Getting rid of your ideas

Ideas are easy. So why is coming up with a great idea so hard?

Jason Santa Maria writes:

Over time, I came to realize that the only way to get to the good ideas was to trudge through all the obvious and bad ones first.

I started keeping track of every single idea - whether for a film or other creative project - in text documents, and I soon noticed something. My ideas got better. The more I wrote, the easier it was to write more. Writing really does encourage writing. Ideas formulate more easily the more time you spend in that mindset. Ultimately, it gives you a chance to get through the bad ideas - the ones that are obvious and just sitting on the surface - and get down deep to the better ideas.

But it's important to keep track of the bad ones, too. You can use a notebook or Google docs. I use Notational Velocity on Mac, 1Writer (and sometimes Byword) on iOS, and I sync all the notes in Dropbox. You never know when the dots will connect. A bad idea might inspire a good idea, or maybe it's the missing piece of a different puzzle that you're working on. 

The other cool thing is, months or years later, you can look back on all those notes and ideas. You can see where your head was at. You can be reminded of things that you forgot. Little things that seemed dumb, now make sense in a different way. Sometimes you'll combine them. Sometimes you'll scrap the ones that are really, really bad. Whatever your approach, tracking all your ideas will give you a forward sense of momentum that keeps you from getting stuck. And if you do feel stuck, go grab an old idea and try to look at it in a different way. It works.

Andy Newmanideas