This whole new world of blogging has led me to think more about writing, and thinking about writing has caused me to revisit a question I have asked myself from time to time: namely, where does creative inspiration come from? And are there things I can do and specific places I can do them to encourage it to come more often?
One of the things I've noticed is that there are certain activities I can take part in that lead naturally to creative ideas flying into my brain. Since blogging at its best is an interactive medium, my primary reason for posting this today is to ask all of you readers -- when do you get your best ideas? What activities are likely to provide you with the inspiration for new ideas, plans, and dreams?
I'll tell you a few of the patterns I've found in my life, and then I'll leave the floor to you for your comments.
First of all, I don't know a lot of Freud, and much of what I do know I don't agree with, but I've bought into the idea of the constant battle between the conscious and subconscious parts of our minds. Our conscious mind is the stronger big brother, dealing with the minute-to-minute details and making the big decisions that allow us to survive. The subconscious is the dreamy little brother, shut up in his room, listening to Pink Floyd and lounging on his bed, but always thinking, thinking, thinking. He comes up with great creative ideas and long-range plans, but big brother rarely lets him get a word in edgewise.
The only times I've found that my subconscious can slip those wonderful creative ideas in where I can get at them is when I'm doing mundane, routine, repetitive, sometimes downright boring tasks. It's as if the conscious mind says, "This is so easy I can put this on autopilot and take a nap. Subconscious little bro, if you've got something to say, now's your chance."
(What a brilliant explanation of the conscious and subconscious mind! Nobel committee, send the check here.)
Anyway, here's the three mundane activities I engage in that best free my subconscious thoughts and act as the most reliable incubators for my strange whimsies:
JOGGING -- I tend to get my best, most complex ideas coming to the surface when I'm running. In fact, the idea for this post came to me and was fleshed out during a run, as a number of my other posts have been. The only problem with jogging is I can't really bring along a pen and notepad to write down ideas while I'm running, or I'd get no "running" done at all. And carrying a microcassette recorder and talking into it while running would be entirely too dweeby, even for Muley.
An aside: I've decided that if I ever try to write a book, the only way I'm going to marshal the creative brainpower will be to run up Interstate 35 from here to Minnesota -- that ought to do it.
CUTTING GRASS -- Talk about a monotonous activity. Same yard, same weeds, same mower, same pattern. Yawn. I get some great ideas when I'm out mowing, and I can stop and write them down without any problem. The only danger is that when I'm in the middle of a big inspirational riff, I get a bit distracted, a fact that's caused me to lose a few toes. But do we really need ten of them? I think not.
TAKING A SHOWER -- Given my druthers, I'd probably direct my brain to access my vast store of tunes while I'm showering so that I could sing to my heart's content, but my shower is next to our breakfast room, and my kids would hear every note I bleated while I got clean in the mornings. For their future mental health, I spare them this. Instead, I sometimes let my subconcious thoughts flow, but there's always the problem of writing them down. Is there a pen that works in the shower? Should I ask Mrs. Muley to come in and take dictation?
Anyway, those are my favorite places and activities to inspire new creative ideas. Please leave me your comments and let me know -- when and where do you get your best ideas? If I receive enough good responses, I promise to assemble them in a subsequent post and share them with everybody.
I can't wait to read your responses.
Quote of the day:
"Don't just pretend that you love others; really love them. Hate what is wrong. Stand on the side of the good. Love each other with brotherly affection and take delight in honoring each other. Never be lazy in your work but serve the Lord enthusiastically. Be glad for all God is planning for you. Be patient in trouble, and prayerful always. When God's children are in need, you be the one to help them out. And get into the habit of inviting guests home for dinner or, if they need lodging, for the night."
--Romans 12:9-13 (Living Bible)