Some of them are crappy ideas, but some of them are worth salvaging. That said, if they were such good ideas, why didn’t I remember them?
Since early May 2014 (in fact, I started May 2, 2014) at the recommendation of a podcaster I listen to regularly, I’ve been making daily lists of ideas. The ideas vary from blog post ideas, to article ideas, to business ideas, to ideas for other people. (Some of which I have passed on to those people.) This lets me test pens and ink (I always record both) and use up my stacks and stacks of inspiration.
The basic rules are that I have to produce at least 10 ideas a day and no single idea can be more than a couple lines in the notebook I’m using. I have to fill the page, which means I often end up with 12 or more ideas. I also have a rule that I have to catch up any days I miss before I can move on with the current day’s ideas. The record is 40 ideas after a record setting four days off.
I haven’t counted, but I should be somewhere around 7,300 ideas.
I have taken breaks, especially during National Novel Writing Month and exam time at the school where I work. I have, unfortunately, made this a daily habit and not the morning habit I’d originally intended.
Also, there is some repetition of ideas as a good idea manages to resurrect itself a couple of times. (I pay attention to those.) And sometimes an idea gets repeated but transformed each time like the secret message in the Pass the Message game.
I alternate between lists of random ideas and lists focused on one topic (for example, improving smart phones, fountain pens, 10 ways to improve Japanese pen shows, and dealing with clutter).
Where I’ve failed is on mixing and matching the ideas to create new ideas. For example, combine gourmet pizza delivery with gourmet ink to get a service that delivers gourmet inks. You request the blend, we deliver. I wrote that down as idea number 6 on August 22, 2014. (Now, of course, someone else is doing something similar.) For all I know, we both stole it from someone else.
Note: I don’t get annoyed when things like that happen. It tells me I’ve got some good ideas. I either need to act on them or just start posting them for others to use.
The next phase is to implement more of the blending and mixing. I’ve decided to dedicate Sundays to doing nothing but pulling random ideas out of the old notebooks and playing with them to see what I can make from them. That’s how I discovered the one that came true and that I’d passed the two year anniversary.
There’s still the problem of storage of all the old notebooks. I’ll have to come up with some ideas for dealing with those.