Tag Archive | ideas

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.

Mornings

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.

Revisiting An Older Topic

Why I Compose Blog Entries Off-Line… And Why You Should, Too!

This morning, as I was enjoying my first cup of the day—a nice Kalami Assam—I did something I’ve never done before: I had an idea for a new post, and so I opened my WordPress editor and started writing. I am a firm believer that absolutely nothing should interrupt the first cup of the day, but it was a pretty messed up morning.

To begin with, I didn’t wake up until 10:30, as opposed to my usual 09:00. So I didn’t drink my first cup until 11:00 a.m. Which is fine, if you believe in the tradition of “elevensies” (or Second Breakfast, as our Hobbit friends call it).

As I’ve mentioned earlier, my first cup is a meditation, a short period of mindfulness when I concentrate on the act of drinking the tea. With practice, I’ve managed to block out most distractions for this short time of experiencing the tea. But as I said, this was a messed-up morning, and so I wasn’t at my best.

I normally write my blog entries on my laptop, in Open Live Writer. But I also keep the WordPress app and a couple of others on both my iPhone and my iPad, in case I get an idea when I’m away from the computer. I learned long ago that I’m lying to myself when I say, “I don’t need to write it down—I’ll remember it.”

And so it was this morning: I had such a brilliant idea for an entry that I opened the WordPress app on my iPhone and spent the next 20 minutes or so composing an absolutely brilliant article, between sips of my cooling tea, and saving it as a draft.

After a wonderful fry-up breakfast—eggs, sausage, hash browns, beans, and toast(1)—I sat down at my laptop and proceeded to edit the draft.

Only to find it didn’t seem to exist. Anywhere. Not on my phone, not on my laptop—nowhere.

I had violated my own Robyn’s First Rule of Computing, which states:

Be Paranoid And Compulsive!

It’s not a matter of if you’re going lose files, but when.

My new practice in light of all of the above is to make notes in several places, or rather in several applications on whatever device I happen to be using at the time.

Yes, it’s more work. Yes, it’s a pain in the you-know-where. But not nearly as painful as losing a good idea.


(1) At this time of the month, money is scarce, and so my fry-up was lacking the beans. And the sausage. And the hash browns. Okay, so I had 2 eggs on toast.