“Three things are in your head: First, everything you have experienced from the day of your birth until right now. Every single second, every single hour, every single day.
Then, how you reacted to those events in the minute of their happening, whether they were disastrous or joyful. Those are two things you have in your mind to give you material.
Then, separate from the living experiences are all the art experiences you’ve had, the things you’ve learned from other writers, artists, poets, film directors, and composers.
So all of this is in your mind as a fabulous mulch – and you have to bring it out.”
Demystifying the creative process is one of my biggest goals for The Ink. Bradbury does it beautifully here.
A common excuse for not satisfying our need to make stuff is that we ‘have no ideas’ (and believe me, trying to find something to write about every day is daunting – today marks 69 days and counting).
The blank page is incredibly frightening (and the same fear of emptiness applies whether you’re writing, composing, or building a business).
But we never truly have nothing. As Bradbury says:
1. You have the events of your life.
2. You have how you responded to each and every one of those events.
3. You have everything you’ve ever seen, watched or heard.
I think we have a fourth ‘bucket’ to draw from too:
4. The place those ideas and experiences smash together (sometimes colliding violently, sometimes neatly slotting in place.).
So, next time you complain about having no ideas, ask yourself:
Can I go out and have new experiences? Learning a language (Duolingo) going on a hike (Google local routes), teaching yourself to cook (YouTube), getting in shape (YouTube/reputable sites), playing a sport, meeting new people… It doesn’t have to cost anything. The internet is an amazing place. Make it happen.
How do I react to what I do experience? You could consider mindfulness meditation, simply paying more attention to what’s going on, or maybe writing down your thoughts and feelings. Anything to change the way you think about the stuff that happens to you.
Could I spend my time exposing myself to more great stuff? E.g. less scrolling through pointless ads on Facebook, more listening to amazing albums properly, less news, more reading… You know what you need to do. Scroll back through my posts if you want some pointers of what books, movies and podcasts to start with.