Thoughts on Having Too Many Ideas for My Own Good

Sometimes, I have too many ideas for my own good. You see, I’ll find myself walking around my apartment, and an idea for a blog post will jump to mind. I’ll start writing it in my head, in a daydream-like state while I put my water on to boil and put away the dishes in the kitchen. Later that day, another idea for a post will come to mind, and the cycle will repeat. But at the end of the day, how many blog posts do I really have on paper? Oftentimes, not a single one.

Ideas swirl around me like air it seems. I can pluck one down, then another, until a bowl is filled to the brim with them. But it seems that I never quite seem to follow-through on them. I let them steep there in the air, as I consider one and another, until all the flavor is drained from them all and I can’t quite remember what they were about in the first place.

And it’s not just blog posts. With my newfound journey into freelancing, I’ve found this to be true, as well. I can fill page after page with story ideas and magazines to write for and ways to make contacts. But my follow-through on just one of those ideas is sorely lacking.

I am trying to be more disciplined about this. Today, I grabbed a three-ring binder and three sheets of paper. I started a writing binder, where I can collect all my thoughts and then be able to draw from them, one by one. One page is filled with all my stream-of-consciousness ideas for this blog, another page is for all my ideas for freelancing. The other page, which sits on top of them both, is my action page. I pick the top two or three ideas for both categories and place them here, as a way to prioritize my efforts—and actually get things done. Before I can move on to the other ideas hidden on the pages behind it, I must mark off these first few.

It’s a simple idea really, but one that has been helpful in grounding me, keeping me from jumping back and forth, here and there, and then feeling like I never really got anything done at all.

So, here I start, taking baby steps—one page at a time, it would seem—toward learning the fine art of follow-through and watching my ideas become reality.

Do you struggle with following through on your ideas? If you have any tips or suggestions, please feel free to share them in the comments!

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  1. I'm the same way! I've started using evernote ( to organize everything I have going on in my brain. I have found that if I have one central location for everything and I am able to make it concrete by writing it down or saving it on the computer, making lists and start setting concrete goals then I do much better. Once things are "on paper" and you start working through them, I think you are much better able to see what ideas are actually worth pursing and what ideas might be worth putting on the back-burner and saving for later.

    But I'm definitely not one to be giving a ton of advice on this because I am not the most organized person by any means!

  2. Yes! I love the idea of keeping a notebook with an action page in the front! I often come up with ideas during different parts of my day and then forget the meat of them later. Sometimes I find that if I write plans in my blog I then become accountable for them.

  3. I definitely struggle with following through on my ideas. I'm often the kind of person who will start to do something and drop it when I get a NEW idea. I think your system is actually a great idea! I've been trying to really think through my blog stuff lately, because I have a history of just throwing things against the wall and seeing what sticks. That's not always the best thing to do though.

    PS: I like your design changes!

  4. I have the same issue. Often times, my ideas keep me awake at night. I have lists upon lists of ideas, and I really need to start putting some effort into at least some of them. I'm actually gearing up for a big spring goal deadline, and hope to have some of my ideas put in action by then.

  5. This happens more often than not. I carry a notebook in my purse and sometimes think my iphone is glued to my hand. However, I still manage to forget to write/type ideas down and execute them. Epic failure.

    As far as being productive...I work the best and most efficient when I am using a list.

  6. Wow great topic! I just recently started keeping a new 'Note' in my phone called Blog Topics. It's already helped me be productive or trigger new ideas.

  7. Hahah, this is so me. And my ideas always come when I'm in the car, making it impossible to write them down. By the time I get home, I've already forgotten them :(

  8. Yes, I can say I'm guilty of that as well. I do try to write out my ideas for photography and such, but for stories I want to write I usually don't. I've found that if I do, when I go back to write it later I can't make it work. So if I come up with a really awesome line of dialogue, I'll write that out, but I don't place it in context, even though I have it in my head, until I sit down to truly act and write the story. Anyway, love your idea and I really hope it works for you!

  9. @ Steph - I used to use Evernote, but I find that I always come up with ideas when I'm not at the computer.

    @ Rachel - Thanks! This blog is always a work-in-progress :)

    @ Kristin - So true. I do sometimes find that something that sounded good earlier today, just doesn't seem to make sense anymore or I've lost the "rhythm" of it. Weird how that happens!

    @ Everyone else - So glad I'm not alone in this :) My best friend and I used to say that we wished we could have a post-it note feature in our mind to record all our ideas, whenever and wherever we were. Still hasn't happened yet, but if it doesn't, I'll let y'all know :) Here's to productivity and follow-through...

  10. I also totally just thought of something. If you liked evernote and you have a smartphone or an ipod/ipad, it has an app so you can add things to it wherever you are.

    I think the notebook system is totally great, but I just thought that if that was the only reason you stopped using it, it might be helpful!

  11. @ Steph - Thanks for the head's up about the app; I appreciate that! I'll give it a try and see how it goes.

  12. It's so great to read that so many of you are the same way...because so am I! Ha-ha!!


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