Where Do You Get Your Ideas?

Once or twice a week I shop for them at Wegmans. They’re in the 2-for-1 bin, right next to the skyhooks, blinker fluid, and waterline.

Seriously, I really have no real idea where they come from. For example, as I was composing the previous sentence it occurred to me that I was ending it with a preposition, an error which would have my high school English teachers spinning in their graves.

But then I remembered how no less a writer than Winston Churchill once described that “rule” as “[A]rrant nonsense, up with which I will not put.” So I left it as it is.

And THERE, mon lecteur, is one source of ideas: other people.


I hate mornings, and yet that’s when I am most productive. Sometimes I’ll just lay in bed, watching a cloud of ideas swarming like gnats around my room. Suddenly one comes into focus and I grab it and write it down.

That’s why I keep a notepad on my nightstand…well, a virtual notepad, anyway: both my iPhone and iPad are always to hand for just such moments.

The gray, hazy few seconds between wake and sleep are fraught with clarity for me. Again, to the notebooks.

I subscribe to Medium, and read it every day. Sometimes something there will give me an idea, and so I’ll steal borrow it for inspiration.

Finally, there are times when I just sit down and force myself to write simply to be writing. Take this entry, for example: I had no idea what I was going to write until I wrote it.

Ultimately, THAT turns out to be where I get most of my ideas: by the very act of writing itself.

And, of course, there is always the ultimate inspiration: sitting down with a cup of strong tea and letting my mind wander.

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