The creative mind works in mysterious ways. Sit down with a blank writing pad and a pen, specifically to generate new ideas, and you'll often find that your brain refuses to co-operate. Suddenly it remembers that irritating chore you were supposed to do before heading off on flights of fancy. Or it'll clam up altogether, and you'll draw alien spiders instead.
I've had two week-long holidays this year. Each time, I was in a foreign country, determined to clear my head of all the stuff which normally whirls around it. But oh no, my brain was having none of it. On roughly Day Four of each break, a more-or-less fully-formed screenplay drama concept marched into my consciousness and demanded attention. So loud were these concepts' demands, that I was forced to write frenzied notes, until the madness stopped. I came back from the first holiday with an issue of Broadcast covered in blue-ink notes, written wherever there was white space. For the second holiday, I was wise enough to take a notepad.
The two ideas which hit me on these breaks are now the crowning jewels of my TV spec portfolio, while still undergoing development. Yet, if I'd sat down and tried to conjure them up, there's every chance they wouldn't have materialised.
I also find that the gym does incredible things to the creative mind (see The Writer & The Endorphin, my post from last September). Loads of ideas strike me while I'm running on a treadmill. This afternoon, while I was listening to a load of heavy metal and watching myself running courtesy of a mirrored wall, I had idea after idea for Blood Red Sky, the next feature-script project for director Dan Turner and I. This blog-post, then, is a mere warm up for a frenzied writing bout which will follow.
So where and when, dear vivacious reader, do ideas tend to hit you?
I'd say keep it clean, but I really don't want you to.