Monday, March 1, 2010
Where To Begin?
We talk a lot about revising a manuscript, but what about beginning? Not the hook of the first line, mind you, but what to work on. The idea.
I am between books. I can work on anything. So, the process of beginning begins again. Usually I start the new by sifting through the old. I go through my journals of words and sketches to see if there is anything in there that I may have overlooked—anything I did while I wasn’t really thinking. Usually it is in these sketchbook/journals where I find my best work—a doodle, a word here and there. I may look at it from a slightly new place in life and find the connection that will make it zing. I even go through old, old, old work—stuff I did in pre-school when I was truly uninhibited (as seen in the attached images. Just to show you what I can REALLY do.)
Sometimes it really does seem as though all we ever need to know we learned between the ages of 2-12—especially when it comes to creativity. All of our beginnings and inspirations came so easily then. Don’t get me wrong—I am not saying that ideas come from my childhood, rather they come from the old mixed with the new, combined with a heavy dose of imagination, assembled into something logical but just as fresh.
A common question for authors is: Where do ideas come from? As if that is some well-kept secret that we writers have the answer to, maybe we don’t even know. This is my simple answer: Ideas come from other ideas. Ideas come while I am working. I may be writing a blog entry, a letter, doodling at a lecture, and I combine one or two of these incongruous elements into an idea I want to work on further. I try it. I see. I try something else. And the one that grabs me will come eventually. The world is chock full of ideas, they are all around you right now. Work begets work.