The Creative Mind

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.

15 comments:

MJ said...

In the shower, and for some reason, in traffic jams. I try not to get those 2 things mixed up.

AndrewT said...

Yep shower here too. Need to get one of those underwater pens. The other time is usually when listening to music and half asleep.

Salina said...

Your timing on posting this was perfect. In the middle of something completely different I had a whole story come to me today and I had to write it out. It could have been one of those thoughts that gets put aside for later I think I'll chip away at it and enter it into a competition that's coming up. I always give a bunch of reasons why I shouldn't but this time I'm going to say I should because it might actually be good.

Good words of inspiration. Thank you.

Michael said...

Washing up. I get the evening meal going, then wash the pots that have accumulated throughout the day (or from the night before). It doesn't seem to work for new ideas, but it's when I get ideas for dialogue, or new scenes, for anything I'm working on at the time.

Andy Conway said...

You take Broadcast on holiday with you?

Sometimes I just don't know who you ARE.

Jason Arnopp said...

Now then, Andy, don't be upset. I would've taken your Screenwriters' Bulletin, if it were a magazine.

Salina, glad to have been of help!

William Gallagher said...

My very best time is when I've been asked for ideas: there's something about a deadline that really works for me.

But in the middle of a tale, it's always a long motorway drive that does it. Very un-green of me.

Dave said...

I'm lucky enough to have a quiet swimming pool next to where I work and that seems to be great for stroking my right hemisphere. If you can't afford an isolation chamber, I'd definitely recommend it.

Jennifer said...

Usually when I should be doing actual work related things. Or on a train, just at the point when i discover the pen I have doesn't work.

Oh and kudos on getting a mention for the Exorcist the Fifth in this weeks Heat. I did chuckle to myself

Piers said...

Er... doesn't everyone take Broadcast on holiday with them, then?

It's just the thing for plane journeys...

Piers said...

And: on the bus.

It's usually a dirty, dirty bus, if that's any help?

Quite filthy. Yes.

Elinor said...

No filth here thank you, I get my best ideas when skivvying. I've even started dreaming in three acts. I think I should get out more.

Hannah B said...

On trains; when going off on lil' walkies; in the shower/bath (what *is* it about water?)...

Best ideas, though, come to me when I have a really pressing deadline for something else. Which is a bitch. A right proper filthy bitch. There. I said it.

Rach said...

Just after I've turned the MP3 off but before I'm snapped awake by the feeling I'm dropping into an abyss. (Or is that just me?)

Dave said...

Ideas come to me wherever I happen to be when something dies and fills with enough decompositional gasses to bob to the surface in the swamp of primordial soup that passes for my brain.

I do get quite a few ideas while doing my day job. Partly because my head is usually somewhere else but mostly because my day job encourages cerebral decomposition.

Actually I think it has something to do with the radio being on all day. Music is great for putting you in a particular mood. But I think it’s also about hearing bits and pieces of conversations on the radio and between fellow inmates. The randomness of it all is what forces my brain to make connections.