Life Coach Magazine

Where Do You Get Your Ideas?

By Writerinterrupted @writerinterrupt

Where Do You Get Your Ideas?


“Where do you get your ideas?”

Why is this seemingly innocent question so often cited as the most annoying to creative people? As the first question to come to mind, it is over-asked and comes out sounding thoughtless, both of which are enough to make it bothersome. Beyond that, questions about ideas are difficult to answer. Even if you remember exactly what triggered an idea, the origin story is seldom as interesting as the work it precedes.

Perhaps the question is so widely hated mainly because ideation plays such a small, if crucial, role in the making of a finished product. We yearn for original ideas and the euphoric moment in which they occur, and yet ideas have so little practical value that they cannot be protected by copyright until they exist in a tangible form. The question incorrectly assumes that coming up with the idea is the hard part.

Ideas start with experiences, from epiphanies of the similarities in dissimilar things to seeking sense in the contradictions life poses. Hopefully, they do not also end there. Beyond the initial spark, ideas undergo examination and testing before anything comes of them. Some will be discarded after a little exploration; others grow as understanding of their possibilities increases.

In short, ideas are found abundantly in daily living but to have any practical value, they require expression. Just as faith without works is dead, ideas are of little use without the work it takes to convey them. What separates the writers from the merely observant? James 1:22 exhorts believers to be doers of the word, not just hearers, and just so the writers are the ones who actually do the work of sitting down at the keyboard and putting one word after another. It won’t stop well-meaning readers from asking the question, but just as important as where ideas come from is where they go. After the light bulb moment passes, it’s time to be a doer, and write.

Lord, where the expression of ideas overlaps with the expression of my faith, let my works – written and otherwise – be as both ministry and worship. 

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