The Flow of Ideas Vs The Fear Of Running Dry

At the centre of all creating is the idea. Without an idea, there’s no starting point, nothing to build upon.

So, it’s a given that all artists need a steady flow of new ideas to be able to continue creating.

However, one of the biggest blocks to building and maintaining this kind of constant idea flow is a belief that plagues many of us.

That belief is, that we each have a fixed allocation of good ideas, somehow prescribed at birth, and once we use up our allocation, that’s it for the rest of our days, we will never create anything again.

Sound at all familiar?

So with this (false, yet very powerful) thinking in place, we’re constantly holding back and limiting our creativity.

When we do have what we consider a good idea, two common scenarios arise:

  1. Instead of giving this new idea our full energy and focus and creativity, and letting it evolve with an attitude of playfullness and experimentation, we instead become completely obsessed  that this might be our last great idea, and so it believe it must be utterly perfect and the greatest thing we (and anyone else!) has ever created. What happens then, is that this perfectionism becomes impossible to live up to, we get overwhelmed with our unrealistically high level of expectation, and most likely abandon the whole project before it’s even got anywhere. Not a recipe for a happy artist!
  2. We don’t want this to be our last great idea, so we think maybe if we ration our creativity a bit, we can still make something nice here, and we’ll have some of creative allocation left over for future projects. No point using it all up at once, that’d be like having a limited fuel supply, with a long winter ahead, and burning it all up within the first week. Trouble is, this approach nearly always ends in us holding back and compromising our creativity, meaning what we create is a disappointment, and the way we create is half hearted and non-committal. Not a good plan for creative fulfilment either.

The reality is quite the opposite of this damaging belief. Our capacity to have creative ideas is unlimited!

image: mjecker

The more ideas we have, the more ideas we have. Sounds obvious, but what this means is assoon as we begin to believe that we’ll have a constant supply of new ideas, and we give ourselves permission to attract them, then the floodgates will open.

Ideas breed. If you write down a few ideas in a notebook today, then don’t look at it for a month, I guarantee that when you open that page again, not only the original ideas will flood back to you, but lots of new connections and associations will come to light too.

Capture your ideas, and they will flow to you more and more.There’s no such thing as running dry, or a fixed allocation or allowance of ideas. You have the capacity to have all the ideas you’ll ever need.

2 thoughts on “The Flow of Ideas Vs The Fear Of Running Dry”

  1. Just this year I started keeping a Scanner Daybook to write down all my ideas. This idea is from the book, “Refuse to Choose” by Barbara Sher. There were a lot of old ideas at first, but then the process seemed to breed new ideas too. And I’ve actually turned some of the ideas into reality! I think writing down your ideas is great. Having a dedicated notebook seems to help too. I have an index card box for most of my writing ideas although some have crept into the Scanner Daybook. Maybe they wanted company. 🙂



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