Thursday, August 5, 2010


Let's face it, without them what would we do? Ideas are an essential part of the creative process that writers simply can't do without.

When the idea for my first book came to me, I parked myself in front of my laptop and didn't move for hours. Of course I thought it would be the only idea I would ever have and at the time I didn't give it much thought.

Thank goodness, since that day I've managed to come up with a few other ideas. Of course these thoughts always surface at the worst possible times.

For example:
*When I'm smack dab in the middle of another manuscript.
*When it's full blown chaos at work.
*During my son's football practice or at my daughter's ballet classes.
*And my personal favorite,while driving.
You get the general idea.

There's just no way of knowing when an idea will creep into my mind. But I don't ever want them to go to waste. In order to avoid that particular monstrosity, I keep a simple idea file. Wherever I go I have keep a journal and pen with me. There's a section for ideas that I can transfer to my file whenever I get the chance. Whenever I'm ready to start a new MS, I can refer to the file to see if anything in there interests me.

So where do these ideas come from? I'm honestly not certain. But I can tell you what I do. I read. A lot. I love to watch movies and watch television. I love to shop and spend time with my family. All of these things bring me inspiration.

I also keep track of what's out there. I educate myself on what agents and editors are asking for and what they're begging to see less of.

In addition to all of this, I keep lists. Lists of things that captivate my interests. Lists of things that would add to a storyline.

But when all is said and done. I write what I love. I could never devote so much time to a manuscript if it didn't resonate with me on a deep unexplainable level. But that's just me. I don't pretend to understand the workings of my complicated mind. I just go with it!

So what about all of you? Where do all of your wonderful ideas come from? How do you keep track of them?


salarsenッ said...

I, too, am a list maker. I have separate files for ideas and another for potential scenes. So true that ideas come at the most inopportune times. I usually keep a small notebook stuffed in my purse, car, the kitchen...oh, and then I talk to myself.

Kelsey Ketch said...

My ideas usually just hit me over the head out of the blue and most of the time at night just before I fall asleep. I keep two journals by my side. One is a basic concept journal were I write the idea down and maybe some background on characters. The second is for the book I'm currently working on so if I have a great idea for a scene or an event I can write it down immediately.

Jaydee Morgan said...

I'm like you in that I keep a notebook of all my ideas that pop up. Every so often, I go through that notebook and see if I can find a recurring theme - or something that I think I can expand on.

Liberty said...

I have broken more than one handbag with the weight of notebooks I carry around in case I get an idea!

I tend to get most of my ideas just before I go to sleep and just after I wake up. Apparently my brain is at its most creative when half asleep XD

Jemi Fraser said...

I have a computer file for them all. I've just started keeping a notebook too - like you say - ideas pop up at the strangest times!

Vatche said...

My ideas come out of nowhere sometimes. They just hit me like a brick in the face.

They come when I take a walk down the street or when a strange occurrence happens to me. Sometimes ideas show themselves to me in scenes or images. Sometimes just in words. It's different most of the time. And when I get the idea I write it down wherever I can, whether it's a napkin, my hand, or a post-it. I just need to put what I saw in words!

You're right that without ideas writers won't have many stories to go on. Write on and keep churning out those ideas!

Lindsay (a.k.a Isabella) said...

I'm a notebook fan too...and a file on the laptop fan.
My ideas are mainly from dreams, listening to music...sometimes they pop in my head when I'm doing something else. lol.

Najela said...

So what about all of you? Where do all of your wonderful ideas come from? How do you keep track of them?

I have tons of notebooks filled with ideas. I recently started keeping them on my external hard drive or a google docs. My ideas usually come from a good movie or book, or something about a book that I was disappointed with. Most often I'm always day dreaming in the car. I spent the whole time daydreaming, I didn't realize I had gotten on the freeway and was half way to my destination.

Jessie said...

I gotta go with the notebook too. I keep one next to my bed because I find that either when I'm getting into bed or getting out of the shower, I'll think of something and have to write it down right away. Only sometimes do I get an idea in the car, BUT, I just learned yesterday that there's a free (?) app for iPhone called Dragon, that's basically like a dictaphone, but converts what you say to text and you can save it as a file, tweet it, etc. I think I may have a new note taking plan...