“Where do your ideas come from?” Believe it or not, I get asked this question a lot. And it never ceases to baffle me. I am usually swarmed with a barrage of ideas that come so thick and fast, that a more appropriate question is “How do you keep your ideas at bay?”
I recently saw a quote from Peter Brown—“If you want to be successful you have to be an idea factory and not just stuck on one idea.” And it struck me, that’s what I am. I am an idea factory! It was so nice to have a name to go with my affliction. Because affliction it is. I don’t need more ideas. I need to figure out how to shut my idea factory up in the middle of the night.
Because even though my body is supposed to be sleeping, the little cogs and wheels inside my head just don’t seem to want to cease their spinning. They click and whir even in my dreams. Funnily enough, some of my best ideas, writing and otherwise, have come from my dreams. That thrum that is busy processing away all the stuff from my day, often comes up with some pretty interesting stuff. Far more interesting, I’m ashamed to admit, than most of the ideas I dream up while I’m awake.
But I’m working on it. I am trying to harness my idea factory for good. I am trying to focus on a few decent ideas, and even more importantly see them through. It means, I have to put the idea factory on hold for a while. I have to go through the long slog of rewrites and edits and polishing those old ideas until they shine. I have an idea factory support group, though. I have fantastic critique partners to help me focus, and to whip me back in line when the draw of those sparkly new ideas becomes difficult to resist.
Because if you want to be successful, you don’t just need to be an idea factory, you have to actually finish an idea.
So tell me, what’s your idea factory like and what’s your biggest challenge when it comes to ideas?