Where do you get your ideas?

If you stuff yourself full of poems, essays, plays, stories, novels, films, comic strips, magazines, music, you automatically explode every morning like Old Faithful.

—Ray Bradbury the author of one of my favorite books of all time, Martian Chronicles.

I’ve heard time again, one of the most common questions asked writers and other creatives is, “Where do you get your ideas?”

But to most of the responses are along the lines of “Thinking up ideas aren’t the problem. Choosing which ones to use is.” (A good example can be seen in The Writer’s “Prolific Novelists on How It’s Done,” Oct. 2011.)

Bradbury’s right there with them. His quote continues, “I have never had a dry spell in my life, mainly because I feed myself well, to the point of bursting. I wake early and hear my morning voices leaping around in my head like jumping beans. I get out of bed quickly, to trap them before they escape.”

On a similar note, The Art of NonConformity’s Chris Guillebeau urges creatives not to hold onto their ideas—use them right away. He wrote about this in his post (Never) Save It For Later in response to fear that, if he doesn’t hold onto the best ideas he has for the right moment, he may not have another one as good the next time he needs one. “The fun thing about creativity: the more you use, the more you get,” he wrote.

So don’t worry about where your next great idea will come from. Surround yourself with information from your industry and content that you love, and trust your mind. The ideas will come.


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