Getting Ideas and How to Apply Them
You’ve got a good idea. Now how do you apply that idea successfully? Good ideas come from a variety of places. Are you asking questions when you meet with colleagues or friends? Write down any little idea that sparks your interest. Don’t count on remembering those little sparks of inspiration. They can disappear like vapor! (watch short videos below on Getting Ideas!)
Reading also sparks ideas. I was fortunate to hear Hal David speak (of the multi-award winning writer team Bacharach and David) and he said for every lyric he wrote, he read 2,000 words. Apparently it paid off with hit after hit!
After you do have a group of ideas, how do you apply them? There are three ways I’ll discuss here. First, pick your best ideas. Second is to give the idea time and space to develop. Third is to commit to rewriting, regrouping or even redoing.
1. Pick Your Best Ideas
When you pick your best ideas, you also pick those which are not your best ideas. This is an important step and don’t skip it. If you are a creative soul, ideas probably come quickly and at random moments. Deciding what not to do is just as important as what to do. If not, your life could be filled with multiple rabbit trails chasing new projects.
Go back to the questions of why, what and how that you asked when completing projects. (see: Successfully Finish Your Project) You may want to involve your team if this is a business project. You should also ask where you could best use this idea. If it is not a good idea for you, share it with someone else that it may benefit. After you pick the very best ideas that fit with your mission and purpose, then move on to the next step.
2. Give Your Ideas Time and Space
Give the idea enough time and space to take form and mature. It’s amazing what happens when you come back to a project after setting it aside, even for a week. There’s more clarity with a specific sense of direction.
In my book Stuck is Not a Four Letter Word, I interviewed Mark Malbon, the former CFO of Roland U.S.A. He uses the word percolate when facing a major decision. When anything percolates, it penetrates and saturates the entire substance. The concept of percolating is ideal when embarking on a new idea or project. As the idea boils and cooks, the best and most important parts float to the top to begin first.
3. Rewrite, Regroup and Redo
Anyone who has written a song, lyric or even a book or article is familiar with rewriting. The first draft is usually the easiest with multiple ideas flowing at the same time. It’s fun, it’s fresh and it’s inspiring. However, that is just the beginning.
Writing is rewriting and it is often grueling work. You have to be willing to go back multiple times and make changes to make your idea better. Some people give up at this stage, especially if they haven’t really evaluated the worth of the project. (see step one!)
A personal example is the single song I’m putting out this year. I actually started writing lyrics for Slow Pitch Superstar in 2014. It’s been three years of rewriting , getting back to the song every once in awhile. The lyrics are about a softball culture I’m not totally familiar with. Still, I knew it was a great idea, even though almost giving up on it a number of times! I had to be willing to change and revise the lyric to make the story relevant to actual softball players. I have no idea how the song will do, but it’s finally ready and will even pass my softball playing son’s approval.
Pick your best ideas, give them time to percolate, then rewrite. It’s a formula that really works! I know it will work for you!
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DEBORAH JOHNSON: Helping others Get Unstuck with Healthy Mental Code. Speaking, Concerts, In-Depth Workshops. Most recent book Bad Code: Overcoming Bad Mental Code That Sabotages Your Life! You can reach Deborah the following ways:Twitter:@DJWorksMusic • YouTube ; Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/deborah.johnson; Websites: https://GoalsForYourLife.com; https://DJWorksMusic.com