Tuesday, January 27, 2009

How They Flow, January 28, 2009


Mozart said, "When I am, as it were, completely myself, entirely alone, and of good cheer — say traveling in a carriage, or walking after a good meal, or during the night when I cannot sleep — it is on such occasions that my ideas flow best, and most abundantly. Whence and how they come, I know not, nor can I force them."

Write about how and when your ideas come to you.


Anonymous said...

How very anti-poetic, I know, but my ideas are scheduled and planned, penned into my daily calendar like an appointment with the dentist or trip to the gym. I make time to think, to write, to play with words and ideas and stories. I find inspiration in the mundane – my morning run and tea and toast. I like routine and ritual, but am not bound by it. Sometimes my ideas come at night, wake me out of dreams to tell me they need tending. I keep a journal by my bed, write in the dark. Morning, I’m lucky to make out three words.

People often assume that ideas come to me when I run. Not really. Well then, they wonder, what do you think about during all those lonely miles? I think about running. I let my Body speak: open up your stride, relax your shoulders, swing your arms. Sometimes Mind asks Body questions:

M: Are you sure you can hold this pace?
B: I can try.
M: Don’t you think we should just go two loops today, instead of three?
B: I’m feeling okay. Let’s go for three.
M: Are you really race ready?
B: I have faith.

Mind’s prone to doubt. Body’s a whole-hearted believer. That’s why I run to write. It’s not that I get inspiration from my daily trips around the trail or track. But afterwards, when I sit down and stare at a blank screen, it’s Body not Mind who assures me I can, that the ideas will come, even when I stare at a flat horizon, nothing for miles. Body keeps Mind in check, reins her in when she’s frenzied or fluttering, and teaches her to be patient.

The ideas live somewhere between working and waiting, effort and ease, Body and Mind. They are the balance that gives me peace. They are my usual surprise.

Carol Henderson said...

Ideas come to me when I ask myself: What am I thinking about? Sometimes it feels weird that I have to ask, but that's what I do. And then I write. Sometimes I'm thinking about an idea, ruminating, for weeks, months, years before I catch it in that what-am-I- thinking-about moment.

Like Jill, I schedule writing time, but there are no ideas attached. Sometimes subjects make it on the calender: work on that book, write that column, but never ideas. I have to sit down and let the ideas fountain or sputter.

My mind works well, sometimes, when I take a walk. I carry a little tape recorder and speak into it, catching what's going on in my head. Still, it may be months before I write about a walk idea.

Carol Henderson said...

Another thought.

Long buried ideas and new ideas emerge when I'm writing--ALL THE TIME.

I'm looked at the prompt: Gaze East and Dream just now and started writing. All sorts of ideas just came up and out onto the page. That's why it's good to simply sit down, pen in hand or fingers on keys,
and WRITE.

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