Monday, February 10, 2014

I have a GREAT idea!

    As a writer, where do you get your ideas?  This is a question a lot of writers get tired of answering, but I always find the answers so interesting.  Do you get them when you are overloaded with work, so your brain wants to wander and think of everything else BUT what you are working on?  (This is a daily reality for me.)  Do you get your ideas on the porcelain throne or in the shower?  I heard this one when I was serving my mission.  :)  Or are you one of the few that can just sit down, and come up with ideas on the spot?  I have a few sources that I like to go to on a regular basis.  I’m not sure how common they are, but I’ll list a few of mine for you. 

    One of the funnest places I get my ideas from is from my dreams.  I’m one of the lucky few who remember their dreams 90% of the time.  I also have very vivid dreams.  It’s amazing what your mind can come up with when there is no filter.  This can be good or bad, but it’s better to have a lot of material to sort through and choose from than having only a little.  I have often had dreams where it had a beginning, plot and ending and all the little details in between.  I woke up feeling like I had just watched a movie!  I love those nights.  I still remember one particular dream I had years ago that was so awesome that I not only remember it, but I have a goal to turn it into a story. 

    Similarly, daydreaming is a great place to pull ideas from.  As one writer, Neil Gaiman said, “When I was your age, people told me not to make things up,' I told them. 'These days, they give me money for it.”  You almost have to retrain your brain not to push thoughts out of your head. (except for negative ones of course)  Have you ever sat down, with the intention of just letting your mind wander?  Would you be able to do it, or would you be like me and struggle not to think of all the things that need to get done?  Have you ever talked to someone with A.D.D.?  It’s kind of like that in a way.  You don’t have to follow any kind of thought path, and it doesn’t have to make sense.  By practicing this exercise you can train your brain to let more ideas in.

    I also get my ideas from my experiences and the experiences of the people that surround me.  This is common, because we pull our thoughts from the things we know.  I like to pull my ideas from my kids.  It seems like a concentrated area, but if you don’t translate what they say and do literally, you can really pull some fun ideas.  And they can help us remember what it’s like to let your imagination go!  It can also give a new perspective on common subjects.

    One of my favorite sources is spiritual inspiration.  I find that when I am looking for an idea or trying to find a way to express one, by getting down on my knees the ideas just seem to come to me.  The Lord has quite often opened my mind.  There has been many times where I almost felt that I couldn’t take credit for the ideas because of it! 

    The last one that I wanted to mention is personality.  I know this seems like a strange place, but I have met some people that are so fully of personality, that they just make your head spin!  Just like Holly from “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”, they ‘always have something smart to say on every subject’.  They are ‘better than a radio’.  I love to listen to people like that, as long as it’s smart.

    There are so many places/people that you can pull ideas and inspiration from.  Are there any that I haven’t mentioned that you have?  Please share them!


  1. I think some of my best work comes when I am given a topic or a challenge. I always try to think outside the box and take the topic or assignment I'm given and say, "Hmm, okay, but what if...?" and then I try to find a way to make my take on it unique and different. I guess a big part of that is my competitive nature- I like to stand out and make a splash.

    Another way to describe how I get ideas is kind of along the same lines as what I mentioned above- I analyze. I read books and I analyze why I like them or why I don't. Then I analyze my own work and see which elements are the same as those I didn't like, and which are different from the ones I did like so I can see places to make it better. I also analyze the world around me and I have a tendency to make connections that others may not have seen.

    The shower is definitely my think space- it's the only time of my day when my brain is free to wander without distraction, so it ends up like a pinball machine, my train of thought pinging all sorts of different things and making all those connections!

    Hmm...interesting to think about how I think. ;-)

  2. What a great list! I've had ideas come from a few of these places, but mine usually come right as I'm falling asleep. It must be because of the random connections my brain is making between things, but it usually seems to work like that. :)

  3. I get some of the ideas for my blog post from dreams I have had along with things that just come to me from out of nowhere........



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