PRACTICAL MATTERS: DON’T LET GOOD IDEAS GET AWAY

Tool of the Trade

We’ve all been there, right?  A good idea shows up unexpectedly, and you’re caught without a way to capture it.  You’re driving or grocery shopping.  No worries, you think.  It’s such a good idea, you’ll remember it.  As soon as you get home, you’ll write it down.

And to your credit, it’s a good effort.  You repeat a keyword phrase in your head as you head home and unload the groceries.  And you get pretty far.  You make it home with this little idea rolling around in your head.

But as you’re unloading the groceries, you discover an unpleasant gift left on the carpet by the cat.  And while you’re cleaning that, one of your kids comes in and announces that they need 48 cupcakes for class tomorrow.

And that’s about when the good idea, who has been struggling in your brain’s tentative grasp, slips away…probably to find someone who will pay it the attention it craves.

You don’t notice because you’re busy running down the possibilities of whether or not you have time to go back to the grocery store before dinner and whether or not your husband would notice if his treasured cat suddenly went missing.

Sometime later, when you’re stirring a pot of turkey chili, you remember.  Only, it’s not the idea that you remember.  You only remember that you had a really awesome idea.

And then you spend the rest of the evening…and maybe even the next day…alternating between trying to summon it back from the ether and mourning its loss.  My precious!  It might have been your greatest idea ever, and it’s all the cat’s fault!

Besides the fact that as a Professional, you can’t afford to lose low-cost (free!), high-potential assets that float your way, and you have no business being caught without a way to pin down a serendipitous idea, do you really want to keep going through this cycle of excitement and grief?

I don’t.  And brother, I did it for so many years.  Ideas wake me from deep slumber, they come to me at 80 mph on the freeway, they join me when I’m walking the baby around the neighborhood — their natural habitat is out there in the world that we inhabit.

So I got myself a butterfly net, this little tape-recorder.  Nothing fancy.  It’s rather old actually.  But it gets the job done.  It glues my ideas down to a magnetic tape until I have time to pull it off and transfer it into my word processor.  And, of course, I’ve planted paper and pens all over my world, in the bathroom, in the car, in my purse, et cetera.

So now I have all my little ideas spinning in my little mason jar, awaiting their turn to be manifested into something great.  Now I just need to write faster.  🙂

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