A lot of writers go around saying that they can’t find anything to write about.
Ideas are everywhere; I promise.
Just this week there was a headline on theslate.com that read, “Two ‘masked bandits’ raid California bank, and they didn’t want money, officials say.”
The masked bandits were actually raccoons who broke into Redwood City Bank though it was closed.
They were reported when a guy using an ATM said he saw a stuffed animal moving around inside the bank. Humane society officials were called and the raccoons played tag for about ten minutes before letting the humans catch them.
They think the raccoons gained entry via a tree, then some airducts. Then they broke out some ceiling tiles, messed up some of the man’s papers and tipped over a computer. They did not get hurt. They did not take any money. Maybe they took a wall calendar or a you just opened a new checking account gift, but we aren’t sure.
So, you know that this is definitely a picture book or an early reader, right?
That’s the thing, ideas are everywhere.
During his TedTalk, Steven Johnson said
“We take ideas from other people, people we’ve learned from, people we run into in the coffee shop, and we stitch them together into new forms and we create something new. That’s really where innovation happens. And that means we have to change some of our models of what innovation and deep thinking really looks like, right?”
In another TedTalk, writer Elizabeth Gilbert talks about how ancient Greeks believed that creativity didn’t come from us humans, but from daemons, “divine attendant spirits.” Socrates was really into that. And the Romans, she says, called these spirits “genius.”
Ideas are genius.
Ideas were separate from us and we weren’t responsible for them. Imagine if we believed that now.
You don’t need to stress about your process is the point. Your ideas will come. You can ask them to show up. And you don’t need to be afraid of those ideas coming or going. You just have to write, paint, sing, and allow your brain, your genius, your daemon to do the work. It can only do that if you show up to do the work, too.
Smithsonian Magazine says,
“The innovative drive lives in every human brain, and the resulting war against the repetitive is what powers the colossal changes that distinguish one generation from the next, one decade from the next, one year from the next. The drive to create the new is part of our biological makeup. We build cultures by the hundreds and new stories by the millions. We surround ourselves with things that have never existed before, while pigs and llamas and goldfish do not.”
They go on to say,
“Just as nature modifies existing animals to create new creatures, so too the brain works from precedent. More than 400 years ago, the French essayist Michel de Montaigne wrote, “Bees plunder the flowers here and there, but afterward they make of them honey, which is all theirs … Even so with the pieces borrowed from others; he will transform and blend them to make a work of his own.” Or as modern science historian Steven Johnson puts it, “We take the ideas we’ve inherited or that we’ve stumbled across, and we jigger them together into some new shape.””
How cool is that? Creativity is about altering and twisting memory.
WRITING TIP OF THE POD
Stop being so damn afraid. When ideas come, grab them. Just say yes.
DOG TIP FOR LIFE
Our biggest internal issue is living in fear. Go balls to the walls. Smell everything. Wag your tail. Lick things (with consent). Live.
The music we’ve clipped and shortened in this podcast is awesome and is made available through the Creative Commons License.
Here’s a link to that and the artist’s website. Who is this artist and what is this song? It’s “Summer Spliff” by Broke For Free.
And we have a new podcast, LOVING THE STRANGE, which we stream live on Carrie’s Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn on Fridays. Her Facebook and Twitter handles are all carriejonesbooks or carriejonesbook.
Here’s the link. This week’s podcast is all about strange things people do for luck.