Monday, February 28, 2011

Being Open to Ideas—Whenever they Strike

Fillette endormie--Maria Blanchard- 1925I think most writers are almost overwhelmed by ideas. The problem is usually too many ideas or getting ideas for new books when they’re not finished with the old one.

That’s they way it is for me, too. But I’ve noticed that the ideas are striking at different times than they used to.

I used to always get fantastic ideas when I was out running errands. I had a notebook in the car at all times, just in case, and index cards in my pocketbook for those times when I was actually shopping when they struck.

I think what’s happened is that I’m now really focused on the errands and getting them knocked out as quickly as possible. So I have less time when my mind is wandering.

Apparently my brain is just dying for opportunities to flood my mind with these ideas that have been collecting. So lately, the floodgates have been opening while I’m falling asleep, while I’m sleeping, and as I’m waking up.

So I’ve adjusted. There’s a book light and a pencil and a notebook on my bedside table. My husband is probably wishing that my ideas would start coming during errand time again.

A couple of nights ago I had an idea that did more than wake me up and make me jot it down in my handy-dandy notebook. This idea completely launched me out of the bed and downstairs to the computer. It was the solution to a plot hole.

So what I’m gathering from all this is that I’m putting up some barriers to the flow of ideas just because my busyness isn’t making me as receptive to them. So these ideas are all popping out when I’m trying to sleep.

My plan is to tune in more to the daydreaming, idea-generating side of me and less to my to-do list or whatever it is that’s putting up walls.

How do you ensure you’re receptive to getting ideas?


Couple of quick notes:

NZFlagFirst of all, Margot Kinberg is sponsoring “Do the Write Thing” for the victims of the devastating New Zealand earthquake that struck a week ago. She’s holding a raffle to help raise money for the relief effort. For more information, please visit Margot’s blog.

WkbBadgeSecondly, the WKB newsletter that Mike Fleming and I are putting together is set to launch later this week. We’ve got a great interview with freelance editor Jason Black and links to February’s most popular writing articles. If you’d like to get on our email list for the newsletter, please sign up here: