As an artist, where would you be without any creative ideas?
Ideas are the starting point for all creations, the spark that ignites the raging fires of creativity within you just waiting to express their beautiful and curious shapes out into the world.
So, it follows, that an artist without any ideas is like an ocean without water, or a meal without any food.
One of the biggest issues we have as creative people is feeling we don’t have enough good ideas to develop, or that we don’t have any ideas whatsoever. Obviously, this causes a major block in the flow of our creative projects and artwork that can last days, months, even years.
Here then is how to tap into the huge source of creative ideas that is at your fingertips, and how to stop them from slipping away:
- Accept that you have a constant flow of ideas. The first step is to realise that in fact it’s not that you don’t have any ideas that’s the problem. It’s that you don’t remember them. How many times have you been engaged in some mundane task like washing up the dishes or shopping, and an idea has struck you? You say to yourself: “Hey this has potential, I could really develop this into something. I’ll remember it, and come back to it later.” Sounds a sensible plan.
Unfortunately, later comes and goes, along with any trace of memory of your great idea. Yes you remember having a good idea, but you can’t remember what it was. As this happens time and time again, because you have no new ideas you remember, it feels for all intents and purposes like they never even come to you in the first place. Hence the feeling: “I NEVER have any good creative ideas!”
- Capture your ideas, without judgement. So the antidote to this frustrating feeling that you don’t ever have any ideas is to capture them when they do come to you. Carry with you a small notebook, or Ideas Journal, so you can jot down those new ideas as they hit you. Don’t keep falling into the “I don’t need to write it down, I’ll remember it” trap. That’s what causes so much frustration in the first place.
The other crucial element here is to capture your ideas without judgement. It’s easy to have an idea then discard it as not good enough, or not fully formed, or not interesting enough, before it’s had the chance to evolve. It’s like a football manager buying a new football player for his team, looking him up and down and deciding he’s never going to be any good, before he’s even kicked a ball! Write down ALL the ideas that come to you, you never know which will develop into the greatest creative projects.
- Follow the flow of your creative ideas. So you’ve realised you have more ideas than you thought, and are capturing them in your Ideas Journal. Pretty soon you’ll realise that the more ideas you have, the more this will breed further new ideas. Next then, is how to make use of this abundance of new ideas. Again there is a potential pitfall here that we often fall into.
If you have say ten pages of new ideas for a poem, and you set the restriction on yourself that you mustn’t waste a single idea, and you must work through them in the exact order you captured them, it’s likely to end in more frustration. You have to work with your natural creative flow. So, scan through the ideas in your Journal and take the first one that jumps out and excites you. Write it somewhere new, and close the Journal. Go with the energy of that idea, don’t keep thinking, “Hmm, yes this is a good idea, but what if there’s another one that’s slightly better?” Go with the inspiration of the first idea that stands out and begs to be explored.
Follow these 3 steps and you’ll find you have many more great ideas than you ever realised you could have, and you’ll stop them slipping through your fingers.
In fact, it’s likely you’ll have more ideas than you know what to do with, and for someone who recently believed they had NO creative ideas, what a brilliant position to be in!
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