The Art of Creativity Part 2: Where Do Your Ideas Come From?
Artists are creative people, but even Michelangelo and Rembrandt, even Taylor Swift had what is called writer’s block, or, rather, its painter-equivalent. We assume artist have endless ideas to create new works, but truth is, even artists have their dry periods.
I’ve been writing stories since I could type on a typewriter, and wrote my first fantasy story when I was 8. After 30 years of life, I remember times in my life where I didn’t write a page for years — sadly that happened quite recently in the past. I wrote a 66,000-word novel in my teens, and suddenly the 8 years following college, I barely wrote a page of fiction. I wrote blogs, essays, and work documents, but I didn’t pick up a pen to write a fictional story, which is odd because I think the novel is more my forte than any other piece of creative work. I enjoy reading and writing novels. However, unlike books, there’s nothing linear about where I get my ideas from. It’s a mess of spirals and tangents. Over my lifetime as a writer I drew ideas from lots of places, including the following.
The People Around Me:
- friends and family
- classmates whose company I enjoyed
- bus-mates I hated (more like bus bullies)
- cousins, aunts, and uncles
The People I Used to Watch:
- cartoon characters
- songs by pop stars, boybands, R&B artist, alternative, and punk bands
- TV show characters (You can see my list of movies and TV shows I’ve had the opportunity to watch and rate on IMDB here.)
The Sights I Saw:
- movie scenes
- city landscapes – real or fiction
Those are just some of the places I get ideas, but more than those I think ideas for me teem from my own experiences:
- experiences reading a book
- experiences in different schools I’ve attended (in different states, and colleges)
- experiences in different community events
- traveling experiences
- stories other people have been generous enough to share with me
Whenever I got stuck, and tried something new, a few days, or weeks after, I would discover new ideas to write about, for example:
- One of my stories ideas came from my walking into a hotel casino
- Another driving 35 miles for a concert when I was in high school
- Still another from reading the Harry Potter series from cover to cover 3 times
- walking down the French district of New Orleans
- attending a Jewish Yom Kippur event at my university
- Playing Zelda: Orcarnia of Time on Nintendo 64 while eating Ritz crackers
- viewing dragon artwork by members on DeviantArt.com
All in all, I think ideas come most of all, from DOING things. They say, “write what you know.” I feel like the best way to know something is to do it.
I know it’s a been a while since I started this series. I hope you’ve been enjoying it so far. The last part is coming up soon, so keep your eyes peeled for more on creativity. If you’re a creative person, or want to be more creative, please let me know if this has been helpful to you. Also, let me know places where you get ideas, you don’t have to be specific as I know artists are protective of their ideas, but I know it would help out the other artists and writers reading this to hear about your ways to getting new ideas without giving away anything specific to your works of art.
Meanwhile, thanks for reading. Take care, and be artistic!