Don't Squirrel Your Ideas Away!

I know it's tempting.

You want to spend years reworking and rewriting and rethinking that one great idea you had in high school because it has so much potential if only you could get it just right.

You want to stash your best plots, your perfectly nuanced characters, your most riveting titles, and your highly philosophical yet totally relatable conflicts away until you have critical accolades (optional) and a national audience that will fully appreciate your genius (required).

But, inevitably, if you continue to squirrel away your best ideas waiting for angels to announce the perfect time for the great reveal...then you're going to end up (very quickly, probably) as a reclusive, nutty wishy-washy wisher with all the intentions in the world but nothing to show for it. 

I think that deep down we know this. So why do we do this to ourselves?

Perhaps we imagine that god or the nine muses or whoever is in charge of doling out creativity has already given us our lifetime allotment of brilliant nuts, and we must stash them away because what would life be like if we didn't have any secret ideas developing in the dark?

 Illustration by Jack Hunt

Illustration by Jack Hunt

But here's a little secret...

There is no swiftly approaching winter, no dearth of creativity and ideas that you must feverishly prepare for.

Likewise, there is no perfectly fertilized spring up and coming in which your carefully preserved idea will flourish like never before.

Ideas do not come dripping down from clouds, floating rationed from heaven in little gift-wrapped boxes with labels handwritten by the muses in frilly cursive.

Ideas are planted in the eternal spring all around us. Ideas beget new ideas. And the mind more experienced at nurturing and harvesting ideas will find that there is never any shortage of them.

I might even go as far as to say this:

the way to find new ideas is to use up the ones you already have.

Stop thinking about them! Develop them, write them, get them out of your head once and for all so something else can start germinating in the flowerpot you've finally weeded out.

Don't let obsessive planning for the future stop you from acting in the present.

Do you have ideas you've been stashing away for another day?