I’ve been thinking about creativity for a while. My writing entered a stage of revision and polishing which is where I am most likely to be distracted by new ideas. I’m told that writers are often asked where they get their ideas. If they are anything like me, and the people I know, it’s not about finding ideas, it’s about managing the flow and knowing which ideas are worth exploring.
Where do creative people get ideas?
The short answer is EVERYWHERE. The list usually includes, conversations overheard, inspiration from the classics, new articles, songs. I’ve recently found inspiration in forum comments. The good ones give me story ideas, the trolls give me ideas on how to build characters. Creativity is fueled by the negative as much as by the positive.
As I was making lunch, I wondered what it would be like in a world where you were valued by your imagination – that led to questions of how that world would measure imagination. And then to the question, how would they define creativity. And the to the question, would creativity be valued differently depending on the outcomes.
What is the #1 problem for creative people – and everyone – when it comes to ideas?
It’s being able to manage them. By that I mean, saving them somewhere so they don’t get forgotten, attending to them at the appropriate time, and knowing which ideas will form the basis of the best work you can do.
For artist, musicians, and authors, the ideas can often just fuel a portion of the overall work in progress. Or, they can be the springboard for that new masterpiece.
For entrepreneurs – yes, they are very creative – it’s about knowing which idea will improve their business, or break into a market, or even create a market.
3 steps to turn ideas into action:
ONE: keep notes about your ideas. It doesn’t matter if you have a notebook, or a separate document in a folder, keeping the idea will let your brain refocus on what you are doing. Remember creativity is 90% perspiration, ideas are the 10% – inspiration.
TWO: assess each idea by asking “what if” or “so what” three times. If you can get three or four steps into the ‘what if’ answers, you may have a useable idea.
THREE: Whether it’s a new book, a new painting, song ,or line of business, feed the ideas occasionally with thought and development to help build the great ideas into great outcomes.
For me, it’s not about the end product when it comes to assessing ideas. It’s about the journey they will take me on. It’s tempting to jump on each idea as it comes along, but that’s like taking hundreds of first steps on a journey. You are active, but you aren’t going anywhere.
Have a creative year.