Fragile like glass

If I have an idea for a blog post and I don’t write it down, it’s already dead. If I have an idea for a blog post and do write it down, it’s already dying.

I’ll come up with absolutely brilliant ideas, dog-ear them, even start writing, but when I come back to my drafts later they feel stale and unnecessary, alien ideas in a desk drawer of doggerel.

That’s why I’m enjoying daily blogging so much at the moment. It allows you to flit from one idea to another without wasting energy on discarded projects. There’s a beauty in being able to write a first draft, edit it once or twice, and hit upload. No fussing, no long research periods, just good ol’ thoughts onto the page.

The more ideas you keep, the more dangerous they become. They fester like pickles in a jar which has been opened and had its contents scooped out with grubby fingers. As you preserve ideas your brain becomes a dungeon where thoughts come to die rather than to flourish and multiply.

A fair few writers and would-be writers think that ideas are precious, that they need to be coddled. But really, ideas are cheap. They should be let to flow like honey, then crushed into diamonds underfoot.

Ideas are like spider plants. They reproduce unexpectedly and fruitfully. They reach with their long tentacle-like arms and infect each other, combine with each other to form even more beautiful pieces.

Completed ideas (“used ideas”) are the most powerful. Until you actually commit to publishing an idea, you don’t know how successful it will be in terms of craft and reception. A truly great idea can be reproduced, reformed, improved and interrogated, whereas a bad one will flop around like a dying fish, an unpleasant reminder of your own mortality, if nothing else.

I started this blog thinking it would be a depository for my foreign language writings, but it’s quickly becoming a metaphor-to-ideology bilingual dictionary. And I love that. If I hadn’t started it with this idea, deciding to call it The Polyglot Lion, I would have never known whether the idea was good or bad. I’m still not sure. Now I’m thinking it should be called Metaphors We Thrive By, or something equally wanky.

I think I’ll let that idea percolate a little longer.

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