The Limitless Potential of an Idea, a guest post by Refe Tuma

What is the shelf life of an idea? How long can it survive outside its final form before it loses its spark and fades away?

For the best ideas, the ones that really clickthe answer might be longer than you think—if you write it down.

The Idea Journal

I always dreamed of telling stories. At first, I assumed I’d be an illustrator like my dad. Then I read my first Redwall book and figured I’d wind up an author like my first literary hero, the late Brian Jacques. In my teens, I knew beyond a shadow of doubt I’d direct movies destined for the Criterion Collection.

I’m not sure when I started keeping an idea journal. It was a hardcover notebook with faux leather binding and simple, lined pages. I used it to collect potential characters or plot elements, snippets of conversations, and interesting conflicts I witness at school or in my own relationships. Some entries were as simple as the image of a friend walking ahead of me in the forest preserved behind our houses as the sun set over the trees. Others were outlines for books or screenplays.