I’m not sure if you know this, but this past Monday was Rex Manning Day. An exciting time for any Empire Records fan, it gives us one more excuse to quote random lines to our friends.
One of my favorites?
However, despite my love of saying this, I don’t actually believe thoughts just appear out of nothing. At least not the majority of them. I get the occasional rando-s whose path I can’t trace, but for the most part, if I think something I can generally figure out what prompted it. Even if it takes a few minutes – and it's not at all clearly linear.
For instance, the other day I was packing up some books and got to a shelf with a few X-Files novels and began singing Shania Twain’s “Man, I Feel Like a Woman.” At first, these are two completely unrelated things, until I remember that I got the first of the novels when I was visiting my cousins in Washington state. And while I was out there, they taught my sister and I to line dance to Ms. Twain. Hence, seeing the book and singing the song.
This same process holds true for story ideas. Sometimes I feel as though they just appear to me out of no where, but if I go back and really think about it, I can usually determine what spurred things along. Which is really beneficial because then when I’m feeling stuck I have ideas as to what inspires me, giving me a place to start my creative searches.
Here are a few of my tried and true Idea Stations:
- Movies from my childhood
o Particularly cartoon musicals. They put me back in the mindset of believing that anything’s possible and once I’m feeling that way, it’s easier to create pathways through difficult plot points.
o When I was a kid, I used to like to watch people talking and try to make up conversations for them based on their facial expressions and mannerisms. No better place to people watch than an airport. Plus airports have such a wealth of emotions – anticipation or dread of a coming journey, relief or disappointment at the end of a trip.
- Painting ceramics
o It calms the mind, making it easier to fix the problems that have been tripping me up. Also, I get to take something home….like this bitchin’ flying saucer nightlight:
A fabulous addition to any home.
So, when you feel like you’re running in circles ideas-wise, where do you go to get untangled?