You’re probably reading the title of this post and thinking, What? Every idea is NOT a good idea. Look at New Coke!
It’s true, New Coke was awful. So was The Last Airbender.
But that doesn’t mean Coke as a brand isn’t successful, or that M. Knight Shyamalan hasn’t kicked out a good film or two.
In terms of writing, not every book idea is going to be a winner. Last year, I pitched my agent at least two books that I pretty much had no business writing. She talked me out of them, thankfully, realizing they weren’t a good fit. But that doesn’t mean the creative exercise of thinking up book ideas, projects, and plots has to yield only successful outcomes. Not every idea will stick, but the bad ones might help pave the way for something that grabs on and doesn’t let go.
For example, Pixar comes up with countless movie ideas every year. Not every one will become Wall-E. So does that mean the stories that never made it out of the brainstorming room weren’t worthwhile? Nope. Just means they helped stimulate enough creativity so that the idea that was meant to be on the big screen could be realized.
The mere creative process of thinking up ideas — even bad ones — opens a person’s mind. I used to struggle generating book ideas. Now, I have a new one every day. What changed was my thinking. I opened myself up. I started seeing everything as a potential story, even if it wasn’t a fabulous one.
In the end, the mere act of generating and embracing a variety of concepts — good or bad, raw or polished — will yield more positive, creative results than trying to come up with one single, perfect idea.