What to Do with Your Journal of Ideas
If you're like most creative people, you have a notebook full of ideas, premises, half jokes, dialogue snippets, and random thoughts.
Currently, I have 54 Iphone audio files, 35 journals, and countless scraps of paper full of AMAZING IDEAS!!! For most of my life, in the middle of a party, dinner, and even sex, I would write down or record an idea with the exuberance that comes from a Eureka moment. I've gone around with a smugness knowing that I have documentation for a brilliant stand-up chunk, an amazing new speech, an Uber funny screenplay, and the first chapter of an amazing novel. But, have I read them or listened to them? No.
So, since it's the holiday season, I decided to get out my old journals, dig out my audio files and go over my ideas. It was sad listening to the endless enthusiasm of myself recording an idea that, in the light of day, was either vague, hack, stupid, nonsensical. At best, some had merit, but would take weeks and sometimes years to develop, write, shape, rewrite, and then, what? Rent a theater and produce a one-person show? Spend five years shopping around a screenplay? Another book? I began to hate ideas.
That's when I realized that it's not ideas that are worth while - it's what one does with them. Everyone who walks into my stand-up workshop has journals filled with funny ideas, only to be disappointed to find out that they all need "work." Everyone has ideas, but like eggs, you've got to sit on them, hatch them, feed them, and then endure the disappointment of spending your time on something that will, most likely, never get off the ground.
Ideas can be time robbers, and committing to the wrong idea is tantamount to saying "I do" to the wrong person. In my 30's I committed to a screenplay idea that took me two years to write, got me ten meetings, and got me lunch with an agent half my age asking me over a plate of seared scallops, "What else do you got?" Well, more ideas.
So now, I'm going to break up with my files of ideas. And as I meet new ideas, I'm going to let them go with the ease of a 20 year old frat boy leaving a one-night stand. Hello idea, goodbye idea. You are not going to move into my Iphone recorder on first visit. I'll drop you off at a Facebook status entry, or maybe drop you into a line at my next gig. And if you keep coming back, well, let's talk then.
If you have a journal full of funny ideas, come join Judy at a free stand-up workshop and see which ones will fly.
Sunday, Noon to 2pm in Hollywood. Space VERY limited. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to register.
Judy Carter blogs on comedy, storytelling and public speaking techniques, using personal stories and her adventures as a stand-up comic turned motivational public speaker. Her weekly blogs are read by fans of her books, “The Comedy Bible” (Simon and Schuster) and “The Message of You” (St. Martin’s Press), which include comics, speakers, and entrepreneurs. She is also known for teaching the value of humor and storytelling to businesses as a leadership and stress reduction tool.