Boy, do I feel stupid today. Remember that article on passwords that I wrote and posted yesterday? It was supposed to be for today. I forgot to set the schedule for it, so it posted when I hit “Publish.” I realized it was going to post right then as I was waiting for the computer to let me do something else.
So, on to other things.
I was thinking, we are getting close to the end of 2014, a year I described as my “Year of Ideas.” It was fully my intention to post on this every other Wednesday, but I never actually did it. Nevertheless, I learned a lot about the idea-generating process this year, and how I could be more “creative” and “generate more ideas.”
- Nothing is more crucial to the process than having deadlines. I decided that, starting July 1, I was going to do a post every day (maybe more, either on purpose or by accident). I have managed to do that despite having days when I have no idea what to write about.
- Quantity beats quality every time. Nothing kills the creative process like trying to come up with “good” ideas. I found I was coming up with an idea and immediately trying to decide whether or not it was a good one. As a friend of mine used to say, “Can’t be doin’ that!”
- There’s no such thing as a “bad idea.” Some ideas can be used as is, others can be stepping stones to useful ideas, and sometimes you can combine several ideas to create one or more useful ideas. You might have had an idea three years ago that wasn’t useful then but is now.
- Write ’em down. When you get an idea, write it down. When you hear about an idea, write it down. Evernote, OneNote, SimpleNote, Google Keep, even a notebook and a pen, use whatever tools you have to record your ideas. Don’t rely on your memory.
- It’s okay to use ideas that aren’t yours. Jazz musicians have collections of short musical passages that they heard someone else play in a solo that they want to use in their own solos. There’s a better than average chance that the person they took the idea from took it from someone else. Every story you write contains elements of stories you’ve read. It’s what we do.
I started the year believing getting ideas was some kind of mystical, magical art, and come out of it knowing that there’s no magic involved, just keeping your eyes and ears open and not prejudging anything before having a chance to try it out.
Like I said before, duh.