When I read interviews with authors or books describing their writing methods one question always comes up: Where do you get your ideas? Some get very defensive, “You’d think I had an idea tree I can just pick story lines from or perhaps I say an incantation and an idea demon comes to my rescue.” Others are a little more practical, “Whenever I read or hear something new I get a story idea. I spend a lot of time going through magazines and newspapers and they’re just full of potential stories.” “I take two unrated ideas and find a way to bring them together. This creates a story.”
In my opinion it is a very good question, one as creative people we should ask ourselves: Where do our ideas come from?
I sometimes fantasies that I’m famous and am doing an interview. The interviewer will, of course, ask where the idea for a particular story came from. I find this is a great exercise. There are actually times I had forgotten why I wrote a particular story. I didn’t remember the roots. There are other times a story seems to spring whole and complete into my mind and it is fun to tease out how the idea sunk into my subconscious to be worked out, what triggered the idea.
Knowing where an idea came from in the past can help generate ideas in the present. Are you stuck? Well last time you did X, Y and Z. Why not try that again but with a twist?
When writing a blog you are in need of an endless supply of ideas. It’s a new day, I need a new idea. But the idea needs to be organic and have a spark of originality to it. It can’t seem like it was generated by a machine. When I get stuck I’ll look back at previous posts and ask myself where they came from. This almost always helps me generate something new, something that is uniquely “Trent”.
So, how did you every think of that? Where did that idea come from? You need to ask yourself that question, for looking at how past ideas were developed can help you develop new ideas. This simple question is a seed for your very own idea tree.
Image by Trent P McDonald