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
The sky is blue so we know where to stop mowing the frass – LOL!
Great post – as always! Thank you for your delightful insights!
ME Strauss says
I always wondered why the sky was blue!
I am mostly a outside in thinker. I wish I were more of an inside out thinker but most of my writing material comes from the outside world. I think I may try the inside out exercise sometime and see what kind of ideas I can generate.
Great post and it has me thinking (outside in). 😀
ME Strauss says
Catch those ideas wherever you can. Then ever so often try the other way to give your brain room to stretch a bit. 🙂
Initially, ideas have to come from outside. The brain needs data to work with. One of the problems today is that there is so much information, that sometimes it’s hard to focus on just one thing (or thought).
Or, as someone once said: “one thing leads to another”. Your mind can start with one point, and before you know it, you’re off on ten different tangents.
Then again, one thing might just help you focus in. It was reading an interview with a game designer that finally helped me to put into words something I’d been tapdancing around the edges of, but couldn’t quite pin down.
And I’d been trying to work out a completely different article. Ah, sweet mystery of inspiration!
ME Strauss says
Yeah they come from the outside initially, but we’ve all been living so long that we’ve got plenty inside as well to access.
I love how you pull together bits of ideas and mash them up. You’re a naturally flexible thinker like that.
Ann left a comment for you on the post about word counts. . . . and I’m not ignoring your email I’m trying to finish the follow-up of last night’s open mic post. 🙂
Yeah, sure that’s true kids/teens have all kinds of ideas. I just can’t stop thinking, if I just sat down all type of bizarre and abnormal thoughts gonna come, if I read something there on the blogosphere there again thoughts. In fact I just don’t have to sit back and wait for thoughts, actually they are filling me, actually what to do in this case Liz : to get them out, freeing myself. When I get a thought, unless I don’t post it as if it won’t go away, sometimes making my posts smell bad because there’s no rehearsal. I tried to rehearse for some posts really, got on paper instead of the pc but then for the rest of the time I just can’t wait for that thought to evacuate me. So I write it down quickly, quickly and post it and there when I see it I feel much relieved. Would I be a bit mad Liz.
How infact to you deal with thoughts when they come in? Should I set myself to some relaxation or things like this? All day long everything I see, read and hear just give me thoughts and ideas. You see right now after reading the post above, I just got that thought and couldn’t wait to put it down, to evacuate it from my mind. Am I not normal?
ME Strauss says
Exhuberance — life and energy! You are wonderful! First, please know that you’re right some that is your age. Your body is made to learn about things — it’s important to survival of the species that people your age do so. The good news is that the chemistry that makes happen does back some after a while.
Hans, you ask advice about what to do with all of those thoughts you have and want to write about. You have asked a very big question — one that I also had. I’ve decided to write a whole post about it — today.
Meanwhile, the short answer is don’t try to write a post about every thought you have. Capture the thoughts and save them to write about later. Then savor each one as a memory of the event that made you record it and write about it with the depth and passion that live your life.
I wish I could go with every idea I ever had, I’ve had soo many! But I bet we all do, that’s what makes us creative, and human after all.
I think its realizing that one idea out of the hundred, and running with it that leads to those few enterpreneurs who are unique in their domain.
ME Strauss says
I wish I could sell every idea I have!!!
Ideas are easy once you let yourself have them. Seems you already know that. Choosing the one to follow and tailoring to work, and then putting in the work. That’s what makes innovations. You’re right TechZ that is the unique entrepreneur.
Yes! Sky can be green for you..
But with one condition.
If you will wear the Green Eye Glass.