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Updated: Oct 31, 2022

Ideas for writing. Where do they come from? The short answer is "everywhere." The primary place is they come out of conscious and unconscious minds, that is, that still-mysterious grey mushy organ, our brain.

Ideas love it when we do something to switch off our chattering monkey brains which fill up our head space with negative emotions and unhelpful dross. Allocating some time for thinking in a quiet place, even a place of silence, or relative silence, such as a library. If being in nature is more appealing to you, a shady picnic table at the park. Or, if you are fortunate enough, your own room where you can close the door on the world temporarily.

Ideas also come from our sensory experiences - sight, smell, taste, touch and smell. We generate ideas from our everyday observations of people, our family members, friends, neighbours, the people on the tram. Ideas come from everyday incidents, from the antics of pets, and from the natural and urban environments.

We gather ideas from our reading and research activities, including the World Wide Web, the biggest and most chaotic trove of knowledge, opinion and ideas ever. Anything on the Internet has to be handled with caution as, while it gives every appearance of being credible and true, in many instances it is unverified, inaccurate, misleading, or propaganda that is full of lies.

Ideas also come out of our past experiences or events and people in our family and community. It may be that the person is not living but their experiences, struggles and triumphs are accessible to us through our research and, more particularly, our memories and our imagination.

Even in a non-fiction book, authors strive to make the people and events come alive to the reader. Otherwise, we will lose our reader who will put the book down, perhaps never to pick it up again. An example of an extremely well-researched non-fiction book is Walkley Award winning journalist, Sharri Markson's 2021 "What really happened in Wuhan." She is describing the extreme poverty in which Dimon, one of her sources, grew up in China:

"Dimon's mother gave her a hard-boiled egg as a birthday present on the day she turned eight. "It was so rare and precious, I couldn't bear to eat it," she says. "I put the egg in my pocket.

I took it out, looked at it and put it back into my pocket; and on and on as I wandered the streets...."

-page 7 Markson, S. "What really happened in Wuhan" (2021)

Ideas are thoughts and our thoughts are ideas. Sounds simple like breathing. But ideas are tricky. They are ephemeral - they flit in, around and out of our minds in seconds. Some ideas get stuck in our heads and we can't shake them. More often, they leave before we grasp them firmly and we quickly forget them. It is like the dream we had last night that was so real and vivid but we didn't write it down immediately and now it is sealed up in a hidden compartment in our brain. We cannot think what the dream was even about, let alone retrieve the details.

Another source of ideas is from having a stimulating conversation with another person or brainstorming with a group of people. The latter technique is highly effective, having been tried and tested in many different organisations.

If you believe you are not an "ideas person," actually you are wrong! What is more likely is you haven't been paying sufficient attention to your ideas or recording them in a tangible format. Here are two methods for capturing and holding on to your ideas:

  • Take your thoughts seriously. Pay close attention to them and do not brush them away as not important. An idea may appear to you as bizarre, stupid, far-fetched or irrelevant. Do not be 'judge and jury' on it because it could be the piece of data you need in future to describe a person or incident in a particular way.

  • Ideas have to come out of your head and on to the page or device. Ideas and thoughts are intangible and inconstant; there one moment and gone the next day. Write it down in your notebook, daily journal or diary or digital device.

To build your ideas trove and have it going at full capacity, contact Lynne at LLOYD MOSS publishing HERE or ring/text her at 0421 998 749.

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