When an idea pops into my head there’s an excitement that comes with it. A sort of energy that pushes the idea forward. Poets refer to a muse, composers say “the music just comes”. Whatever it is, if you go with it it’s like surfing, you’re riding a wave of idea energy and it’s brilliant.
If I leave the idea I can guarantee the next day that energy will have dissipated. A wave of energy? It’s more like a muddy puddle.
That’s why it’s so important to write an idea down when it comes, develop it when you get it, talk about it while the wave is moving.
Tell the right people. They’ll take your rough dirty diamond of an idea and help you clean, cut and polish it. The wrong people will crush your idea along with your enthusiasm.
If you’re in a workplace you might have to convince several people you’ve got a good idea before you can proceed. You may even have to convince someone it’s his or her idea. If you can proceed it’s likely there are a million and one other things you should be doing.
But I say go with it, make time and make it happen. If it really is a good idea the resources will come along the way. There’s something truly wonderful about seeing an idea become a reality.
A week ago I had the idea to take a little camera, attach it to my bike basket and cycle down and over every bump on Leith Walk. I’d already started reporting the potholes on ‘Fix My Street’ but this new idea had energy. I wanted to do something for Greener Leith and I had an afternoon off. I told a couple of people my plan and set off.
I got to the top of Elm Row, got out my camera and felt like an idiot. What was I doing? There were people everywhere. I had a choice, I could go home or I could get over myself. I decided it really didn’t matter what people thought of me, the idea was more important. That’s when the fun began.
I recorded an intro to camera and then started to fix it to my basket. A man came over and asked what I was doing and offered some wire to help secure the camera. He’d just brought it for some stop frame animation; he was following his new idea too. And so it went on like that, the sun shone and it seemed other people were excited and interested in what I was doing when I just got on and did it.
At 11.30pm that evening I accidently started editing (I was meant to be going to bed) and I surfed the excitement of the idea wave until 3am. I wanted to raise awareness of the need to make cycling safer but knew if I made a serious film about potholes then only people interested in cycling or potholes would watch it.
Instead I made the film into an Indiana Jones style adventure movie. I tweeted the film at 3.15am and went off to bed. By lunchtime the next day I had loads of positive comments on twitter, many from non cyclist, a comments about the film’s grammar, a wine chosen in honour of the film (and a song about holes in the road) and a request from the Edinburgh Evening News to put it into the paper. I wasn’t expecting anyone to have even seen it. It just goes to show ideas have an energy of their own.