The sticker or tattoo test
Writing, like many other professions, can be highly competitive. Knowing when you have a good idea and knowing when you have a great idea, can often make all the difference in the world.
In the case of writing, if your idea is good, you’re likely to be praised for it, but it will come with possible revisions, other items that should or shouldn’t be included, and so on; whereas if your idea is great, you may still need to do some revising, but it’s likely to be an instant win situation. Jon Acuff has a great way to summarize this: is your idea sticker worthy? How about tattoo worthy?
Are people willing to display your sticker?
In my opinion, these are great examples of how to judge your ideas, but certainly not the only ones. If your idea is sticker worthy, it’s likely to be a solid, well-founded, effective idea. It may require a bit of tweaking, researching, revising, and consideration to become tattoo worthy however.
Sticker worthy ideas are those that help us identify with something in ourselves or our lifestyles.
How many times have you been out driving and seen Crossfit, Apple, 13.1, Monster, Bose, Yeti, or other lifestyle-type stickers that identify what the driver is into, as well as -in a small way- how they identify with society as a whole. When your idea is sticker worthy, you have something solid. Who would’ve thought that an energy drink could spark an interest in branding consumers’ own vehicles?
There’s something there that people are identifying with and this is what makes an idea sticker worthy: it’s a solid idea that people can identify with by serving a need or fulfilling some higher purpose.
Or would they rather have it in ink?
If your idea is tattoo worthy, it’s one of those fantastic ideas that you should chase relentlessly.
When I began my dissertation at the University of Oklahoma, I wanted to merge my love of literature with my love of film studies. This wasn’t an easy thing to do at the time because you have to find professors that believe strongly enough in your idea to devote themselves to reading it, helping you revise it, and sit on your panel when the time comes to defend your dissertation.
Now, I could’ve chosen something easier, something 18th Century that I love equally as much, but I didn’t because I knew this was something that I was passionate about and I didn’t want to give up on.
Now, is it tattoo worthy? Possibly. In my academic field, my professors have said the research was “excellent” and to me, that’s tattoo worthy; but in the larger picture, it’s unlikely anyone else will want to tattoo my words on their bodies and I’m okay with that. Just because it isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, doesn’t mean it isn’t tattoo worthy.
So what is worthy of permanent ink?
In my opinion, being tattoo worthy, means it’s fantastic. It’s solid. It’s marketable.
It serves a purpose and fulfills a need that people can become impassioned about when they experience it.
The example Jon Acuff gives is the Harley Davidson brand. So many people are passionately connected to this brand that they tattoo their logo, products, and mottos on their own bodies. That’s the very essence of powerful branding. People tattoo movie quotes, vacation destinations, and other things to which they identify or feel passionately about.
The message here is that when your idea is tattoo worthy, it is something other people will get behind easily. They will be able to see the value in your message or product and will want to get on board.
Not every idea has to be a sticker or a tattoo
Not every idea will have this effect and that’s okay. After all, there’s only so much room on the body for tattoos and only so much time in life to have “tattoo worthy” ideas.
Believe in yourself and your ideas. Don’t give up on your idea at the pre-sticker stage. Don’t give up at the sticker stage. If something gives you pleasure and you feel passionate about it, it’s worth pursuing wholeheartedly. Revise those ideas and get them to the tattoo stage and don’t be afraid to reach out for help in the process. The faster you get to the tattoo stage, the faster your dreams and ideas will be realized.