4 Effective Fundamentals for Turning Your Idea or Moment of Inspiration into Reality

by Henrik Edberg


Image by notsogoodphotography (license).

.“Whatever you do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius and power and magic in it.”
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

“If one advances confidently in the direction of one’s dreams, and endeavors to live the life which one has imagined, one will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.”
Henry David Thoreau

Does this sound familiar?

You are sitting on the bus or you are standing in shower. Suddenly a great or very useful idea plops into your head. Or you have a moment of inspiration on your daily walk to work or school.

You are pleased with yourself and excited about the idea.

But then the days go by. A month goes by.

And nothing has happened with your idea or moment of inspiration. Life just continues as usual.

I guess we have all been there. It can be painful. It can feel frustrating.

So what can you do to make it a whole lot more likely that you will turn your idea or moment of inspiration into something real?

Here’s what works for me.

Write it down.

First, awesome ideas often get lost because they tend to not stay in your mind for long. Something else comes along and after just a few minutes that great thought may be floating away on the wind.

So you need to capture it before that. You need to write it down.

Choose a way to capture your ideas. I use my cell phone. You can use that or a pad of paper and a pen. Or something else. But has to be something you can use quickly after your idea has popped into your head, so a small and portable object that you carry around with you every day works the best.

Keep it simple.

It can be inspiring to build on your idea and make it bigger, grander. You may for example want to make your e-book into a big education package with lots of bells and whistles.

Or make your idea of starting to exercise into this big production with not only running a couple of days per week, but also soccer and aerobics so that almost all your days contain quite a bit of working out.

This feels good and like a huge leap forward. But the hugeness of it all can become a big problem when are about to take action on all of this.

You start to feel paralyzed and overwhelmed because doing all of this isn’t the same thing as dreaming about doing all of it.

To be able to get started and get some practical results instead of just big dreams a month from now make it simple.

Go out running for 20 minutes once a week for the first few weeks.

Just write an e-book and get that done. Don’t worry about creating a lot of extras.

Get the ball rolling today.

Ideas turn into plans for someday because we don’t take action and make them into a little piece of our reality today.

So instead of keeping on dreaming for the rest of the day take one small action to get the ball rolling and make your thought into something real.

Go the local gym after work and sign up for a one month membership or go out and buy a pair of running shoes.

Create a mindmap of the ideas you want incorporate into your e-book on a big piece of paper or start writing on the introduction chapter of the book where you talk about why you wanted to write this book and how it will help the reader.

Go for good enough.

After you have gotten ball rolling, after you have continued to take action and you are coming close to getting it done – if it is something that can be done, like a book, a song, a project of some kind – remember this: go for good enough.

It is very easy to get stuck in trying to polish your creation until it is just perfect. This will in reality however seldom lead to a perfect final result but simply that you don’t ever get it done.

Don’t trap yourself that way. Yes, it can be scary to let go of what you have created. To tell yourself that it is done – for now at least, maybe you’ll come back to it later on in the future – and to release it into the world and have other see it and react to it.

But it also feels so good to be done, to have something you have created out here. And it is a sort of relief to be able to fully move on to the next thing.

So go for good enough.

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{ 42 comments }

Clint Cora June 15, 2011 at 7:01 pm

I lost so many good ideas because I didn’t have anything to record it on. Then when ideas are still there, it’s no use unless one schedules the steps into a calendar. Otherwise, like many things, they will never get done.

Henrik Edberg June 17, 2011 at 2:47 pm

Same here, I have lost many good ideas and spent many days not taking action because I didn’t use something to capture thoughts with and a to-do list.

Courtney Sperlazza June 15, 2011 at 7:24 pm

Something that works for me – start ANYWHERE. Not necessarily at the beginning. Just do something that starts to bring your idea to fruition, and you can work in either direction from there.

This works especially well for writing, but it applies to other things as well. It’s motivating to see a piece of your idea coming alive. Even if it’s not the logical first step.

Henrik Edberg June 17, 2011 at 2:48 pm

Great tip! As you say, just do something and get started.

Andy June 15, 2011 at 7:37 pm

perfectionism must be the #1 killer only second to “not starting”. Definitely agree than getting something out is better than having nothing at all. Especially if you are just starting anything.

Henrik Edberg June 17, 2011 at 2:49 pm

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the topic, Andy! :)

Taz @ Climb the Rainbow June 15, 2011 at 8:54 pm

I need to remember this. I usually have ideas for projects that I want to complete, but when I think about them, they seem too overwhelming so I procrastinate. Breaking them down into achievable chunks and not burdening myself with the impossibility of perfection is great advice. Thanks.

