“I have ideas. They appear at random and I try to write them down before I forget.”

I have ideas. They appear at random and I try to write them down before I forget.

I like to think the difference between an idea and a thought is that an idea is often followed by a refreshing sense of relief. It always seems like the most exhilarating ideas are the hardest to pen down. Those I try to draw.

Ideas require action and action for me involves creativity and exploration. My creativity manifests itself in technology and, more specifically, the Web. Is it a coincidence that I’m a website designer and front-end developer? Nature or nurture? I don’t mind whether it was fate, fortune or cause and effect, I like making things on the Web. I am glad, however, that my dreams find fruition elsewhere. I don’t think I’d like to dream in JavaScript.

Some ideas turn into projects (if their written form still makes sense later on). I’ve found absolutely no correlation between the size of the idea and the length of the proceeding project. In fact, nothing about the idea indicates success or failure. How then do you decide when it’s time to put an idea to rest? When is enough, enough?

Those that know me will have seen me close two personal projects this month. Projects that started life as seemingly insignificant ideas. They didn’t stop growing. After several years they even got pretty big. But as quickly as the grew, they started to fizzle out. That first inspirational “light bulb moment” had long ago dimmed and excitement was nowhere to be found. The realisation that these projects had run their course was a dark moment. For a long time I tried to convince myself that they’d be OK, that my time and effort had not been in vain, that both of these ideas had not lead to failure. Yet for all my despair there was no resolution. I wasn’t particularly happy, but I was content with a “lesson learned”. Next time I’d be more cautious. My next project would be measured and regularly assessed to avoid wasted time.

And then I had another idea.

I turned the light back on.

I looked back and followed the ideas backwards from end to beginning. I saw every twist and turn and along the way every branch of new visions and avenues of new exploration.

What I realised is that ideas begin and end as nothing but in the middle there is an explosion of opportunity to enrich your imagination.

That is where new ideas are born.