Record your ideas. Put them on paper. Type them into electronic files. Scribe them onto clay tablets. Encode them in laser light. Break the myth of perfection and get on with the work of making them breathe. Give them the chance to survive in the outside world. If you don’t, one of two things will happen. You’ll lose them to the aether like a dream of the morning dew, or they will torment you by invading every thought and disrupting your sleep. Do both yourself and your ideas the favor of letting them out the first time they hit your mind.
Your ideas will suck. Some will need to be shredded by whirling blades, or crushed into pulp, or set alight to burn merrily and be heard no more. Expect this. Embrace this. Not every idea survives in this Darwinian thought space. Ideas rarely spring fully formed as Athena from Zeus’s head. When they do, you'll find the flaws soon enough.
Some ideas will have a spark, a fleeting glimpse of utility, a dash of cleverness, a glimmer of divinity. Find these. Nurture them. Give them air and let them grow. You may need to wait a bit to let them mature, but don’t let them grow stale or crowd them out of your thoughts.
Keep striving to move forward every day, every hour, every breath. Know that the path you walk has slain the dreams of lesser people. Tread carefully, but always keep walking. Rest when needed. Drink often. Eat. You can switch paths and tie your fate to a different way, but never permit yourself to turn around and walk away. Walk through, and know that there will be more paths after this one. Always more.
Enjoy the journey, even the hard parts. Fill pages with ranting, for even your darkest writing hides diamonds. These diamonds will make years of teeth-gnashing worth it, doubly perfect because they were forged in the crushing fires of doubt and frustration. Know that you will smile again when the fear and darkness have gone.
REMEMBER THE FIRST STEP. WRITE. WRITE IT ALL. WRITE IT NOW.
Start your journey. Focus on the next step, and let the path take care of itself. Produce. Give of yourself. Spend your time on something that matters to you, and you may find that it matters to others. Find the habits that work, and harvest the output one page at a time.
In the words of Ze Frank's still-all-too-relevant video Invocation for Beginnings:
There's no need to sharpen my pencils any more.
My pencils are sharp enough.
Even the dull ones will make a mark.
Warts and all, let's start this shit up.
Write. Here. Now.
(This post was at least partially inspired by the G+ Community named Just Write The F#@$ing Thing, recently created by John Adamus, who runs The Writer Next Door. Thanks, John!)
(Written on the train home, simply because I had an idea in my head.)