Every month, I publish an answer to a reader’s question. Here’s a transcript of my answer to the 27th reader question I’ve answered so far. It’s about how to come up with ideas:
Hi Lisanne, I wonder where do writers get their ideas from. How do you come up with ideas?
It always appears to me that time flies when you are into adulthood, and time passes by so slowly when you’re a kid. I remember the excitement I felt about the “firsts” in my life. My first party, the first holiday outside Europe, the very first kiss… These moments fuel an excitement that manifest in pure creativity.
I’ve found that most of my ideas come to me when I’m experiencing something new. From making a trip to a country I have never been to before, having a conversation with someone, or hearing strangers at an airport talk about their lives. By doing things that I haven’t done before, or when I dramatically fail at something.
I believe that if I keep doing new things that engage me on some level on a regular base, the more the inspiration and ideas keep coming and flowing. Life experience is also a bit required, and part of the writing job. The fuller the life of personal experiences, the richer the imagination becomes. You can tap into that imagination and use it whenever needed for telling a story and building worlds in peoples minds.
And so, fleeting observations can come from anywhere. As Neil Gaiman describes in the clip below, we don’t exactly know where it comes from. But making sure that you live a full life with meaning and purpose and a bit of adventure, most likely activates something inside that could be of use to the writing process.
Author Neil Gaiman received the same question in 2011 from someone in the audience, and I think he perfectly describes it. I’ve embedded the clip below. As Neil mentions, the ideas come to you when you’re doing something else, most of the time. Gaiman also has a wonderful blog by the way, it’s called Neil Gaiman’s Journal.
Thank you for reading. This reader’s question is part of the Ask Me Anything series. I´d love to answer more of your interesting questions and get a sense of your interests. If you have questions to extend this Ask Me Anything section, please let me know. I like to hear from you. Send me your question via [email protected]
Here is a list of the last 3 readers’ questions I’ve answered:
- #26 reader question: How to read more books
- #25 reader question: An odd habit of mine
- #24 reader question: Feelings of home