Coming up with ideas is the nub, the hub and the rub of what I do. But where do ideas come from? I don’t have a simple answer.
But I do have ideas about ideas. Here are a few of them:
Ideas come from looking outward. Everything I see, hear and feel goes in.
All that input swims around inside, mixing with memories. That collision of the outward and inward can make ideas.
Ideas like company: the more ideas I have the more I get. They bounce off of each other and multiply.
Sometimes ideas don’t like company. Voices from the radio, tv, friends and family can overwhelm them.
Starting is hard. When an idea is new it is tender and needs to be sheltered. It is easy to kill a new idea.
Ideas often visit when I am barely awake or barely asleep. Sometimes those ideas disappear in the light of day but sometimes they stay.
Ideas never turn out as planned. I picture something new and beautiful, but it always changes in good and bad ways when it becomes real. What happens is often not what I expected.
My hands have different ideas than my head.
Ideas take their own sweet time. They develop while I am doing other things and not thinking directly about them.
Ideas like motion. They unspool when I’m bicycling, swimming, walking.
Good ideas can come from bad ideas. Or not.
Sometimes I fear that I will never have another good idea, or that every idea I have is stupid. The only way that I have found to deal with that fear is to ignore it – to just plow ahead and make something (a story, a painting, a poem) for the pleasure of the making. Because once I start I don’t know where an idea will take me, and that is what keeps me going.
These are some of my thoughts about ideas – I’d like to hear yours.