Liz Andra Shaw

Journey into the Creative Mind of a Writing Reader

Where Do Ideas Come From?

March 16th, 2013
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idea person

I spoke recently at Ocotillo Breakfast Club Toastmasters, and in the Q & A after the speech I was asked “Where do you get the ideas for your speeches?” Since March is International Ideas Month, I thought I would address that here as well.

We are all surrounded by ideas all the time. If you don’t have a million ideas bombarding all day, every day, well, then you simply aren’t paying attention.

So the question isn’t “Where do you get the ideas?” No, it should be “How do I learn to pay attention so that I receive all those ideas?”

First, always have a blank notebook at hand to collect your ideas. I have them everywhere – in my desk drawer at work, in my purse, by my bedside, on the table next to my La-Z-Boy, in the car… everywhere.

If you are good with your phone, there are all kinds of note taking apps. Use those instead if you like.

It doesn’t matter where you put the notes about your ideas. Just put them someplace.

I take the notes out of the notebooks and put them into Evernote. You can use any kind of text editor, but I like Evernote because it has web clipping capability to help you collect even more ideas more easily.

Ok, now you are ready to collect the ideas, but still you’re wondering where they come from. Well, it’s simple. They come from you.

Ideas are simply your reaction to what you see, hear, feel, touch, and smell around you. They are memories bubbling up from your unconscious and mixing with what is happening right now. They emerge in a constant flow, but you’ve got to be paying attention. My question to you is, “Are you paying attention?” If you are, you’ve got so many ideas, you’ll never be able to use them all. Your biggest problem is choosing the best ones and developing them into something that connects with your audience’s needs. And that, my friend, is a completely different subject for another day.

Happy International Ideas Month! Share how you find ideas in the comments below.

P.S. If you’re ever looking for a creative boost, consider subscribing to the daily creativity prompts at my other site, The Writing Reader.


I am grateful to fostersartofchilling on Flickr for the fun graphic at the top of this post.

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  • Eula McLeod says on: March 16, 2013 at 1:29 pm

     

    Oops. I just posted to Facebook instead of here with my lengthy, intelligent opinion. So here it is again: You rock. This rocks. And The Writing Reader rocks. Seriously, this is a great article and I’ve benefited from the prompts you offer there.

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Liz Andra Shaw

Journey into the Creative Mind of a Writing Reader