Honing Your Ideas

12 Aug

Great ideas don’t come often. They say inspiration can strike like lightning out of a clear blue sky, and it can. But, like lightning, it very rarely does. But when inspiration does


The Thinking Man sculpture at Musée Rodin in Paris

The Thinking Man sculpture at Musée Rodin in Paris (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


 hit you, utilize it to its fullest potential.
One of the easiest ways to waste a really good idea is to start too soon. Say you’re reading a book about cell damage, and you suddenly have an amazing idea – you could write about a scientist who uses cell damage as a weapon to become a villain. Or something of the sort. Without thinking too much, you turn on your computer and start writing. Within five minutes, you’re stuck and confused, fifteen lines in and already written into a corner. Frustrated and annoyed, you turn off the computer and never think of the idea again.
This kind of scenario happens to me personally all the time, and it’s always for the same reason. Not thinking things through.
There’s a sort of idea in every person’s head that the best writing happens without thinking, by just letting words happen on a page until a masterpiece rolls luxuriously out of the printer. But in my experience, the opposite is almost always true. The longer I let an idea wallow in my brain before trying to write it, the better it will generally be. Just thinking about an idea for a while allows you to develop it, to let it simmer gently before bringing it to a boil.
Think of great ideas. Think about great ideas. Let great ideas form and coalesce into a finished form. Then, and only then, set your great ideas free.


3 Responses to “Honing Your Ideas”

  1. Lorna's Voice August 12, 2013 at 10:24 pm #

    As I was reading your post, I was thinking of many vegetarian dishes I make that are SO much better the day after I make them. The spices and favors have a chance to settle into themselves. It’s kind of like what you’re talking about with ideas–they have to brew for maximum flavor!

    • nesherehrman August 14, 2013 at 5:35 am #

      That’s a great metaphor 🙂

  2. Jessica Davidson August 12, 2013 at 4:20 pm #

    Yes, inspiration takes time and effort too. If only it was as easy as just sitting down and writing the first thing to come into your head! I’ve just started a series on my blog about the Creative Process and it deals with issues like this. Check out part one: http://jesdavidson.wordpress.com/2013/08/12/creative-process-1/

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