Hooking new ideas (Archived)

Is there anything more exciting then our thoughts snagging up against a fresh, shiny new idea? That wriggle of inspiration that hooks out attention, then yanks us down the hallowed path of pondering, daydream and creativity. In the last few blog posts I have shared tips of activities I use to slip free from the snark of my internal editor and lose myself in the joy of creation.

Another tried and tested strategy I use to tickle forth fresh new ideas is listening to music — but not just any music: unfamiliar music outside my usual genre.

Anyone who knows me outside this blog knows I am a terrible music snob. Music outside my preferred genre grates at my nerves, like nails down a chalk-board. I have a very narrow and particular taste in music. When I listen to this style of music I fall into it, I lose myself in the current.

On rare occasions (once or twice a week) I will deliberately listen to something on the radio. This is always something that is… well, let’s call it aged (like fine cheese) and off an AM radio station. It needs to be something I have never heard before.

I hear these songs differently to the ones I listen to for recreational purposes. In the flow of unfamiliar (and often jarring) music, the lyrics snag my mind in a different way. When I am not losing myself in the music itself, I pay more attention to what is being said in the lyrics and how it is being said. Words, phrases, the images they provoke… this often spins me into a fresh new story idea or allows me to jump around a place in my writing where I was feeling stuck or stale.

I am a big believer in flooding ourselves with sensations, thoughts, materials and ideas that are outside out usual channel of experiences. Despite the vast array of information and materials available to us, our worlds can continue to be very small. We socialise with people we have things in common with, we go places that are familiar, we do activities that we enjoy and that we’re good at, we skim news articles for things we are interested in and switch off or skim across things that bore us or we don’t agree with.

New sensations, ideas, experiences and things that challenge, bore or provoke us colour our lives in fresh, clashing new shades.

What new spice, facet or experience would it take to jump-start your creativity or skip you out of a block or stale patch? What activities tickle your creativity? What games or routines could you use to hook fresh, vibrant new ideas?

(Posted: 26 Jan 2020. Follow me at: https://nicolewalshauthor.com/)

Nicole writes short stories and novel length speculative fiction and a weekly blog https://nicolewalshauthor.com/ or www.facebook.com/nicolewalshauthor