Casting Around for Ideas

September 30, 2015

Rocks in a bowl

Rocks in a bowl

“I had to learn that finding an idea is a job.  If you’re going to do creative work, you have to invent a system to find ideas to make the work about.  That is a job in itself.

And where do ideas come from?  They come from other ideas.  And you have to surround yourself with things that are interesting to you and notice what’s exciting to you . . .

You cannot tell where things will lead.”
— Ira Glass, from Way More Than Luck:  Commencement Speeches on Living with Bravery, Empathy, and Other Existential Skills

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I am casting about for ideas for my next project.  I am looking for something meaty that I can delve into for a period of time, something a bit challenging, something engrossing, something that I might learn from.  I have several ideas floating around, and I’ve decided that I need to be a bit more rigorous in capturing them for more serious consideration.  So I’ve decided to keep a special idea notebook to write these fleeting ideas down.  Maybe that will help me feel less scattered.

In the meantime, I have not given up on my Armchair America travels through books, and I hope to resume the series in November as I prepare for a week’s vacation in New Orleans.  So I will soon be reading books by Louisiana writers or books that take place in Louisiana.  (Let me know if you have any recommendations.)




6 Responses to “Casting Around for Ideas”

  1. Jan Powers Says:

    Love your Blog – want to recommend “The House on First Street ” by Julia Reed for you – Jan

  2. Adrienne Says:

    Do occasionally share some of your notebook entries. I’ll enjoy learning of your quest and what you finally decide.
    Your asking for ideas brought back a childhood grade school memory. I was given a writing assignment and I asked my Mom for ideas. Every idea she gave me had no appeal for me and that made me feel so bad. I didn’t want to hurt her feelings and I was sorry I asked her. Of course,I now know it didn’t matter to my Mom.
    Rest assured, if I think of anything for you, I’ll tell you and don’t feel bad if it holds no interest!

  3. Janet McIntosh Says:

    I really enjoy your Travelling the States, as I describe it to friends, and am glad to hear you’re continuing it. Its random appearance is part of the joy!

  4. shoreacres Says:

    Oh, those ideas. That’s why my draft file is so important to me. Of course, I’m only dealing with posts, not projects, but stilll, everything that seems to have potential goes in there. Right now there are 138 “drafts.” Some might be only a title, or a quotation, but they sit there, and every now and then I browse through, adding to this one, throwing that one out.

    The key is up there in your quotation: “things that are interesting to you.” Emotion plays a role as much or more than thought: curiosity, especially. If something interests you enough, it will be big enough for a project. Or so I think.

  5. Carl Gansen Says:

    For me, Louisiana is music. My favorite of the old blues guitar men is Mississippi John Hurt.
    As far as casting around for ideas goes, ideas are plentiful. The tough part of the process usually is sifting through the gravel for the gems.
    Too often, we are inclined to ignore the fact that gravel has value too. I have had many of my successes from adding to the value of the ordinary things around me.
    Good luck on your search. I will watch my old friend with great interest.

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