Over the last few days I’ve had several ideas.  These are ideas I like to think of as strong, compelling, and useful as the seeds of novels (or at the very least, longer short stories).

Image: writetodone.com

Where did these ideas come from?  Did I pull them out, like some sword in a stone, or did I create them by main force?

Nope.  In fact, they just sort of happened.  I was thinking about something else, and these “strong” ideas just showed up.

To be fair, I cannot attribute this semi-quote… mostly because it has been attributed to too many people to be sure, but I like that it is said, “…90% of success is just showing up.”

That is how the ideas came.  They just showed up.  Now, I know that is not the meaning of the quote, but I find the idea compelling, nonetheless.

If ideas are willing to “just show up”, then what is needed by you, by me, and by anyone else interested in having ideas, is a willingness to receive them when they appear.

How easy is it to just say no to an idea?  To decide at first blush that the idea is tried, tired, sad, useless, or worse… and to let it go?  On the other hand, how much trouble is it to sit and think about the idea?

How difficult is it to mull it over, to let it sink in… and to see what develops.

I think a lot of what we call creativity is the same thing that some comics called “improvisation”.  The abundantly clever folk I’ve talked to have, for the most part, admitted that what others call improv is simply having a vast bank of trivia from which to make lightning-quick withdrawals.

Inspiration is, I think, just like that.  Inspiration is when we let a bit of this and a bit of that come together in the backs of our heads, and cause what feels like a new and useful idea to be born.

So, the trick to being inspired?  The trick to finding new ideas?

The trick?  The trick is to just sit back and let ‘em come.