I love this image. I found it at Wikimedia Commons and fell in love with the symmetry and the way the colors complement each other, so opposite and yet so pleasing. It inspires my creativity, pushes away the subconscious boundaries we set for ourselves in our daily lives. It makes me wonder what lies beyond the borders. What mysterious thing could be waiting there for me to discover?
When people first learn I am an author with no day job, the first thing they ask (after what the heck are you thinking) is where I get ideas for my tales. I usually give them some song-and-dance about adapting modern relationships and values to mythological world situations, and while it’s true, it’s not the whole truth.
The truth is, these things just pop into my head, and I think “Wow – that would be a good story.” I will be riding in the car listening to music, not thinking about anything in particular, and have a flash of brilliance – What if the dark ages never happened? Or How would Europe look if the Druids had conquered Europe instead of the Romans?
If I am smart, I will write the idea down, because I’m 64 years old and the old harddrive is full—too many cute kitty pictures and Weird Al videos, with no room for anything else.
The flow of random thoughts really is the river of creativity for me. Having the time to just sit and daydream is as rare as the March sun around here, but it does happen, and that is when my ideas come to me. Letting your mind roam free and allowing the possibilities to enter your stream of consciousness (or not, as they will) is good for you. Fifteen or twenty minutes a day of simply watching the world go by will rejuvenate you.
Some people will say, “I don’t have time to waste daydreaming,” and that’s all right for them. I personally need to throw open the windows of my mind and let the breezes clear away the musty ideas which get in the way of my creativity. For me, the path to writer’s block is paved with “I don’t have time to relax!”
Don’t get me wrong, I get up at 6:30 am and immediately begin blogging. After noon I read for several hours and then I do revisions or work on my current Work In Progress. I read before I go to sleep. I do two weekly book review blogs besides this blog and all in all I work 10 to 16 hours a day at this job, but it is interspersed with various household tasks and errands. I also take the time to let my mind rest, simply watching the town go by from my porch.
Some people call it meditation, and some people call it a waste of time. I call it necessary. I think of my mind as if it were an ‘idea farm.’ Just as a wise farmer allows his fields to occasionally lie fallow, it’s important to let your mind rest. Letting farmlands lie fallow is one of the best ways of allowing the land to replenish its nutrients, and regain its fertility. Letting your mind roam with no particular direction is essential in lowering your stress levels (!) which immediately improves your health and your thought processes.
So I suppose when I am asked where I get ideas for my tales I should tell them the truth:
I don’t really know!
Credits and Attributes
Bruges, View from Rozenhoedkaai, blue hour. By Arcalino / Wikimedia Commons /
Wikimedia Commons contributors, “File:Bruegge View from Rozenhoedkaai.jpg,” Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Bruegge_View_from_Rozenhoedkaai.jpg&oldid=198969137 (accessed July 28, 2017). Photo: Arcalino / Wikimedia Commons, via Wikimedia Commons