Where Do You Get Your Ideas?
 
This is the most annoying question people ask. It's also the most common question people ask writers. And the truth is, it's complicated. But not exactly in the way that people think it is.

Almost everyone believes that writers are simply "gifted" with ideas. That they bother us at night and we have to wake up to pay attention to them. That we wish they'd go away sometimes. That the muse knocks on our door regularly and demands she enter. And that we're just passive recipients of ideas that other people never have.

Well, this isn't true.

And also, it is.

I've had many, many experiences in which the muse knocked on my door and bugged me until I wrote something I didn't feel came from me. I've had ideas come to me in the middle of the night and I wish they'd go away.

But to have this idea that being a writer is just being a scribe isn't really fair to the profession. And honestly, it's not going to get you very far.

First of all, ideas are the bare beginning of creativity. A good idea comes to everyone. If you don't have the skills to develop it, it won't go anywhere.

And that is why people think they're not getting ideas all the time. Because they don't have the skills to recognize ideas and they don't write them down and then the ideas stop coming.

Yes, I sometimes feel "inspired." No, that's not what being a writer is like. I might be "inspired" to do the dishes, too. But inspiration doesn't get the dishes done.

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