My cranium feels like an ancient stone belfry sometimes, in that ideas are flapping around inside it like semi-blind bats, bumping up against each other awkwardly in the darkness and emitting high-pitched squealing sounds. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed with divers notions, schemes, plans, and goals; to find myself unable to take any action because there are so many possible actions to take. And compounding the difficulty, there’s the fact that it’s often hard to tell the difference between a brilliant idea and total crap.

But once in a while, one thought squeals a little bit louder than the others and with a lot more conviction. And when that happens, I stop daydreaming, writing detailed lists in my notebook about all the things I want to do, and snap into action. That feeling, that “oh my god I know exactly what I’m going to do!” feeling, is one of the greatest things about being human (along with access to strawberry ice-cream, long walks in the woods, and unwrapping a brand new iPhone).

Usually, a good, actionable idea is one that has been quietly lurking in the shadows and recesses of my mind for quite some time; it’s rare that a eureka moment isn’t predicated on a period of idle rumination and back-burner cogitation. I usually figure things out while I’m doing something unrelated: taking a shower or walking to my car. But it feels as though insight comes all at once in a flash of blinding light, tumblers dropping into place, pieces of the puzzle fitting together as though they’d never come apart.

I haven’t learned how to rush the process; I’m not even sure it’s possible to speed idea generation along. Not only that, it takes time to vet thoughts and test assumptions. But I do know that once you’ve got hold of one, a good idea can lead to others.

And I’m pretty sure I had a good idea today.

(originally published onĀ BAD YEWEX)