The care and keeping of ideas, part two

Have you been letting your idea simmer? Ready to really dig into it now? Good, ’cause that’s what we’re doing today!

Once your time is up for the simmering state, it’s time to move on to something else. Even if you’re still not clear on all of the details of the idea, you need to start working with it, because once you actually start playing with the idea as a whole, the details will (eventually) emerge.

To start getting to those details, set a timer (yes, again!). On your phone or of the kitchen sort, it doesn’t matter. Five to ten minutes is good. And for those five to ten minutes, write about the idea. Try not to stop, even if it means you just write gibberish for a few seconds. Write about where the idea came from, what you want to do with it, how you feel when you think about it. Write about what it will mean to people who experience the idea once you finish it, if that’s applicable. Write about how you’re going to work on it. Write whatever tickles your fancy, as long as it’s related to this idea.

And then, when the timer goes off, read these notes. Are there any recurring phrases that jump out at you? Any feelings – whether that’s what you feel when you think about the idea, or what caused the idea, or what people will experience because of this idea – that come up over and over again?

Type up your freewriting (minus any gibberish that you had to write to keep going). Put it into a text cloud generator, and see what words show up the biggest. Create a Venn diagram – what concepts or movements or whatever does your idea exist at the intersection of? Create some sketchnotes on what you’ve found, or on the notes you came up with while you were simmering. Playing with the idea like this helps to make it a more tactile experience, and in turn will solidify it in your mind.

Are you surprised how things turned out? Or was it pretty much what you expected? Sometimes, the additional playing with the idea isn’t even necessary (though it is fun!), and all you have to do is actually start working on the idea for it to coalesce.

If you loved this post or found it super useful, please share it with your friends! After all, that’s how good ideas spread, right?

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