I seem to have too many ideas. I’m missing the focus and time I need to get them all from my brain and onto the page (or the virtual/ digital page). I make notes for myself with ideas as I get them. I try to use a notebook rather than bits of paper which end up misplaced, but the notebook isn’t always right there when I need it.
I don’t understand writers who have a lack of ideas. To me it seems there is an endless stream and the real problem is keeping tack of the ideas, organizing and finding storage for all the notes, magazine clippings, and so on. I have even begun to use my digital camera as a quick note taking tool. So my hard drive is just as cluttered. I’m considering a hand-held scanner, just dash out the note and then scan it in for later. This would give me a back up plan for the bits of paper notes.
How do I get ideas? Such a short and simple question when the answer is massive.
Here are some of the ways and places I get ideas:
- Read the newspaper, a magazine.
- Study a religion other than your own.
- Watch/ listen to a talk show.
- Volunteer to edit someone else, be constructive.
- Watch a documentary.
- Read the dictionary until you find a word you don’t know.
- Look at books in the library, outdated ones too.
- Talk to people at the coffee shop, grocery store, bus stop…
- Attend some kind of local group, event or workshop.
- Go to the bookstore and see what’s new in your niche/ genre.
- Talk to yourself.
- Draw something – it doesn’t matter whether you think you can draw or not.
- Go shopping, look at new inventions in hairbrushes, mouse traps…
- Take a walk outside.
- Listen to music and then read the lyrics.
- Take your laptop on a road trip.
- Photograph your family. Get as many together as you can.
- Try creating something in text art.
- Read the newspaper classifieds.
- Go to the local thrift store and buy yourself a new coffee mug.
- Talk to a teenager. They really aren’t that scary.
- Read about fashion or something else you don’t care about much.
- Read an opinion that does not agree with your own.
- Brainstorm about life. What is the meaning of life?
- Send a postcard or a real, full letter to someone.
- Try something new in papercrafts: paper flowers, paper cutting, paper folding…
- Take a lawnchair or a blanket outside and watch the sky, the clouds.
- Get a hot shower with a soap and shampoo you love to smell.
- Take the bus all across the town or city you live in.
- Buy a new pen and some blank paper.
- Read one of the classic books you never read for school.
- Do an online personality quiz, just for fun.
- Read a few blogs by people you don’t know, leave a comment or three.
- What’s the most boring thing you can think of? Do it.
In the end, it isn’t about where or how you find ideas. The real way to get ideas is to keep your mind open looking for them. Don’t become close minded, too literal, too judgmental or sure you’re so right about everything. It’s when you are open to new things that you are able to find them. You see things you might not have noticed or ignored because they weren’t flashing a neon sign telling you “this is your idea!”.
If you have writer’s block, distract yourself. Get away from that heavy focus and all the pressure. Once you release your mind, give it new roads to travel, the block will weaken and you can shake it off.
Take the seed of an idea and grow it. Look for more information, look at it from another perspective, combine it with other ideas to make something new and interesting. Be open to them and ideas will just come to you, trust me, ideas are everywhere!