During Best. Concert. Ever., Jonathan Coulton says that the question "where do you get your ideas?" isn't a good question. It's one that creative people everywhere get asked all the time. He goes on to say that "we don't know."
He's right that it's not a great question. What people really probably want to know is "how can I do what you do?" Honestly, the answer to that one is also "we don't know."
But I know. I know exactly where creative people get their ideas.
I've been pondering this since PAX. For three days I saw people who make games, people who make comics, people who write books, people who create Art, and a few who do all of the above. "Gabe" and "Tycho" are seriously some of the most creative people you will ever see. They're into it all.
Wil Wheaton talked about this recently too, although his point is somewhat different than mine. He's saying it's so easy to produce these days that there's really no barrier (or excuse not) to create things yourself.
But back to the all-important, "where do you get your ideas?" / "How do I do that?"
I know how. Ideas... They come from other ideas. They percolate in your mind. Your mind that absorbs everything you see and hear. There's a saying that all art is derivative, and to certain degree it's totally true. You have an Idea already. You've seen and heard things that you'd like to build on in some way.
Here's the other thing, the big secret: Once you start creating, you won't be able to stop. Your one Idea will open the floodgates to all the others locked in your head. Executing one project, be it a painting, a story, a piece of jewelery or a D&D adventure, will hook you. Something will happen during the creation process, something that leads you to the Next Idea. Repeat ad infinitum.
How do you figure out what your Idea is? Time, space and quiet. Your everyday stress of going to work, raising your kids, paying your bills and being sociable with your friends is drowning out the Idea voice. All those "left-brain" activities sap your energy so that your "right-brain" can't get a word in edgewise.
If you want to be creative, you need to make time for it. It sounds silly to say "schedule your time for inspiration!" but it just might work. Also, the next time you take a vacation, stay home. Do nothing. Don't plan anything. Let your brain take you where IT wants to go.
But really, all it takes is one Idea. Go make something. No one will laugh, even if it's just a LOLcat.
Clearly I hadn't been updating the ol' blog in some time. I haven't been able to get Blogger to play nice with my server, so nothing really got updated.
I'll be using this space in the times to come to post gaming stuff, art and whatnot I work on and whatever else I feel like doing.
My "blogging" has been going on (seldom) over at LiveJournal. To your left you'll see my Twitter feed. Enjoy.
Some stuff about our current gaming (D&D 4th Edition) is going on here.
All Content © 2011 by Ariel K Phifer