I’m not the only one who holds on to ideas I think are brilliant, waiting for the right moment or place to do something with them.

I fear letting them go from the safety of my mind, thinking there’s always a better way to bring the idea to life, there’s going to be a better time, that someone else could do it better, or that someone else already did something with this idea. (Or any such variations.)

But to hold onto ideas–good ones, useful ones, brilliant ones–is counterproductive at best.

Our minds grow not by holding on to ideas, but in generating them, playing with them, and bringing them out into the world through purposeful action.

By harboring ideas for their own sake, we reserve part of our minds to remembering those ideas–which means part of our minds is not put to use. As we keep ideas on hold, the fire and enthusiasm behind them dies over time. No ultimate method by which to gauge the best time or place to release brain-children exists. And as long as ideas stay in our heads, they do no good to anyone, no matter the brilliance and usefulness the idea represents.

This applies to most things in life, but especially to writing, where we hold back on embarking on or completing certain projects. Writing out the idea–actually doing something outside of yourself with the idea burning inside of you–might feel like stripping the idea of its brilliance, or letting it go before it’s ready.

Both cases may be true, but both are still far better than the alternative–that is, keeping the thoughts to yourself, not doing anything about them, and never knowing whether they could have changed something in the world for somebody.

No, I do not advocate pushing half-baked ideas onto the world, nor do I encourage thoughtlessness in bringing ideas into being.

I simply ask that you do not hold onto ideas for their own sake, but that you use them and let them become something greater than a vague concept in the back of your mind.

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