Henrik Edberg June 17, 2011 at 2:49 pm

Happy to be of help! :)

Geraldine June 15, 2011 at 11:21 pm

Henrik, are you reading my mind? I am just blown away how many times I stop by here and you’ve written a post about what is uppermost in my thoughts for that day. And I have put many of these excellent suggestions to work already. I have wanted to write a novel FOREVER but it’s never happened. Great idea, time passes….you got it. But this week, well I started small, only a few pages a day but EVERY day, it’s a commitment I’ve made to myself. And it’s working. And I am enjoying the process.

thank you, thank you….again and again. what a wonderful blog you have. I’m so glad I found my way here.

Geraldine

http://www.takeahappybreak.com

Henrik Edberg June 17, 2011 at 2:50 pm

Haha, nope, but that’s a cool coincidence. :) That sounds awesome, best of luck with your novel!

Guru Eduardo June 15, 2011 at 11:25 pm

This is good stuff!

My contribution….’go question storming’ This is where you write down every conceivable question you have about your project. When you’ve drained your brain then pick out the best question. Write it on an index card and go mind wandering. Just keep thinking about all of the possibilities to your question and record on the back of the card. Later you can evaluate for the best answers and ideas.

I wrote my book …How To Seduce Life..using this simple method and it works wonders.

Henrik Edberg June 17, 2011 at 2:51 pm

That’s a really nice tip, thank you for adding it.

Justin | Mazzastick June 16, 2011 at 1:51 am

Hi Henrik,
I also use the notepad feature on my iphone to write down ideas and inspirations. I also keep a real notepad on my desk to do the same.

If we don’t grab hold of that idea and run with it nothing will happen.

Henrik Edberg June 17, 2011 at 2:53 pm

Yup, the cellphone is what works best for me – and I guess for a lot of other people – since I pretty much always have it close by. But I use pen and paper sometimes too when I am at home.

Al Pittampalli June 16, 2011 at 4:49 am

Tony Robbins has a great tip: never leave the sight of a goal without taking some sort of action towards its attainment. Great list, Henrik…i really enjoyed it.

Henrik Edberg June 17, 2011 at 2:54 pm

Thank you very much, Al. And that is a really useful tip.

Andrea June 16, 2011 at 8:00 am

Thank you for this inspiring article. It is so true. So many of us have great ideas but we try to make them perfect from day one. We want to make them perfect before starting, and there will never be big enough or perfect enough to do them. We need to do it step by step, start small and then grow it. Some of the largest businesses started small from the garage. As of getting overwhelmed I am finding more and more how important planning every day is. How do you eat an elephant? A bit at a time.
Thank you for reminding me.

Henrik Edberg June 17, 2011 at 2:55 pm

Thank you for sharing your experiences and for the kind words! Glad you found the article helpful.

Ken Wert June 16, 2011 at 9:42 am

Awesome tips, Henrik! I HAVE to write ideas down, or they are gone in a frustrating flash! To help, I keep a small notepad in my car to jot down semi-legible ideas for posts at traffic lights as they come to me. I also use a folded sheet of paper for a bookmark so I can jot down ideas as I read.

Another idea for turning inspiration into reality is to share your inspiration with encouraging people in your life who will prod you forward and wait to share it with the critics in the family or circle of friends until it is more developed.

There’s nothing like a wet blanket to stop a great idea dead in its tracks!

Henrik Edberg June 17, 2011 at 2:57 pm

Sounds good, just be careful in traffic. :)

And thank you for adding that idea, I totally agree. Wet blankets can be really discouraging.

Darius June 16, 2011 at 10:30 am

I noticed that there is much more ideas floating around in my head when I’m in a good mood. When you feel bad, your creativity decides to take a nap.

Also, when idea pops out, that doesn’t mean that is will be successful, but it is a good sign to me that creativity is turned on and, as you said, writing it down will maybe give me in future some other prospective to current challenge.
Some of my personal successes came when i decided to give a chance to some marginal ideas in my mind.

Henrik Edberg June 17, 2011 at 2:58 pm

Thank you for sharing your ideas about this process, Darius. I have also found that when I am negative, then I am not a very creative person at all.

jonathanfigaro June 16, 2011 at 2:07 pm

By keeping it simple and doing, We accomplish more. Those who think too much rather than act, stress themselves the BUCK out! It’s best to keep it simple. Know what you want, do what you know you have to do to get it and enjoy the moment. Can’t get any more simplistic than that!

Henrik Edberg June 17, 2011 at 2:59 pm

Good and simple thoughts, Jonathan! :)

marc van der Linden June 16, 2011 at 11:18 pm

It is amazing how easy I can write down ideas after running. While running and meditating, new ideas pop up in my mind and it is like you explain in your post: it is important to write them down and not to be perfect. However, sometimes when I write a post, I keep it for one more day and suddenly refreshing inspiration improves the first idea. So step by step, the fruit from the idea ripens until it is good enough.

Henrik Edberg June 17, 2011 at 3:00 pm

Yeah, I do that too from time to time. It tends to make a post better so I should probably try it a bit more often.

