How Did You Ever Think of That? (Again)

Idea Tree(Originally posted March 2, 2014 – yes, the idea tree is picked clean)

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.

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5 thoughts on “How Did You Ever Think of That? (Again)

  1. Pingback: If We Were Having Coffee – 5/30/2015 | Trent's World (the Blog)

  2. idiotwriter

    Well I was driving doesn’t the road and this car..was being so damn impatient and see then… there was this truck we were stuck behind.
    Ideas spring forth from life! Things that happen right? Problem sometimes is KEEPING up with them all! :D

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    1. trentpmcd Post author

      I think I showed you the pendulum post – sometimes I have so many ideas I don’t know what to do with them all. Other times I have to struggle. When I did this post I was obviously struggling ;) Today I just don’t have time for something new, so my idea for the day was, “Hey, I once posted an idea tree. I need to bring it back up since it’s been a while.” And yes, life often brings ideas. I hope most of my short stories can relate back to life.

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      1. idiotwriter

        Yes you did show me the pendulum post. I sometimes want to do that -0 bring old posts up. Never quite sure the best way to do it other than to duplicate it :/ How do you do it?

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        1. trentpmcd Post author

          At first I tried to just reblog but found I got about 2 visitors even if none of my current followers followed when I posted it. So now I just open the old post in one tab and start a new post in another then copy and paste. I sometimes make a few corrections or updates and usually add a date stamp for the original post date. When I first started to do this I put (Reblog) in the title but found I got about 1/4 to 1/2 of the views of a new post. Now I put (Again) in the title I get about 3/4 the views a new post. I think it’s funny how many people don’t want to read a recycled post even if they didn’t see it the first time around. Oh yes, if I make a lot of updates I might put a link back to the original.

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