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"Where Ideas Come From"

I write a lot of songs and stories, so I often get asked: 
Where do you get your ideas?
Woody Allen says he gets his ideas from a post office box in Schenectady.

Edison, or Einstein, or one of those guys said: 
Ideas come from space.

Ideas are easier to find when you're looking for them. 
I keep an eye out all the time. 
Everything in my life, every conversation, event, and so on, 
is filed somewhere in my head under Possible Song or Story Ideas.

I write down a million little notes and lose most of them, 
like a crazed squirrel hiding nuts. 
Then at a later date, when I've completely forgotten about them, 
my crazed squirrel nuts show up unexpectedly in an old loose leaf, 
or in the back of a drawer. 
Sometimes they're better, or worse, 
after staying away from them for a while.

I had writer's block for a long time. 
It was terrible! 
I even went to a hypnotist. 
I read all the self-help books, 
and finally found one thing that helped me out of it. 
This is what it said: 
"Inspiration comes AFTER action."

It took a while for that to soak in. 
What it means to me is: 
Don't wait for an inspiration. 
Start writing first, and the inspiration will follow.

At first I had to write pages and pages of crappy stuff, 
but then it started to come together, if I let it.

I may have to dump my original idea, 
and let myself get sidetracked onto something else. 
Usually I don't know how the story will end until it does.

I almost always write the title last, 
because I find that sticking to a title idea is confining. 
The original "great phrase" often stays somewhere in the song or story, 
but it loses top billing along the way.

I heard that writing every day makes it easier, 
and I like easier. 
This one turned out to be true. 
It helps me.

Back to the original question about where my ideas come from. 
Other than having a habit of looking for them, 
I have no idea. (Puns always intended.)

Every single time I finish a story or a song, 
I think it's going to be the last one ever. 
That's because I don't know HOW I do it. 
Not a clue.

I just start.

Copyright  March 8, 2001 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved.


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2007 all rights reserved.