You might be tempted to think that some ideas are just bad. Not true. Ideas may have just been brought to life prematurely. Before I explain, here are two rules I follow as a writer:

  1. Keep all ideas. Keep them on file. Keep them on speed dial. Often new ideas will arise and you’ll get excited about them. But then when they hit the paper, they stare blankly at you and you don’t know what to do with them. I have a lot of old word documents with play titles with nothing but blank pages. But keep them!
  2. Connect new ideas with old ideas. New ideas emerge.

I was listening to the radio this morning in the car and a song came on. The phrase in the chorus struck me, and as I usually do, I fixated on that phrase and wondered what it would look like if I wrote a play or something based on that idea. I thought it worth exploring.

When I got home, I flipped on the laptop to get down a few thoughts when the car phrase reminded me of something I had started writing many years ago. As I started wading back through old files to find it, I came across another abandoned idea which suddenly intrigued me. I started re-chasing that one and before I knew it, I was working on two old pieces which will become two new pieces for a show I’m writing.

It’s fun when ideas compound on each other. So another axiom I live my writing life by: there are no bad ideas. There are ideas which haven’t come of age. There are ideas which haven’t yet developed. There are ideas which lack the crucial link which will take them in their eventual direction.

But there are no bad ideas. Keep them moving in your mind. One day they will all make sense. Or at least some of them will. I may not outlive the usefulness of some of my ideas.

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