Where Do I Get My Ideas?

by jeanineoloughlin

Thinking Through My Fingers

“Writing, to me, is simply thinking through my fingers.” – Issac Asimov

Everywhere. Some ideas come to me in a wild and crazy dream I have, while others I get from watching a movie or reading a book. I have one of those minds that is always thinking about something. I’ve often found that a quote in a book I’m reading will get my mind spiralling into all kinds of weird corners of thought and sometimes that turns into an idea. The important thing I find is to not limit yourself to what is or isn’t a good idea too early. It can be a character, a world, a story, a single scene, whatever it is could maybe blossom into something amazing, so no matter how big or how small it’s worth keeping.

Most recently a lot of my ideas have been coming from history. I love history, and I regularly watch documentaries and listen to podcasts related to all areas of history. The history of our world is rich and full of so many stories on their own. Whether it’s ancient Greece or the events of the Vietnam War you can learn so much about people and the world during those times. When I find myself “I wonder what it was like,” that’s usually when I know it’s something worth writing about.

Dreams can also be powerful. In dreams our subconscious is allowed to go wild. In dreams we’re not bogged down by over thinking what’s real and what’s possible. Our imagination can do whatever it wants and just create. If what happened doesn’t make sense that’s okay, you can make it work within the right world and that’s half the fun.

I don’t like sitting down and staring at the word processor trying to force an idea. It just doesn’t evoke passion, motivation or good writing for me. So, having past ideas to work from as inspiration or prompts gives me somewhere to start.

What do I do with my ideas?

I write them down. I keep a notebook with me as much as I can and anytime an idea hits me no matter what it is I write it down in that notebook. If I don’t have my notebook with me, I write it anywhere I can, email it to myself anything. The important thing is not to rely on your mind to remember it later, that’s how ideas get lost.

Now that I have the idea written down it stays there in my “idea book.” About 80% of the times I have my idea book out it’s to write something new in it. Then if I find myself looking for a new piece to work on, or stuck in an old piece I pull it out and flip through it. It helps jog my memory about the ideas I’ve had and what inspired them. Sometimes I use them specifically other times they just inspire. Either way they get me typing and that’s what’s important.

Happy Writing!