Masters tales

How do you find ideas?

I see them when I’m not looking. They are in the shadows in the corner of the room, or behind the unwanted balloon in the play room.

They are never there when I need them. When my body screams for a new project but all I can hear is silence or my own heartbeat.

They can be in the prompt of a word or a sound or a smell. They aren’t on a computer screen.

They are out in life. They are in my experiences and my interactions. People whisper them to me on buses and in supermarkets.

I don’t see them playing a mindless game on Facebook.

I find them when I’m relaxed and laughing, not when I’m angry.

There is a difference between ideas and experiences. My experience might give me anger but I can’t let a character have it until I have the idea.

A pile of spilled salt can create an idea. Or the dog rolling in the grass and needing a bath. I see them in the smile of those around me, not in the blank page.

So I hoard them. I have to because when I need them they can leave. The fact that I tense up and my heart rate increases make the ideas hide. They smell my fear. Who can blame them…? Desperation is not a good look.

Where do you find yours? And are they as elusive as mine once you need them?

5 thoughts on “How do you find ideas?

  1. Make note of ideas when they arise – grab your journal and jot down the general theme for a piece with a short note – one line usually suffices – to remind yourself of the context for that idea, maybe some key words as well. If you’re at your computer when inspiration strikes, open up WordPress or wherever you blog and save the notes in draft form…that way you’re one step into it when you have time to sit down and write and need a juicy prompt.

    1. Oh… I hadn’t thought of using wordpress drafts as a note taking tool. I tend to handwrite them in a book I have had for years… It is almost full though. I may have to invest in a new one. 🙂

      1. Writing by hand in a journal rocks but if you’re at the keyboard working on something else instead, or if you’re writing a blog post and another idea pops into your head but you don’t have time to develop it right then….DRAFT!

  2. Drafts in WordPress (and never delete your trash, of course); notepads, the backs of pretty much anything with a back – all handy for when those ideas hit! Tom Waites tells of yelling at the universe to “bother someone else. Go bother Leonard Cohen!” when he was stuck in a car with no notepad or tape recorder and had an idea for a tune the Elizabeth Gilbert TED talk at is really interesting and contains the Tom story). Oh yes, a little MP3 player that can record so you can ramble into it when out walking – the good thing about the age of mobile phones is that no one stares when you appear to be talking to ourself, they just assume you are on a mobile via a headset or something!

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