pizza slowly got cold in the kitchen. Worse (in a good way) was that rather than scrawling down one thought, or at least one thought at a time, I found that one idea led to another and before I knew it, I had filled about a dozen pages with four or five different concepts. Ideas, once you tap into them, are a bit like rabbits – they breed. Fast!
But you need to capture those little buggers quickly because they won’t stay around forever. I find carrying a small notebook helps. Other people like using the ‘notes’ function on a smartphone. I do that occasionally, although not every situation lends itself to pulling a phone out of your purse, like walking over a busy London bridge approaching midnight. There are times when you might get a second chance at a thought that you failed to capture the first time around, as evidenced by the fact that in reconciling my various notes on this post I found that I wrote the same thing down on completely different days. But you can’t always count on that second chance – sometimes you lose the idea and it’s gone for good.
A friend of mine likens ideas to fruit. Like fruit, some big ideas may take a while to grow and ripen but there comes a point when they need to be harvested (read: acted upon) lest they go off.
Speaking of rotting fruit, beware that getting caught up in lots of ideas can be kind of intoxicating. Sometimes we get so hooked on the buzz of generating new ideas that we forget that a process of selection, followed by execution, needs to take place in order for anything to actually happen!
There’s nothing wrong with flirting with lots of ideas, just remember that not every flirt or one-night stand ends up in front of the altar. See my RAK project as a case in point. It was courting me persistently for weeks so I finally gave in to a first date. We kept in touch for a few days afterwards but really there was no chemistry. Although I walked away with a greater awareness about being nice to random strangers. Every day, not just for a month. Maybe that’s all it was supposed to do.
Sometimes you flirt with a great idea but it’s just not the right time. Maybe it needs to ripen up a bit more. Watch out though to make sure that this is not just something you are telling yourself in order to stay in your comfort zone. Otherwise you end up all mouth and no trousers.
Now, there’s an idea…