|A day without fresh ideas feels like an endless desert highway.|
This article from prolific freelancer Nicole Dieker (who says she writes an astonishing 20 to 30 new pieces a week) offers several useful tips for generating a consistent flow of ideas. My favorite: The List, an ongoing list of ideas I'd like to write about someday. I keep mine in a small spiral-bound notebook on my desk, but I should probably start carrying it around with me, as I seem to get my best ideas when I'm away from home. I never know when inspiration will strike.
One of my writer friends says she has a terrible time keeping track of paper lists, so she speaks her ideas into a small, hand-held recorder that she carries with her at all times.
But both the notebook and the recording device merely record ideas . . . they don't generate them.
In her classic book on creativity The Artist's Way, Julia Cameron recommends a weekly Artist Date, where you take yourself to an unfamiliar environment or try out a new activity for the express purpose of "filling the well" to stimulate creativity, from visiting a new-to-you section of your city, to browsing a gallery, to spending time out in nature, to trying out a new tool or technique. I think her suggestion makes a lot of sense, but I've not yet been able to discipline myself to take myself on a regular Artist Date. They tend to happen at random.
As a writer, how much pressure do you feel to come up with new ideas? What are some of your favorite tips and tricks for generating fresh ones?