Where Do Good Ideas Come From?

Where do your best ideas come from? I always get my ideas for my next blog post or piece of fiction while in the middle of doing something else. As of late, the shower, the treadmill, and my bed have been my greatest sources for finding inspiration for writing. It’s in these places that the part of my brain that generates ideas can finally relax and spew out ideas as it pleases. If I sit down at a blank computer screen and say, “Write! Write! Write!” there’s too much pressure to produce. But, if I’m standing in the shower focusing on getting the perfect shampoo lather for my hair, the pressure’s off and ideas are born!

Do you have a specific writing ritual that is conducive to coming up with great ideas? I’ve always been interested by the unique writing rituals of famous authors. My writing rituals aren’t too quirky (yet)–I like to write while sitting cross-legged on my bed, on the floor of my living room, or while sipping a glass of Sauvignon blanc. Here’s a look at some of my favorite writing rituals of famous authors:

Perhaps it’s time to adopt a quirkier writing ritual. I used to be very particular about the kinds of pens that I used when writing, but that habit has dissolved now that most of my writing is done on the computer. Maybe I should create some sort elaborate writing den in my apartment. Or incorporate sitting in Central Park or maybe a long stroll down Park Avenue into my daily writing routine.

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9 thoughts on “Where Do Good Ideas Come From?”

  1. I agree, fear is also a good motivator! Sometimes I read what I’ve written aloud before posting to make sure that it flows and makes sense. That’s also a great way to find grammatical errors.

  2. I’ll admit, I do like to sit down to write with a glass of wine in hand. But, sometimes that’s just not practical.

    I love sitting cross-legged on the couch — or sitting in the sun-drenched living room with a cup of coffee. Coffee shops also work for me.

    When it comes to process, I find that writing down random thoughts on the topic and then shifting around the paragraphs sometimes helps if I’m having a bit of writer’s block. This is a “newfangled” trick, since writing on the computer makes it a lot easier to rearrange thoughts!

  3. Lo–I agree, coffee is also a necessity in the process. I love writing with a good cup of coffee. The computer has certainly made it easier to rearrange ideas. Scott, you bring up a good point about how a lot of the good writing happens in the edit. It’s important to vomit that word salad first and then get rid of the ideas that don’t work.

    I had a creative writing teacher who always advised us not to stop ourselves before we start. It can be easy to filter your ideas in your head, but the important thing is to get them all down and rearrange/edit them later.

  4. I found simply making time to write is important. Creativity has to be practiced to be sharp. So make writing time as regular as you would eating times.

    Like you, I do most of my writing that will be shared with others on the computer. I type faster than I write with a pen (Zebra F-701, fine, black) and it is easier to read.

    The idea of just getting words on the page and sorting them out later is very solid. I tend to start, then start again, then start again, not deleting those false starts until something else takes root.

    The most important habit I have to writing is that I carry a moleskine journal with me and write ideas down when they strike me. Being prepared to write sets the stage for the writing itself.

  5. You’re right, making time to write is the most important. I must find more time to write and be more regimented about my writing.

    I use the notepad on my iPhone a lot to record ideas as they strike me. I used to carry a small notebook, but I don’t always have a large enough purse to keep it in (lame excuse, I know). You make another great point, being prepared to write sets the stage for writing itself!

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