Ideas: How you can have more now

Ideas are odd. You think they come from one specific spot and you can just go there and “get” ideas.

You would think that would be foolproof, wouldn’t you?

Never underestimate the genius of fools.

It’s funny how you hear people ask the question, “Where do you get your ideas from?” The belief that ideas are friends who need to be picked up from the airport.

David Mamet had a pithy response when asked where does he get his ideas from, “I think of them”.

I look back at some of my old writing books from time to time. It’s insane how many ideas I had. It’s even more surprising that a small fraction of them weren’t downright terrible.

When you were young, you were full of energy and ready to take on the world. All ideas were valid, and everything was going to get done at some point. It was exhausting to be young.

Thank heavens for getting older.

When it comes to ideas, there is a hard pill to swallow. That pill is realising that you only have a certain amount of time to get things done.

You’re young, and your brain can’t stop ejaculating thoughts into your mind.

A production of the Trojan Women wherein the audience is taken prisoner during pre-show. An adaptation of The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch done as a horror. A buddy cop film that begins with the sequel. A fake spirit medium show that has actors in the audience and has demonic possession.

All these ideas, still kindle me with excitement but I know that in my heart they’ll just remain mental movies for me. It’s sad but inevitable.

You realise that not every sperm will become a baby.

I don’t know where I get my ideas but then how you think of ideas is wrong.

You don’t get ideas, they come to you.

An idea, rather than a friend you have to collect, is more a friend coming to visit.

How do you act when you know that a friend is coming to your house?

You prepare the house. You make sure it’s clean. Refreshments ready and you make sure that you are dressed. You don’t even have to put that much effort in the preparation. You can buy buns from the store, but if you want them to feel special, you make the buns yourself.

I like cooking for my friends. I hope that it entices them to come round again. They get to eat something that I have made, and I get to share in their company for an evening. It’s a good deal. Ideas are similar, you have to make it a welcoming environment.

You know what it’s like, it’s coming to the time that they said they would arrive and they’ve yet to visit. You hang about for a while longer whenever the thought hits you. There is something you could quickly do some sorting upstairs while you’re sitting around.

The moment you get started you know what happens?

That’s right, there’s a knock on the door.

That’s how you prepare yourself for ideas. You do everything you can to have the place ready, but in the end, the idea will arrive when it wants.

You almost have to give up on getting ideas.

Einstein worked at trying to figure out the theory of relativity. He gave up on it and only then did he realise what to do.

Think back to your friend arriving, do you ring them asking if they’re on their way. One call is fine but if you make any more than that you’re going to stir up resentment.

How can you improve the arrival rate of ideas?

You have to prepare your house for the arrival of ideas.

How do you go about doing that?

Like most things, the first step to getting what you want is asking.

Keep a notepad on you at all times. I’ve done this for many years. If something comes up, no matter how stupid I write it down. The idea isn’t the most important part it’s getting into the habit of welcoming the ideas.

Decluttering your mind helps ideas too.

There is a war for your attention going on. You’re at a disadvantage when you open your phone. A phone is necessarily a baby that’s useful and can fit in your pocket. As soon as it makes any kind of noise or movement there, you are to check on the device. Even if it doesn’ move or make a sound, you’ll still make sure that it’s OK.

Letting yourself be sucked in by your phone puts you in reactionary mode. If you want to generate ideas you got to do what you can to keep yourself in a blank state. This means that you need to avoid your phone for the first part of the day.

It’s not easy, believe me, I still struggle. My phone is almost part of me when it’s not nearby. It’s that phantom limb sensation. At least that’s what I think it would be like. If you steer clear of your phone for long enough, then you can engage in the next stage.

Free writing

Just take a page, time yourself for twenty minutes and just write. Don’t use a computer. You’ll be tempted to check in online. Worse you’ll always go back and forth deleting, rewriting, making sure that it’s just right. Don’t worry about that.

Use a pen and paper. Connect with the physical world. Start writing and do not stop. Write for twenty minutes, you should be able to do three hundred words. Take a ten-minute break do another twenty minutes. Another three hundred words and then read over your work. This won’t be an ideas generator, but it’ll help you realise how much more creative you are.

Do this exercise every morning. You’re telling your brain that ideas are right, you appreciate them and that you can keep sending them.

Do this, and you’ll realise that you have way more good ideas than you knew you had.

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