Recently I was talking to a girlfriend about her goals and dreams. She’s a highly creative person, with a lot of brilliant ideas, yet she struggles to bring her ideas to fruition.
My girlfriend’s problem is that all of her great ideas are floating around in her head. She has an overload of ideas but doesn’t take any action to get them out of her head or turn them into completed pieces of work.
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Here are some useful tips to help capture and implement your ideas.
Get the ideas out of your head
I don’t mean to sound harsh, but my friend’s ideas won’t benefit her at all while they remain in her head.
You need to act on your ideas for them to be a success.
My advice is to write everything down. Get your thoughts onto paper or a suitable computer format.
When I went back to work after six months of leave, I was constantly coming up with writing ideas while at work. I would send a daily email to my personal laptop capturing all of my brainstorming ideas. I did this for six months, which meant that by the time I left work, I ended up with 47 pages of brainstorming ideas. Messy, yes and I realize in hindsight this method probably wasn’t the most effective way to get all of my ideas in one place.
Yet I do have material that I refer back to regularly and action, which is one step up from having it all in my head.
Don’t censor your ideas
As soon as you start putting your ideas in writing, your inner critic will start censoring them.
Before you know it, you will be deleting and retyping (or rewriting if you are writing by hand). Thoughts like – this isn’t good enough – will creep in.
Capturing your ideas is not the moment where you write your brilliant book or article. This is the part where the seed idea starts to take shape.
Though it can be hard at first, you need to shut out your inner censor at this point.
As I mentioned to my friend, one page of average fiction writing is better than nothing. There will be rewriting and editing down the track to improve your work but here’s the thing, you can’t improve on nothing!
Books to help you get your creative groove on –
- The Creative Habit (Learn In and Use it For Life) by Twyla Tharp
- Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon
- Keep Going: 10 Ways to Stay Creative in Good Time and Bad by Austin Kleon
- The Practice: Shipping Creative Work by Seth Godin
Don’t pigeon hole your ideas
If you decide an idea is unsuitable for a particular project, don’t disregard it completely. Think about other markets where your idea could be used.
Perhaps it would make a good article for a website or magazine or even an idea for a short story or screenplay. Look for different avenues to use your ideas.
Sort through your ideas
Warning – this piece of information may burst your ego bubble. Not all of your ideas are going to be brilliant.
Some may be brilliant, some usable, and some downright rubbish.
Don’t for a moment disregard everything that is not brilliant.
The whole point of brainstorming is to open your mind to possibilities. While one idea may not come to fruition, that same idea could trigger something that may be great. One idea triggers other ideas.
Related posts to get you motivated and moving –
Make a decision
This is where many people stop dead in their tracks. You have sorted through your ideas and weeded out the ones with real potential.
Now you are ready for the next step.
The problem for many people is taking that step. This is usually where the fear of failure or even fear of success raises its ugly head.
What if your idea falls flat? What if you fail on your first attempt? You will have wasted your valuable time (and in some cases money).
This fear alone stops many people from even trying. Don’t let it stop you.
No more excuses
Let’s face it, there is always an excuse for not trying if you are looking for one. Excuses seem to be something we can never run out of.
Your project will never get off the ground if you don’t try.
Do you want your great ideas to grow and flourish or do you want them to haunt you for not having the courage to follow through on them?
Related post – 6 Ways to Ditch Your Excuses
I realize in the course of our normal working lives, we rarely get to work on one thing at a time.
However, if you have an established record of starting things and never finishing them or not starting them at all, picking one idea to work on seems like the best place to start.
Finish it through to the end
Finishing your project through to the end can be the hardest part!
There will be times when it is frustrating, tedious, or even boring. Most likely it will be hard work. Don’t forget seeing a project through to completion can also be a hell of a lot of fun.
I cannot stipulate the importance of finishing enough.
I was guilty of this myself when I started freelancing. I had a variety of started but unfinished articles floating around and you do not get paid for unfinished work. Unfinished work does not give you a sense of achievement.
In fact, piles of unfinished work can zap your motivation.
Our ability to stay focused on a task from start to finish is paramount to our success.
In an office environment, it can be common for you to complete your part of a task and pass it onto someone else. What happens after our section is finished, we don’t always know. But completing our part of the work is vital.
Related post – The Importance of Finishing What You Start
More onto your next project
I realize in theory you will most likely be working on several projects at once. Again, the key is to finish each of them.
Don’t let your ideas stay just ideas. Do your best to make the ones that matter happen.
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Read Next – How to Be More Creative