Inventing a New Idea

  • “How do you get new ideas?”
  • “What if you run out of ideas?”

These are questions writers and other creative people like inventors, entrepreneurs and advertising types fret over now and then. It’s all good while it’s going OK and you have ideas and yet more thoughts for ideas in the background and jotted down in your notebooks (of some kind). What happens when you hit a dry spell, find yourself in a dry rut without an oasis of an idea?

Look outside yourself. That’s how you get started. Inside our own heads we just have our own brains. We recycle a lot of the same information, moving it around into different patterns, combinations and coming up with results we can use. Everyone gets to a dead end now and then. It only makes sense that the human brain, even a greatly creative one, will find itself needing more input, outside of itself.

Try talking to someone. Family, friends, complete strangers, it doesn’t really matter (avoid the ax murderer types). Find someone who disagrees with you about an issue. Don’t argue your point too hotly. Listen instead. Find the truth in their version of things. What makes it sound logical and right to them. If you stop to listen you will find that outside input. If you just keep talking you will only hear yourself. You already know what you think.

Try reading something, at random. Don’t look for something you already know about. Don’t look for something you you were already interested in. Find something new to you and learn about it. Pick up a magazine about small engine repair if the closest you’ve come to repair is changing the battery in your watch. Pick up the newspaper, fold the pages back and read something that would usually seem boring to you in the financial or political pages. Take out the dictionary and begin a word safari: track down a word completely new to you that has some kind of bizarre meaning and dig deeper to find the history of the word and how it was used in it’s past.

Try taking yourself away. Go somewhere you haven’t been before. Not a place you wanted to go but didn’t have time, nothing so practical or planned. Seek out a new experience and a new location. Take your own journey through time and space. You might try urban or rural exploration. Or you could go to the local museum if you have never been the museum or art gallery type before. Go to watch people set up model trains or fly paper airplanes, there are all kinds of unusual hobbyists who would not mind an audience and someone with enthusiasm to learn more. If you don’t like shopping go to a boutique and take a look at designer shoes, baby clothes or something else you would never have an interest in on any ordinary day.

Good luck and best wishes. At the very least you will not have a dull time of it.

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