One of my most prized CDs is the concept album of "Les Miserables." Fans expecting to hear the polished songs from the Broadway show and the later Hollywood film will be disappointed. The singers are adequate and the production value is mediocre. Characters who a central to the familiar play and film barely exist in this version(um, paging Jean Valjean) and familiar songs belong to different characters (Fantine's "L'Air de la Misère" becomes "On My Own" and is given to Éponine.) Nonetheless, it is a treasure for those who appreciate the creative process.
I have files of crappy first drafts. I have lists of ideas I haven't written about. I have random doodles of half-thoughts and phrases. I use Penultimate to draw word pictures. I use Evernote to pile up resource articles andDropbox to make sure everything I need is always at my fingertips.
Some would say I'm an electronic pack rat. Okay. Point taken.
But here's the thing.
You never know when an idea that wasn't quite ready for primetime 2 years ago is the perfect solution to today's issue. Capturing ideas is no different than musicians who review their studio tapes. Or artists who store their "vintage" canvases.
An old idea revisited doesn't mean the solution will be sitting there on a shiny platter. But it may take you back to a long forgotten train of thought. Or to the seed of an idea that didn't fit with the project you had back in the day. Or... it could also be a stark reminder of what NOT to do.
The point is, an idea's shelf life goes beyond "yes" and "no."
Don't forget "not yet."