Whatever you do, write down your ideas!

Whether you use voice recorders, sketch books, or good old pen and paper, it’s imperative that you write your creative ideas down as soon as they come to you. Even in the process of putting an idea together, writing down thoughts as they come to you is crucial in the development process, not to mention in retaining what you originally envisioned.

We’ve all got different creative processes. For me, a first idea has a very special quality. I feel like I’ve got some kind of spiritual connection to it, simply because it is the first idea. Therefore, I’m inclined to believe it’s got a certain “rightness” to it. This has been a barrier in the past when I’ve had to give up original ideas because they’ve taken me down so many other more sensible avenues. It’s like I’ve removed the soul of my work. But we should treat ideas as catalytic, not as definitive or discrete. Controlling the direction of our ideas is the healthiest thing to do for our creative voices. After all, creation is the process of combining chance, heart, sensibility, and logic.

But the feeling I get when an idea comes to me is so overwhelming sometimes that even writing it down cannot express it well enough. That doesn’t mean I shouldn’t try. I thought of a simple sentence the other day (“This is my arm.”) that immediately opened up a world of possibilities, which I cannot describe but feel intensely moving and connecting in my mind.

I think this is really how a creator sees the world. She looks at the mundane and trivial and starts connecting her reactions with what else she is seeing or hearing at the moment, with her past experiences, with her past creations, with other art, with anything circulating in her mind. And sometimes the result is something amazing. Even if the result ends up worlds away from the original thought. Once we unlock a room, we don’t keep the key in our pockets- we put it down and roam freely. But it was that particular key that got us there.

This all makes me think of how we assign value to art. If someone’s creation can open such worlds of ideas to even one person, despite outward appearance of that art, is its value nonetheless immense?



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