Ideas are Cheap but Not Worthless

Every day, several new ideas pop into my head. Many of them are incomplete, or frivolous and not very good. Occasionaly – let’s say once or twice a week – something genuinely fun, useful or with potential turns up. However, most ideas go to waste or are merely jotted down in a journal or a text document.

There is an overflow of ideas, to the point where even good ones are sometimes forgotten.

You probably get a lot of ideas too. Maybe it’s a business you want to start, a hobby you might pick up, a book you could write, a party you want to throw or a series of videos you could put on YouTube. Ideas come at us constantly whether we welcome them or not (in fact, they seem to come more easily when we are not looking for them, but that’s another topic).

The point is that ideas on their own have very little value.

It’s only when we act on our ideas, that their value increases. Whether you measure value in potential income, happiness or what-have-you, an idea by itself is fleeting; just a thought or a scribble. Actions make ideas real, give them substance and depth.

Caffeine and sugar are excellent idea stimulants, should you ever run low.
Caffeine and sugar are excellent idea stimulants, should you ever run low.
Since there are only have 24 hours in a day, and most of us have limited resources, the trick is to analyze your ideas, and determine which ones to act on, which to scrap, and which ones might be better off in someone else’s hands. This takes practice, which is sometimes referred to as “failure”.

Sharing ideas is not a bad thing. When you share ideas, you inspire others to get involved, to help you make it real or to develop their own ideas. Creative thinking is contagious, you see.

Too many people guard their ideas for no good reason. Secrecy can be necessary or helpful if you’re in the process of creating something for a competitive market (this is why we have NDAs). However, one reason I’ve heard over and over goes along the lines of: “I keep my idea a secret in case I want to make it real some day, so no one beats me to it.”

If that is your only reason to sit on an idea, you are not doing anyone any favors. Set it and yourself free, and go with an idea you can make real right now, rather than “some day”.

This post was inspired by an idea I had earlier today. This was for a video adventure game made for mobile devices. After writing down my initial thoughts, I read through them and realized this would be “some day” project. Mostly because it is too much work for me to do by myself, and I don’t have a team of developers, artists and writers standing by. So I decided to share the idea instead.

Maybe someone will make it happen, which I would love, whether I am involved in the process or not. I don’t think my idea is revolutionary, but it could be a solid, fun and potentially profitable game – if executed right. Continue reading “Ideas are Cheap but Not Worthless”

Festering Ideas and Fantasy Fun

The following is from my notes to “The Whale Omen” – a fantasy roleplaying adventure based off of an older project – my very first attempt at writing a novel, when I was still but a young and innocent teenager. That novel was in itself inspired by an experimental gaming campaign I co-ran with a friend.

I love how ideas can sit and fester for years, blend with other ideas and influences, and come back out looking all new and shiny again.

The reason it came back, was that I started reading the excellent fantasy series “A Song of Ice and Fire” by George R. R. Martin. That made me think of the novel I had written (which I am not ashamed to say, barely deserves even getting mentioned in the same paragraph as mr. Martin’s epic series), which in turn inspired me to want to rewrite it now, 15+ years later. The only thing is, I’m already not writing one novel.

Still, I could not shake it. So, I turned it into a gaming adventure once more, which may yet inspire even further writing later.

The point I’m making is this: the good ideas can be recycled, transmuted and disguised many times over the years. The trick is to keep working with it, or at least that’s my theory.

The Whale Omen Intro

“The Whale Omen” is fantasy with a nordic medieval flavor. The characters are from a clan at the top of Rockbite Bay in the far and barren north, a village of whalers. Magic exists in this world but is rare and regarded with fear and suspicion. The characters are skilled but normal people with a personal tie to this village; it is their home. Once coastal raiders, the people here now catch whales and do trade instead, and live longer, happier lives for it.

Every spring, whales in great numbers pass by and the whalers go out with nets and harpoons. The villagers use everything from their catch. But this year is different. The whales came late, and when they arrived, they were all dead. Bloated, foul smelling carcasses floated past the village for three days.

Many think it is an omen, and the survival of the village is at stake. No whales means nothing to trade but a few sheep and barrels of salted herring. Not enough.