Saturday, 19 March 2011

When inspiration fails, try Google instead.

I’ve been asked more than once this semester where my ideas come from, and I don’t know, so I Googled “Where do ideas come from?” After sifting through a lot of rubbish, I found this quote:

“What separates the creative from the not-so-creative isn’t so much the ability to come up with ideas but the ability to trust them, or to trust ourselves to realize them.”

Basically, everyone has ideas, creative people just have the nerve to run with them, see where they go. I wasn’t sure about this idea, since I discard a LOT of ideas, and it didn’t really say where said ideas come from, and found this:

“good hunches collide with other good hunches, sometimes creating big breakthroughs and innovations”

and this made much more sense to me. I get a lot of ideas while reading, a line or a concept or even just a word will trigger something, and I think that whatever it is must connect with something I’ve read or heard before and stored somewhere in my mind, and that forms the basis of the idea which then expands and evolves and mutates. That part happens quite naturally, the idea changes. I can’t come up with things when I think about them, only when I’m too busy to stop and write stuff down do I come up with ideas (this happens a lot while driving). According to the Big Bang Theory, this is called activating the superior colliculus of your brain, it engages the practical side of the mind, leaving the creative part to tick away on its own and generate plenty of ideas.


  1. Didn't know the fancy bits about "activating the superior colliculus of your brain" ... you learn something new everyday! Completely agree with you though - my ideas are triggered by tiny little everyday things; a line in a song, a passing comment, or a word or phrase I hear or read.

  2. I always thought creative writers were supposed to be cowards. When I have an idea I write it down and post it to someone in venezuela and pretend it doesn't exist.

    Nice quotations though, truly worthy of italics.

  3. The superior colliculus (or the 'tectum') is more to do with the way your brain decides how and why to move your eyes in the way that you do... the left-brain, right-brain idea is a good one though - and there are lots of papers suggesting that when one is in 'full-flow' the other is busy like Machiavelli plotting how to take over next... Anyway - I really enjoyed the idea that ideas subscribe to a kind of molecular theory - collisions and all. And when two collide in such away, creativity and (perhaps more importantly) action occurs. There's a really lovely sense of unity in that prospect. Just to sink an extra level though - surely 'ideas' are collisions of fact, experience, knowledge and the sum-total of the bits that make the idea up. A character, for example is always going to be based on forms of truth - characters are normally conscious for example... You base their conscious's on consciousness itself. The changes you speak of are surely more fusion reactions occurring the more bits attach on to the idea, and when imperfect or challenging bits are detached or abandoned. Nice universal implications though!