Everyone gets ideas, even if we don’t always carry them through. One barrier to turning an idea into a reality is the question we’ve all asked ourselves at least once: “I like my idea, but is it actually good enough?”
Good enough for someone else? Good enough to get noticed? “Good enough” can mean a lot of different things. What it all comes down to is, we’re always going to be a little hesitant about our own ideas. We want them to appeal to a potential audience. We want to make a difference. Say something important. Promote some kind of change through our “brain crack” (not my terminology, I can’t take credit for that).
So. How do you know if your idea can do any of that?
Here are a few important questions to ask yourself.
Could You Explain It in Detail to Someone Else?
The best ideas are thought out and detailed. You could have a whole plan, an entire outline for a book, for example, an entire idea unfolded out on a page. The real test is to approach someone else and translate it.
If you’ve done enough planning, if you know your idea in its full form—even if you don’t yet know how exactly you want to implement it—for example, whether you want it to be a full-length book, short story, T.V. series or short film script—if you can explain it well enough so someone else can understand it, your idea is already more tangible than you probably realize, and maturing quickly, still, inside your head.
Are You Willing to Give It Your All?
Sometimes ideas are more demanding than we’re willing to admit. Especially writing your first book, it’s not likely (or practical) you’ll feel the urge to drop everything, quit your day job and give yourself over completely to cranking out the prose.
But if you had to, would you?
There’s something gratifying about knowing you have enough faith in your idea to stop your life for the sake of its growth, if that was what you needed to do. If you’re not that into it, if you like it but don’t feel obliged to give it any attention, maybe your idea isn’t good enough. Not that the idea itself isn’t good, but it’s not good for your current lifestyle, not the right place, not the right time. That’s okay, too. Maybe, over time, it will be. Maybe it won’t. If you’re not willing to nurture it, it’s probably not going to work.
Which, of course, brings us to our third point.
How Excited Are You?
You’re not going to stick with something you don’t connect with for very long. It’s kind of like that full time job you took just to be able to pay for basic living expenses. You don’t really like it, so you know (or hope) you won’t be stuck with it forever.
Good ideas—ideas that influence, that resonate—are long-term commitments. Those of you who have written full-length novels, even those who are still trying to cross that goal off the master bucket list, know how time-consuming it can be—and that’s after an idea has formed and has had time to come together. If you’re excited about it, if you fear you’ll scare all your friends away by talking about it too much, you’re going to be successful.
Even if you never finish it out—it was an idea that ignited your passion for something. That feeling cannot be replaced.
Truthfully, if you have an idea, you’ve thought it through and you’re excited about it, that’s more than good enough. If you put all your faith and effort into it, and it doesn’t work out, that’s okay. We learn from every failed attempt we make.
Never forget, you really are your worst critic. The one idea you almost let die but don’t could become your biggest success story—literally.
Image courtesy of Novelty Revisions.