This post is part of the A to Z Challenge. So far, so good.
I always find it a bit puzzling when people ask me where I get my ideas because I am never really conscious of looking for them, they just kind of tumble out.
That doesn’t mean that I can’t help someone create the conditions for coming up with good ideas themselves, though. I *am* a creativity coach and ideas are usually the first step.
Personally, I think that people generally have a lot of ideas but they have a mental filter in place so the ideas are ‘caught’ before they make it to the conscious mind. So, the trick becomes in teaching yourself to let those ideas make it to a part of the brain where they can be recorded – giving yourself permission to have all kinds of ideas, silly, serious or anything in between.
It’s a bit like when I took a drawing workshop a few years ago and my instructor mentioned that step one in learning to draw is learning to SEE. What she meant by that was they we need to see objects as made of lines, and shapes and light, not just as a solid unit. When we are trying to be creative and find ideas, we have to learn to break down ‘units’ of thought into their component ideas. Then we can take those pieces and look at them different ways and see where they lead us.
ANYWAY, about me and my ideas…
(yes, it’s always me, me, me, it’s like this is my blog or something!)
I have always had a strong imagination, firing off elaborate mental scenarios for the tiniest thread of evidence and when I get started with ideas I ‘chain-smoke’ them – each one is lit from the idea before.
Pulling one idea out of my oddly connected brain is like pulling on one piece of a net – you may get one string of ideas or you may get all kinds of offshoots and interconnected pieces. It might be hard from the outside to see how they are connected, but I know.
For example, when I said chain-smoke above, that reminded me of my friend Jason because we used to say he chain-smoked conversations, lighting one topic off the one before so the rest of us could barely keep up. Mentioning Jason reminds me that he used to have blue glasses, and that reminds me that my youngest kid wants his hair dyed blue and that reminds me of how my sister Ange used to dye her hair with kool-aid and the stench of kool-aid would permeate the house.
Now, I might not say all of those things aloud to you. You might mention chain smoking and next thing I am talking about the smell of kool-aid, it’s not obvious when you are outside of my head. 🙂
And you might be thinking ‘Okay, Christine, that’s a flood of associations but where are the ideas?’
Well, from that net of connections, I thought about including smells of childhood – playdoh, crayons, kraft dinner, and kool-aid in a story and how those things can bring back such vivid memories, both good and bad.
And I had the idea of writing a story in which someone’s hair colour reflects their magic ability, or perhaps it makes them stronger – kind of like an update on Samson.
And I thought about writing about someone who is brave enough to be who they are, no matter what anyone thinks of them -their own opinion of themselves is far more important to them than anyone else’s.
And I thought about why someone might talk a lot – are they excited? Nervous? Do they just have a lot to say? Sometimes a lot of talking seems rude but it doesn’t always have to be. So I could write about all the different reasons around talking a lot. That could be for a fictional character or someone real.
So, now that I have told you all about how my brain churns out ideas, I am going to turn the question to you…
Where do you get your ideas?
Also, what does the colour blue make YOU think of?