Geraldine June 17, 2011 at 10:00 am

Henrik, I reallyyyyy like your site!! This post “spoke out” to me…Especially, this part: “But then the days go by. A month goes by.” It sounds like me!! I’ve had this idea to start my own blog for YEARS. I know what I want it to be about (at first the hesitation was due to trying to figure this out). My issue is, I want my own domain name and I want to be able to advertise. Profit is not the only or main reason for that I want to blog. However, I think that having a blog free of ads and then switching it up can be tough (if I choose something like wordpress.com, where adding ads is not allowed).

Maybe I’m making this too long…but could you please help me out? I cannot afford to go on wordpress.org and pay to host my own site in order to be able to post what I want and add advertisements…Should I go with blogger? I can pay $10 for a domain name and post ads.

Or do you have any other suggestions? I’m sick of having an idea, of wanting to write, and procrastinating…just waiting for the right moment (I could be waiting forever lol!!)

Thanks ahead of time.

Henrik Edberg June 17, 2011 at 3:04 pm

Thank you very much!

I would suggest that you get a domain name for 10 dollars and then find some cheap but reliable hosting where you can install a Wordpress blog.

Nowadays, it seems pretty common that hosting companies have a very simple method of installing Wordpress blogs. I created one in just a few minutes at my Swedish hosting company a month ago.

Darius June 17, 2011 at 3:14 pm

Well, maybe this isn’t the place but I’ll try to help out. I think that Blogger solution is the way to go.

I’ve been using it for some time with that domain option and everything is fine. I presume you will be using it as a blog because if your plan is to make some heavy website then you’ll need hosting solutions like wordpress and similar.

Anyway if you choose blogger for your blog with custom domain, ads, pictures, videos, from my experience, i can tell you, you wont have any troubles there. For more complicated things you need better solution but as Henrik writes here: ‘Keep it simple’. Have a nice day

LotusFoodLtd June 17, 2011 at 10:38 pm

Fantastic advice. I’m especially taken by the last point. Many people are obsessed with the finished product when it’s the process that matters most. You have to take small steps, stay active, and accept the bad with the good. I think it was Mary Oliver who said she writes 100 bad poems before she writes one good one. And I’m reminded of the teacher Peter Elbow who said that trying to make a perfect beginning is a recipe for failure. Grab that line, reel it in, and go with it–later you can fine tune it and make a better beginning.

viktor June 21, 2011 at 6:38 pm

Great post. Thank you Henrik…

Hey guys, check out this video, it could be useful …

The Pam: 29 Ways To Stay Creative http://t.co/GjPHWPu

It was posted by a friend on her web design blog…

thanks again Henrik!!

Joyce at I Take Off The Mask June 23, 2011 at 8:24 am

I also use my cellphone in jotting down these ideas. ;) Moments of inspiration are there for the taking, but we should always be ready to catch something precious upon our hands.

farouk June 23, 2011 at 11:53 am

great post Henry
if we didn’t take note of such moments we might not be able to make any use of them
thank you :D

Peter G. James Sinclair June 24, 2011 at 2:28 am

Thanks Henrik for reminding me about this….I love it how pursuing ‘good enough’ I have often been surprised with ‘great enough’ or ‘more than enough’!

Courtney Jones Media June 25, 2011 at 6:08 pm

Thanks for the great tips. Its really helpful. They are just amazing. Keep it up.

Arlene Marie Daniels June 26, 2011 at 7:56 pm

I like the part about writing the idea down before it slips off into nothingness. This really applies to me because I always make sure to have a handy notebook and pen with me in case I get sparks of wisdom within the day. Oh, and for additional reading about getting started and taking action on your goals, you may want to check out “How to Stop Self-Sabotage” by Dr. Darryl Cross. It’s a pretty moving read!

Stuart Dobson June 28, 2011 at 6:33 am

Have to agree on the last point. It’s tempting to re-release things over and over again and this can stunt productivity. Just let it go. Create something new. Even if you use your old work as inspiration, you don’t have to be bogged down by it.

Don’t reinvent the wheel, build a new kind of vehicle.

Mikko June 29, 2011 at 12:37 pm

Thank you Henrik. I am somebody who just found your blog and I am happy about it. I highly agree with you – everytime you get an idea you have to write it down or you will lose it – memorising the ideas is so important. By the way I found another article also interesting Your Guide To Personal Growth and Success http://developeyouself.com – it was pretty interesting too. Do You know it?

Social Natural June 29, 2011 at 8:08 pm

“Quick speed of implementation” is what all successful people have. Perfectionism and planning and lacking of actions kills that.

Kaley Klemp June 29, 2011 at 9:35 pm

It’s so easy to let amazing ideas slip away because they’re tough to make real, so thanks for the tips! Great to keep in mind!

Gillian June 30, 2011 at 9:29 pm

Excellent advice on realizing ideas, particularly the part about not getting stuck because of your own perfectionism. We can all use that reminder!

Tom Mowad July 1, 2011 at 8:27 pm

Werd. Liking this. Simple points.

- write it down
- keep it simple (stupid)
- get started now
- go for good enough

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