Everyone Has Endless Ideas
Can’t write without one. I’ve tried. It doesn’t work.
If you’re reading this, you probably know that. So let’s move around that dead, old horse.
What’s an idea anyway? A thought, a stimuli, a catalyst.
Everyone has endless ideas in our brains every minute that we’re alive.
We can get to them two ways — from the inside or from the out.
Inside Out Thinking — Reflecting Back
Ideas live in our subconscious. Millions of bits of ideas are sitting in our brains just waiting for us to let them out. Science says so. Hang in there. I’m about to quote myself.
Ideas are being stimulated constantly in your subconscious so often and at such a rate that, if you let them all in, you wouldnÃ¢â¬â¢t be able to pay attention to anything else. You would literally be aware of stimuli that you have no need for, such as the feel of your shoes on your feet or the chair that youÃ¢â¬â¢re sitting on. ThatÃ¢â¬â¢s why we come equippedÃ¢â¬âat no extra chargeÃ¢â¬âwith a filtering unit, a valve-like screening device at the base of our brainsÃ¢â¬âthe Reticular Activating System (RAS). The RAS allows us to filter out most of that unwanted stimuli. It serves as a closed door allowing only life-skill information into our consciouness. Unfortunately with the door closed we donÃ¢â¬â¢t have access to some great ideas. (Critical Skill 3: Fluency with Ideas)
To get to those ideas, we need time to reflect. That’s thinking from the inside out.
If you can, put a problem or a topic on your mind. If you can’t, that’s okay too. Then, turn off the world. Stop the stimuli. Darken the room and just relax. Pull up Silence Matters. Still yourself. Close your eyes. Give ideas a chance to come to you, for at least 5 minutes time.
You’ll know when you’re ready to write.
Outside In Thinking — Collecting Stimuli and Feedback
All of that stimuli gets into our subconscious automatically. But we also can capture it on its way in. I’m a stimuli and feedback junkie. I’ll ask a question just hear to an answer. Information is a quest. Every bit of information is an idea snack. I challenge every stimuli and every input — even a doorknob.
Kids are really good at this. Take a cue from them. It looks like this:
What might, could, should, would, what if, how come, when, where, why, why, why, why, why?
Where do the trains go when they’re not where I can see them?
Why is the sky blue?
How could I make the sky turn green?
In other words, become a total contrarian with boatload of curiosity throw in. Then take part of one question and remix it with another. Two such thoughts might look something like this.
What if the mainstream media all became bloggers?
What does research say smart people do when they make mistakes?
Mash those two and you have a story I’d like to read.
A little and suddenly you’re surrounded with ideas.
Catch ideas coming in or going out.
–ME “Liz” Strauss
If you think Liz can help with a problem you’re having with your writing, check out the Work with Liz!! page in the sidebar.
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Arlo Guthrie, a Pickle, and 5 Signs YouÃ¢â¬â¢re Forcing a Bad Idea to Work
Finding Fodder for Future Ideas