Making Ideas Real

Making Ideas Real

CIMG4271I never can tell when an idea is going to occur to me. One time it’s while I’m driving to work. The next, while I am mowing the lawn. But I can almost guarantee it will happen when I least expect it.

So I just started expecting it all the time and carrying a notebook along with me. Now it’s a Moleskine. I started with one of those 6 for a dollar cardboard flip notebook. But an idea written down in that notebook was responsible for the first thousand dollar month I had online. And it happened within a month after I started carrying the thing.

I am not quite sure how this works, but as soon as I start spending more attention to writing random ideas down, the more things happen. Almost if the act of writing them down gave them the initial spark to continue into reality. Most of the time, I never even look back at the ideas I have written down. Just getting them down on paper and out of the way was enough.

I am a very heavy daydreamer, but I learned to train it. As soon as I catch myself going into my head, I force myself to think of something useful. It started as a kid. I refused to accept the reality of sitting through church services, meetings and classes that bored me to tears. And I could escape, in my head. Then it was Transformer gocarts I was building in my head. Now, it’s articles and websites. Priorities change.


But I realized that I would follow the same thought pattern over and over until I had written something down. I had step one of a plan. Getting to step two was a bitch, because step one kept coming back into my head messing with my flow. And I would investigate step one from every angle, never even thinking of moving forward.

So when step one was complete, I started writing it down. The same with step two. And all the steps right up to the end.

Maybe I trick the ideas into thinking they are getting attention by writing them down. Maybe the act of writing is some magical spell. Who knows? But it’s not until they shut the hell up that I can get on to more complex ideas. And it’s not until I got to a step that required action that I started moving.

Stephan Miller

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Kansas City Software Engineer and Author

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