Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Where do Your Ideas Come From?

I mentioned in my last post that an idea for a new novel had popped into my head while I stared out of the window on the train. I have no idea what triggered it, other than I was not, for once, thinking about anything else. Usually, I am looking after the children, working, writing, washing, cooking, or even doing some housework. Occasionally, I am drinking tea, but this last activity is invariably accompanied by reading.

I used to get my ideas as I dozed off in bed, but these days I just fall, zombie-like into the deepest slumber (until woken by the need to rearrange a duvet cover, pick up a teddy, fetch water, etc.), and so that dreaming time has gone. The same with driving. I like to think I pay attention to the road (unless Cally's in the car), and there used to be space for thinking too, but now that's taken up with The Wheels on the Bus, and I haven't a hope of constructive contemplation. So you see, I'm never not thinking about something else, and how the too-tired-to-bother-with-work episode on the train proved unexpectedly productive.

I'm going to practice now, thinking about nothing, and see what happens. With luck, my stress levels will dive, but I'm hoping my creativity might get a boost too.

Where do your ideas come from?

New Mountain-Walking Blog
I have started a new blog: Mountains, Miles & Mist, and would love to see you over there!


Queenie said...

I have no idea where my ideas come from, although I know some ways to encourage them, writing itself being the main one. And going to sleep with a half-formed idea seems to encourage my brain to make it into a formed one by the morning. Now that's what I call multi-tasking!

Have looked at your mountain-walking blog, which looks as if it will be a very interesting blog for anyone who likes mountain walking. So, sorry, but you won't see me over there. If it was a beach-resting blog, that would be a different story. Each to their own, eh?

OfficeGirl said...

I wish I could train myself to think of nothing. That would be the best gift ever. I could totally function in my life without thinking because now it's more of a repetative routine.
I get my best ideas right before I fall asleep too, which is horrible because I almost always forget to jot them down.
Plus, all the paper in my house is riddled with magic marker and glue stick tracks.

SpiralSkies said...

Ooh, I love it when ideas are sneaky and jump out at us from behind a bush. Names of (real) people are always guaranteed to set me off - I met a man called Harvey Turtle last week at work! - and their imagined character will get all sorts of things whirring.

Sadly, I've perfected the thinking-about-nothing thing and I'm unable to break free of empty-headed blatherings. Oh well.

If I had a Cally Taylor in the car, I would pull over in a sinister dark lay-by and point a torch at her until she wrote all her ideas down for me. Probably.

Have you tried storing ideas in a sleeping bag to see if they incubate?

Leigh said...

Queenie - That's what the whole 'sleeping on it' thing is about, isn't it? If only I could stay awake long enough to generate a half-formed thought of any kind...

OfficeGirl - Hello! Have sympathies with the magic-marker and glue-stick thing. Suggest hiding notepad under pillow. Also have yet to work out how to think of nothing, but am in training. (No pun intended!)

Spiral - Trouble with you is: your so-called empty-headed blatherings are full of wit and humour, whereas mine are just drivel. Have just bought new sleeping bag (to go with new tent), and will try installing ideas for incubation.

JJ Beattie said...

Hellooooo, blogger wouldn't let me comment last time I was here...

Yes, small children making your head full of their things rather than yours is a very difficult time. BUT. Brains are really rather wonderful and they are working and storing for later when there is space available for you.

Word verification is 'uphsdock' which might have something to do with climbing mountains. Or not.

(Lovely mountain blog: but I'm with Q and may not appear too often!)

SueG said...

My ideas definitely come while I;m in the shower. Maybe it's the warm water. Someone once told me it's because one part of my brain is occupied with physical things leaving the other part free to roam around. Who knows? But it happens all the time. The problem is remembering it once I get out...

Carol said...

I can't comment on writing ideas (since I don't write!) but my drawing ideas come from all over the place....could be a snippet of conversation, a song lyric, something that looks a bit odd from a distance...all sorts of things.

Might sound daft but have your tried relaxation techniques? I have no idea how that would work (or even if it would work) but aren't they supposed to be good for clearing the mind?

C x

Karen said...

Ideas invariably come to me while I'm walking the dog - something about striding along seems to free up my brain in some strange way!

Troy said...

One idea I had was a screenplay to be made into a film called "Speed" and I was going to star Sandra Bullock in it. Unfortunately someone beat me to it. I guess like me, they too were inspired by "The Wheels On The Bus".

Cathy said...

My ideas come from people I meet, things I read, snippets of overheard conversation. But usually they don't provide instant inspiration, rather they come back to me much later, worming their way into the current WIP in unexpected ways.

(Sorry, won't be joining you on the mountain walking, the legs just aren't up to it!)

womagwriter said...

Ideas sometimes come to me when I am out running - this is because I am desperately trying to think of anything besides the pain... sadly I forget the whole thing as soon as I stop running. I also get them on the point of falling asleep - these too tend to get forgotten. And driving too, that's another good time.

Love the mountain blog. I'll be over there a lot, I reckon!

Debs said...

I tend to get my ideas when I'm walking the dog, ironing, or driving the car. The worst think is when I think I'll remember it, and then no doubt the idea fades to nothing once again.

Sylvia Phoenix said...

The trouble with me is that I have too many ideas. It wouldn't be a problem, except that I keep trying to cram them all into one novel instead of saving them up for later. As to where they come from, I couldn't really say, they just seem to come into my head.

DJ Kirkby said...

My writing ideas usually come while I'm gardening or in the bath. I guess that's the only time I'm not thinking about everything else I have to do.

Carol said...

Just popped over to let you know that there is an award for you over at mine :-)

C x

Leigh said...

JJ - Brains are wonderful things. I look forward to the return of mine!

SueG - Waterproof notepad and pen?

Carol - I have tried relaxation techniques, funnily enough, and find them very useful for going to sleep - but not much else!

Karen - Maybe it's the fresh air!

Troy - :o)

Cathy - They always say you should reject the first three ideas you have. Perhaps your mind is doing that for you, and only letting you have the filtered result!

Womag - Does your mobile have a recording facility? I've used mine (although I feel such a prat speaking into it) when driving or otherwise unable to write ideas down.

Debs - Oh, yes! The I'll-never-forget-that-it's-such-a-good-idea problem. I'm only too familiar with it. I recommend a notebook in every room, and a voice-recorder in the car!

Sylvia - I sympathise with this problem too. My solution is to put the ideas into more novels - although I also find this creates more problems!

DJ - Gardening and baths sound very relaxing; I'm sure this is the key!

Ee Leen Lee said...

it's not so much a specific place for ideas, it's more like trying to catch a lightning flash of inspiration