People ask artists and writers “Where do you get your ideas?”
I heard a story somewhere that when the brilliant science fiction and fantasy writer Roger Zelazny, was asked this question, he said something like: “Every night I leave out milk and cookies, and in the morning the cookies are gone, but there are loads
of crazy ideas in their place!”
I wish that were true.
I don’t know where ideas come from. They just show up.
I have tried to coax an idea out of myself and I have learned that
coaxing an idea is much like getting a shy cat to come out of hiding.
You have to be very persistent and patient and willing to wait.
Eventually the cat comes out from under the bed and so does the idea, but you might be doing other things at the time and not really notice.
Sometimes the best thing is to proceed whether you have an idea or not.
Sometimes we need to just pour a cup of tea, sit at the desk, and stare at the blank page until something comes to mind.
Sometimes nothing comes to mind. But that doesn’t stop me.
Neil Gaiman says that–“The Ideas aren’t the hard bit. They’re a small component of the whole. Creating believable people who do more or less what you tell them to is much harder. And hardest by far is the process of simply sitting down and putting one word after another to construct whatever it is you’re trying to build: making it interesting, making it new.”
I think that very ordinary things can become wonderful things when a little attention is paid to them so– whether or not I have an idea, I will often just begin to write about something ordinary but as if it were absolute magic.
If you think about it, you will agree, many beautiful films and novels and paintings have been created by artists who have spent a lot of time looking closely at the ordinary everyday world and finding the hidden magic.
When you really look closely nothing is ordinary or every day.
Sometimes I just have to start with a character and the character usually
tells me something about how to create a world for that character to live in and then quite often I learn that the character wants something really badly.
Well Of course she does. Everybody wants something very badly.
Desire is always at the heart of a good story.
I often don’t know where I am going when I write–
and this is turning out to be true in this particular post.
I think I just want to remind myself that not really knowing what I want to write about–not having an idea– should not stop me from writing.
THe point is to physically begin the process of putting words on the page.
Our task is to wake up Imagination and invite it to come and play.
The everyday world is alive and breathing and filled with the life force.
If you play close attention to the world around you, including everyday objects and ordinary people–pay more attention than you normally would I mean–
it’s quite possible, Imagination will show up, and maybe bring an idea or two along with it.