Ideas, where do you get them?

Ideas. Those ‘ah-ha’ moments where something in the work your creating sticks out at you in the most obvious way, but until that moment you never realized it. I have recently realized that idea’s about stories or things I need to add/change only seem to occur to me when I’m *not* writing. What I mean by that is pretty simple. When I’m actively writing, I tend to ‘follow the script’ in my head. I tend to know where I want things to go and how to get there. I’m as I’ve heard from other people a ‘pantser’ apparently. I don’t write out long detailed outlines, and I tend to keep the story’s overall plot and timeline just in my head. This honestly is mainly due to me not being terribly organized, and the fact I loose anything I jot down pretty often. I do still use a mind mapper application to help with character development, if only because it helps me lay out each characters wants, needs, desires and fears. In turn I use this to figure out how each character will react/behave to situations.


****Side note**** This just occurred to me, but this is part of my old theater training. I had never drawn the parallel before, but this is pretty much the exact same process I used mentally to help flesh out characters I was playing when I was doing theater. Pretty damn cool, never realized that.

However it’s only when I’m not actively writing do I realize there are big questions I’m forgetting. I get these idea’s pretty much doing one of three things.

  1. Swimming – I live in Florida, so the swim season is pretty long. I’m not sure why exactly, but the act of swimming for exercise seems to allow me to mentally think about things differently.
  2. Shaving – Yes really, the act of taking a piece of sharp metal and scraping hair off my face leads me to find new things or ideas to add to whatever story I’m writing (Had this today in fact.)
  3. Cooking – In a former life I came very very close to pursuing cooking as a profession. But I get a lot of ideas this way as well.


For me at least, ideas come to me at the oddest times. I sometimes beat myself up a bit for not being able to devote MORE time to writing. But I realize now that the actual act of writing is only part of writing. The mental part, the idea’s and creativity part for me at least means I need to be away from the computer and doing other things. Things that allow me to be more on an ‘autopilot’ and free up whatever the part of me that likes to create stories. So in a way I’m writing a lot more than I think, at least I can tell myself that!

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