Ideas Are Fleeting · 7 May 2022

I am sure I have written about it before, but I must say again that ideas are fleeting.

No matter what kind of creative person you are, ideas are fleeting. They are like fast butterflies. You need to have the net or the camera ready to capture them before they flit away at the speed of sound. Or maybe the speed of light. At any rate, ideas are certainly fleeting.

Many creative people carry notebooks or sketchbooks with them wherever they go. It is smart. Capture those ideas before they flit away. Some people even keep those notebooks near their beds so that they can jot down those ideas that come while they are sleeping or somewhere between sleeping and waking. I used to do that. But writing in the dark while half asleep does not often produce legible ideas. Sometimes it might spark a recollection, but usually, the note is just a scribble on a page.

I have ideas that I have captured on my phone and in notebooks and in an idea document on my computer and even in my document that holds my blogs. Some of those ideas have even turned into blog posts and books. Some just lie dormant. Some should be thrown onto the slag heap and thrown away. But that is the nature of ideas. Some are good ideas. Some are not.

Which is funny to think about. Those not so great ideas must be like moths. They are a bit slower and easier to catch than those speedy butterflies of the previous analogy. But we do not know that the bad ideas are just moths drawn to our creative flame. They look pretty, but when we catch them, we realize that they are not the great ideas we thought they were. But we cannot just let them go. We just put them in a jar and pin them to a board to show off how many of those ideas we have collected. And we might even believe they will turn into butterflies someday.

(Have you ever noticed how some people can take analogies too far? I have. It is a bit annoying. You might have a good one to start with, but then you go on and on and on until it is nothing like you envisioned. Ah well.)

But back to fleeting ideas.

I do believe that every idea has potential. Which is why I hate the thought of losing ideas. Unfortunately, I know that I lose ideas all the time. Ideas come and ideas go. And ideas get caught and used. Or ideas get caught and end up never being used. None of that really matters. What matters is that we take the time to catch our ideas and assess them. Then, we can either develop those ideas or save them for later or throw them away. But if ideas are like quick butterflies, we need to catch them before they flit away.

Well, it has been a long time since I have caught butterflies. Either with a net or with a camera. But I have caught lots of ideas. And I have lost a lot of ideas. But I do not fret over the lost ideas. Although sometimes I might dwell on one that I lost. But in the end, we need to work with what we have. And for those creative types, that means we just need to work with the ideas that we actually have and not worry about the ones that got away. (Which is quite another story.)

I am sure I will catch glimpses of great ideas and actually catch some bad ones in the future. And I will surely remember that when it comes down to it, ideas are fleeting.

© 2022 Michael T. Miyoshi

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