How to survive drowning in ideas

writer boardOne of the advantages of having an active imagination is that ideas flow freely and there is an abundance of them in the storehouse. The disadvantage of having an active imagination is that ideas flow freely and there is an abundance of them in the storehouse. See what I did there? It’s a paradox. And it makes it damn hard to concentrate on the project at hand when there are so many other thoughts buzzing through the brain.

I am certain I am not the only one who has this problem. The thing is, though, how many original ideas are there, really? I read Stephen King had said that “there are only four good ideas and we keep expanding on them.” That may be a little bit of an exageration but he’s right, in a way. There are so few original ideas that even the ones we have that we THINK are original can be atributed, at least in similarity, to a writing, movie, screenplay or some sort of artistic production somewhere in the past, even if it is quite obscure.

I would say that I have anywhere from three to six ideas pop into my head on any given day. Some of them are really silly and some of them are pretty good. All I can say is what I do is write a brief sentance, sometimes incomplelte sentance – just thoughts – on my dry erase board. Now, not all of the thougths make it to the board. Herman Melville said “Genius is full of trash.” In other words, not all of the ideas are keepers. I keep working on my project at hand and whatever ideas are still lingering at the end of that session, I THEN write them up there as notes. I leave that board behind my office door so I can cover it up with the door and not be tempted to look at it while I’m working on a project.

I’m no experet and whatever works for you, let it work. And if it does work, share if you don’t mind. We can all use help in this world of writing.

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