Plenty of Ideas — Make Things Up!
A young man wrote this week,asking how he might open his mind to be more creative. We passed emails back and forth. He said he knows that he stops his ideas. He asked if I might point him to how he might open his mind to let the ideas flow.
Do you have that problem too? Let’s check.
Stop right now and make something up. I’m sure you know how. Make me taller or shorter or older or younger, or any some such. Invent a new character in your life who is all evil or who is all good. That wasn’t so hard, was it? Okay we’ve got the making things up part covered. Most of us learned that in childhood.
Making things up is the stuff that ideas are make of. The exercise training for getting better at doing that involves time spent test driving your subconscious and unconscious a bit.
I’m going to show you one way to do that using a photo, your brain, and about 10 minutes.
C’mon turn the page.
Come to the Writing Ready
The problem is too much clutter and too much noise. Writers need reflection and some room to rehearse. So we’re going to make time and clear our space. We’ll give our eyes room to visualize and open our conscious minds to ideas. Go ahead try this.
- Use the photo I offer or replace with one closer to the subject you write about. Choose a photo that has little detail and leaves lots to the imagination.
- Enlarge the photo as much as you can, before you begin.
- Sit back and close your eyes. Eliminate outside stimuli for 2 minutes.
- Open your eyes and look at the photo for 2 minutes. Don’t think. Instead, try to visualize yourself as part of it.
- After 2 minutes, touch the index finger of your dominant hand to your forehead and then touch it to the back of your head. That’s a physical signal to place the visual in your unconscious — to let your mind work while you do something else.
- While your unconscious works, use 2 minutes to straighten your work space. Put things away where they go. The sense of order and accomplishment will help the process.
- Touch the index finger of your dominant hand to the back of your head and then to your forehead. Glance at the photo. Close your eyes and let your mind wander for 2 minutes longer.
- Pick up a pencil (or hit the keyboard) and start capturing the thoughts as you’re having them.
I can’t guarantee this will work for everyone. But it has worked for so many that it’s worth trying on. Some folks find that it results in a great idea, and they’re off writing it. Other folks find that it gives them an entire bulleted list of things to write about. Still other writers find that at different times they have different results.
Reflecting on a photo is a poor writer’s vacation, a walk on the beach, an imaginary fishing trip. It has the power to bubble up ideas the same way walking or singing in the shower does. After taking 10 minutes to do these things, a writer comes to the writing ready to say something, type new words, make a pencil move, talk to the world.
If a photo doesn’t work for you, try music, meditating, or watching a candle burn. The object is to shut out the stimuli you don’t need so that you can access the ideas you’ve already got. Your brain has been saving up stimuli for you every day you’ve been alive. Go on and access it now.
What do you do to make sure you’re ready when you sit down to write? .
–ME “Liz” Strauss
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