Even when I am not writing or working on a project I try to keep the creative juices flowing so that I can be open to ideas whenever they come to me. Which really can be in some of the strangest places. It’s amazing how many different ideas I get when I drive the same stretch of road everyday to work. The road and the path never changes yet something different happens causing me to think differently.
Here are a five things I do to keep those creative juices flowing.
1. Surf the net
This may sound a little counterintuitive considering that you are always told that surfing the net is a time waster, however if you do it with a sense of purpose that will change things. A lot of times I hop onto my computer to check my email, Facebook, and the like. But while I am doing that I am also keeping open to ideas whether it is through someone’s status, a funny meme, or a news report. I never know what is going to capture my attention and turn into a great idea.
2. Read everything
By this I truly mean everything. If you are in a doctor’s office waiting room read every sign, every plaque, every word on every surface. Everything. What’s really fun is reading it really fast in your head. It almost starts to make a weird sentence and then you piece things together that usually wouldn’t have fit.
By this I don’t mean thinking about a beach vacation while you are stuck in a miserable winter state. Although fun, it’s not very productive. Daydream instead about where you see yourself in the future or if you are writing a story where you see your character going next. A lot of times before I write a story I will daydream it out first knowing how it is going to end and even go off on tangents that may not get written. But by doing this I’ve developed the story or the idea even further.
4. People watch/Observe
Did you know Walt Disney go the idea for the Disney theme parks after watching his kids play in a dilapidated theme park. After observing them and other families he thought to himself how great to would be to have a family centered place to go to that didn’t have the underlying seedy establishments as well. Thus came the idea for Disney theme parks. There are plenty of million dollar ideas out there, you just have to see them.
The other part of this is watching the habits and moments of people. Wonder what brought the person to this particular place today or if they are with someone how that happened. Listen in on conversations. Sometimes you need to get out of the perspective of your own world and hear another’s to understand how some people tick.
Conversations can bring me to the strangest places. Especially when talking with customers. I will meet the kind of people you really would think only existed on television. Sometimes after such a conversation I would think “man they would make a great character” it’s true. I’ve also had many conversations that have led to great ideas. Also they are just great motivators to keep you moving.
Jot it down!
Cultivating ideas are a great way to motivate and to create new projects but you have to write them down when you get them! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve kicked myself when I’ve had an idea that was great and then I lost it. Of course there are those times when ideas come and you’re not in a good place to jot them down like the shower or driving. In these instances I try to expand on the idea and keep it running in my head until I can then write it down.
What are some ways that you keep your creative flow moving?