July 7, 2011

ideas

I've been missing in action lately, but I hope it's for a good cause.

The main reason — I have been in serious idea mode. My mind is generating ideas for current and future projects faster than I can do anything with them. In one regard this is great. Ideas are a wonderful thing to have, and they are what will keep me in business as a creative person. All of these ideas can also be frustrating, because I am finding it hard to stay focused on one project, and I am struggling with time management.

Despite my challenges, I am determined to give all of my ideas careful consideration and an opportunity for a future. In the meantime, I am jotting down every idea as I get it in my journal. Lately, my journal has been more of an idea log and less of a documentation of the events in my life, but it works for now.

Like many people, I find myself having some of my best moments at inopportune times, such as during dinner, while I am in a meeting or as I am falling asleep. For that reason, I make sure to have a pen and paper with me at all times so I can at least jot down a few words to help me remember.

For example, last night I was about to fall asleep when I had a great idea for a plot turn in a book I hope to write (note, not a current project, but a future project). Though I knew I needed to go to bed, and I hated to delay it more by turning on a light, I wanted to save this idea. I felt around in the dark to grab the notebook and pen I keep next to my bed, and in big, sloppy letters I wrote down my idea. I'm glad I did, too, because I didn't remember the idea when I woke up until I looked at my note. Then it all came back to me. In the light of day, I added additional notes to help me better develop this plot element when I return to this project.

I also find it helpful to have that pen and paper near me when I sleep, because I often have dreams I want to log. A few of my dreams have developed into greater, more complete story ideas.

Ideas are important, and I encourage you to keep track of them. You never know when you might find a moment when you want to develop it more. I'm actually 6,000 words into a book idea I had more than five years ago. I tried to start the book many times, and have researched it off and on since then, but it wasn't until last week that I committed to the project.

This overwhelming stream of ideas made me think about where ideas come from in the first place. Best-selling author and idea guru Seth Godin has a great blog entry about this, "Where do ideas come from?" Take a look at it and let me know what you think.

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