IDEAS! IDEAS! IDEAS!

Got any good ideas?

Ideas? What about them? How are you going to discuss ideas?

Well, imaginary reader voice, I always feel like there are small yet important issues, ones often overlooked by most, which are thrown aside as being akin to common knowledge or whatnot. I think the concept of ideas needs a good talking about, if you ask me. If you didn’t ask me, I don’t care. Ideas are one of these things.

For me there are two issues I seem to have at any given moment:

  1. Too many ideas or
  2. too few.

Both of these can present a problem to anyone, let alone someone who leans towards more creative ventures.

Let’s face it, ideas are important to have, and there are things to consider and think about when it comes to ideas. So, what am I going to do here? I’m going to start with where ideas come from. Then I’ll discuss what to do if you have too many. Lastly, I’ll talk about what to do if you don’t have any. If you’re wondering why, let’s just say that an idea struck me and I decided to go with it.

 

Where do ideas come from?

When a mommy and daddy idea love each other A LOT they get together and a stork comes cradling an infant idea wrapped in swaddling.

Seriously though. Um… Your brain? What do you want? No, I kid.

Typically, the only place you get ideas from is your life. I honestly can’t think of a better source or any others, for that matter. Your life is the wellspring of whatever you want to work on, even the style you are going to work on it with, and I mean this. I can guarantee Picasso went through a blue phase in both his art and his life. Whatever happens to you will impact your ideas.

This also goes along with the adage, “Write what you know.” You could argue that certain things like science fiction or fantasy don’t follow this, but if you’re writing people or humanoids in situations, you’re more than likely basing it off of your reality. Besides, how do you write what you don’t know? Don’t answer that.

Equally so, when producing visual arts, you base it off of what you know and see. Whether that’s nature or various geometric shapes that you may or may not tweak etc. Or it could be something you read about as well.

I digress. Now, moving on.

 

Have too many? What do?

Sell them? I’m sure you could make a profit from an overabundance of ideas, abstract as some of them are sure to be. Then you could take that profit and turn it into a principal investment. Are you familiar with stocks and bonds? Dividends? I don’t know what I’m talking about anymore.

Again, something resembling humor.

The truth is once life gives you those lemons, you should do something with them even if it’s only to squeeze it in someone’s eyes, but please don’t do that. Now, it’s not mandatory that you take action, but I would encourage it as long as it doesn’t harm anyone else.

The first thing I’d recommend doing when your head is swimming with ideas is to jot them all down. You don’t need to have any order to them unless you want to. Just get them out there, make them one step closer to existing. See them.

Once they’re visible, discern which are keepers and which are not. This can depend on you when making this decision. Most importantly, what are your intentions? Do you want ideas to make money? Do you want something you can do that would be good for you? Not that those two concepts are mutually exclusive, they tend to be, is all.

Once you’ve decided what ideas you want to pursue, you need to put them in the order of which you want to do going first, which is most important to you, followed by those that you think can wait or possibly be discarded as well. This requires further discernment. Then you go to it, tackling each one as you finish the one before them. There’s more to it than that, but that’s the gist of things.

 

Not Enough? I Know That Feel.

We’ve all been there, one way or another, in an idea draught or famine or other natural disaster where people are without something. This is a frustrating dilemma to be in, especially if you need an idea for work you are being paid to do.

I only have one recommendation for this: live. Stop trying to create, give yourself some space to breathe, and then do something unrelated to what you’re trying to do. That is, if you can afford to do so.

I’m not saying you need to risk your life and do something like skydiving. You don’t even have to fall in love for inspiration. Do chores or see a movie, for instance. This is similar to what I mentioned previously in this piece. Live! Everyone has to do it, and it’s the best muse you can have. I may be a bit biased, what with the whole being a nonfiction writer and all, but it’s a truth I’ve stuck to since I’ve started this crazy adventure. Writing.

Other options for those with deadlines include: Go for a (long) walk. Exercising is also helpful. Physical activity! These things help with creativity immensely. I know a lot of people have an aversion to these suggestions, but they do help. Studies have even shown a correlation between walking and creativity. Just look at this article published by Stanford University http://stanford.io/2393pff.

 

 

Concluding thoughts. Ideas?

I’d wish you all the best of luck with your ideas, but some of you may be competition for me. So, I hope you don’t fail miserably? Is that ok to say?

