May 31, 2021•508 words
I was so impressed by an article that I feel compelled to write about it.
First, here is the article: How I Got Out of Idea Debt
I consider myself to be a creator, with all the god-like omniscience that implies. Games, programs and stories. Lately, I've been focusing on puzzles: the Venn Diagram intersection of those three interests.
Over the years, I have outlined more than a dozen puzzle concepts, even to the point where a whole series of interconnected challenges were set up, just waiting for me to flesh out and breathe life into.
Meanwhile (meaning concurrently), I was following the contests on TheGameCrafter.com, with the intention of submitting an entry to some of them. I used to actively submit first drafts to whimsical contests set up on the Board Game Designers Forum. I even won, once.
As if all that were not enough, I was an active participant on the Creative Copy Challenge website. All this creatin' meant that I accumulated a lot of ideas, outlines, spreadsheets and Scrivener projects. Luckily, I had Evernote to stash everything.
As the author of Idea Debt suggests, ideas are meant to be nurtured and set free, not trapped in the cages of our digital repositories. Of course, I didn't think of it like that. I spent a lot of energy categorizing, re-imagining and safeguarding my little ideas. Backups, duplicates, cross-pollination and other abominations grew in the dark.
Suddenly (or more like the frog in the pot of water), I found myself the proud owner of an entangled mess of unfinished business. Vines of neglect ensnarled both good and bad ideas to the extent that I really had no way of separating them.
So, the mess languished, taking up debilitating residence in my head and real estate on my hard drives. Much like my friend Holly's recent post suggested, my ideas were in a bottomless backpack that simply weighed me down, even as I held out hope for reaching that destination: Some Day.
Just last week, I stumbled upon yet another system designed to help us organize stuff. It's called Johnny.Decimal and, frankly, I think it is the holy grail. So, it should come as no surprise that like-minded people would congregate at the forum, where I found the link to Idea Debt.
Within the context of organizing stuff, getting out of idea debt is the equivalent of tossing out junk before organizing what's left. In that spirit, I think I'm going to go all scorched earth on my old ideas. I don't have the bandwidth to retire them properly, as the author of Idea Debt did. For one thing, nobody cares. For another, if I'm honest, those ideas will always live in my head. But, shed of the umbilical vines by which they cling to the digital representations (and are thus constrained), they will weigh far less.
You see, memories are valid snapshots that old ideas can sift through, while the young ideas catch a ride on the synapses.