Upon sharing a particular idea I was proud of, my wife told me not to waste it, to not give it away to one of my little pet project. She wanted me to keep it and use it for something larger, for one of my novels.
That got me thinking: How should I use them? Do I need to be more careful? Which are the really good ones? How will I know? Sometimes I have an idea or image I think is brilliant and it ends up being folded into a piece of writing as little more than a passing observation or detail. I feel like once it's used, it's gone. Should I be worried?