Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Coming Up With New Ideas

Possibly the single most difficult part of being a writer is trying to come up with fresh ideas.  This is particularly difficult for me sometimes when writing for the internet because I'm essentially battling with billions of other bloggers, freelance writers and technical writers for creative space.  For me, inspiration comes in waves and I've learned that I need to capture ideas as they come in order to keep up a pace that continues to build momentum on all that I've already done.

About once every few weeks as I am sitting on my bum cruising the internets, or sitting in the DMV waiting area listening to the workers drone on as I wait my turn, or picking up groceries at the store, I have a sudden burst of great ideas for things to write about.  The lightning bolt of inspiration comes at random and it's very easy to miss it if I'm not paying attention or don't have a piece of paper and pen handy.  But when the stars align and I realize what is happening in this brain of mine, I start writing a list of things that I intend on writing in the next 4 weeks.

I do my best to only grab enough of these bright ideas to fill a month's writing because I've discovered that if the list gets too long, I can't decide which ideas to write about first or which ones just seem like good ideas at the time but are actually giant turds.  Even if I'm extremely motivated and every idea is a jewel, chances are that if I've got more than 10 ideas on paper at a time then Murphy's Law indicates that with so many great ideas all in one space I'll inevitably lose the list and be back at square one.

... And before you ask, yes I do live with an abundance of technology and conceivably I could make this list in an e-mail to myself on my netbook or text it to myself from my smartphone but for me there is something about furiously jotting things down on a scrap of paper that makes me feel like I'm actually working and that my thoughts are becoming tangible ideas that I can see and touch.  Call me old fashioned, but it works for me.

Still Currently Reading:
Free Food for Millionaires
I'd like to note that I am enjoying this book, but the main character and many of the supporting characters smoke throughout the story... and as an ex-smoker who is trying to not again become a  pack-a-day smoker there is only so much smoky reading that I can do at a time before I want to light up myself.

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