Anyway, Ideas are, as I said before, important to have. They’re important for literally everyone. I hope that this has helped you in some way, even if only as a form of amusement.

 

All the best,

Nathan

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You’re Mediocre? Ok Cool.


The average person in the U.S. has a 9 to 5 job or some equivalent, right? The average hours worked in the U.S. is about 34.4. Surprised? The average work week in Mexico is 42.85 hours. For Germany, it’s 26.37.[1]

You get up early. How early? Let’s say 6 o’clock EST[2]. You get ready, eat, finish the getting ready process, and then you leave.[3] You do it in this order exactly every day. You work 8 hours, maybe you work more, but not necessarily including a break. It could be you stock shelves, maybe you populate excel spreadsheets, or perhaps you teach people[4]. Whatever it is you do, you work. That’s for sure. You do this all day, every day[5].

Some are fortunate with a reprieve from the weekend. Hopefully you get at least one day off, but maybe you don’t. Maybe you don’t get any leave at all. Whatever the case, at the end of the day you come home, maybe you rest, you eat, perhaps you do a couple chores, you sit or lie down, watch a movie or television show, or you read. What you do, you do in the exact same order every day.

Occasionally you somehow manage to have the time to get out your computer and write. Or you get out your clay and sculpt or throw. Or you take out your paints and canvas and, well, paint. You do something creative. If you’re an artist, you’re going to have a normal, day job[6]. Some will have a night job, but a lot of creative types like to sleep. It’s nothing to be ashamed of.

The greatest downside is the damper a day job can place on your art, your craft, your passion, your life. You can feel so burned out when you come home that it’s difficult to muster the motivation to do anything. Or maybe you have a job you enjoy, but in this instance let’s assume you don’t. So, you wish you didn’t have to supplement your income this way. But the way a lot of countries have structured their economies, you have to do this. You know it’s mandatory, you weren’t born with a silver spoon in your mouth. No, no trust fund for you. You work hard, pay bills, play hard, create hard, hopefully. Hopefully, hopefully, hopefully…

You may find that when the day ends and you return home, you can’t create. Don’t worry. It’s not you. This is perfectly natural. And you won’t need to contact your doctor about creative dysfunction. You’ll need a break. What you may need is a vacation from work or a momentary lapse in art.[7] Another possibility is to create a schedule and push through the block, the burnout, the fuzziness.

If you find it too difficult or you feel too out of it, you might also want to consider getting a different day job. You can look through the internet or paper or etc. Do not feel ashamed. Your job isn’t your life, neither is your art, contrary to what a lot of people might think, and you can leave both if need be. That is, not your life but your job and your art/craft.

As a creative person, we all have to come to terms with this. You won’t always get that dream job[8]. And if you do, you’re probably an adjunct anyway. You will have to get another job or 2 somewhere else because the one you wanted doesn’t pay enough for you to survive. At no point in time will this not be ok.[9] You’re allowed to make a living and provide for yourself or other people, if you have any.

 

There are many thoughts on this. All are welcomed and encouraged. Share!

Epilogue/Post Script

You can look at the U.S. Bureau of Labor to see the average incomes of various types of artists. You should see how you compare. You should also know it doesn’t matter. It’s here [10]. Maybe one day you can claw and scratch enough to get up to these incomes. It’ll take a lot, especially if you’re not connected and considering all the competition, but it’s not impossible. It’s just not easy, and you have a high chance of failure. All that can be said is keep trying. What’s the point of giving up?

 

I wish you all the best of luck,

Nathan

 


[1] http://fortune.com/2015/11/11/chart-work-week-oecd/  It’s kind of crazy. You might think Germany would have ridiculously long and strict hours, but you have to remember that they’re European. They can only stick to one stereotype at an issue.
[2] I get up every day at 5:45AM. Even on weekends when I don’t work. Force of habit.
[3] Even when you leave a job, you may find it difficult to give up the routine.
[4] Indifferent people, most likely.
[5] Except for weekends for a lot of us.
[6] Most likely.
[7] I don’t recommend the latter, but I have seen it help people.
[8] As previously mentioned in the, uh, previous paragraph. I can tell you from experience that any sort of writing job is the hardest thing to break into. If you’re applying and don’t know at least one person, you’re, most likely, not getting that job.
[9] With exception to those that degrade your art or are illegal. I can’t really condone either.
[10] http://www.bls.gov/ooh/arts-and-design/home.htm