Friday, March 13, 2009

Scheduling Idea Time

Idea time? Is that some newfangled term like quality time?

Ah, no.

What am I talking about then? Devoting time to gathering ideas.

Now, I must mention that I'm terrible at scheduling time to come up with ideas. I mean, truly horrible. I let them come at me willy-nilly and, hopefully, write them down as soon as they arrive. I don't currently have an idea nurturing environment.

My "Hipster" organizer
Photo by afroswede

After reading James Scott Bell's Plot & Structure, I've decided I must change. He's devoted an entire chapter to ideas. He suggests setting a time on a regular basis for writing them down. If you haven't read this book, do yourself a favor and find a copy.

The thought of devoting a half hour a week to cultivating ideas intrigued me. What if, instead of waiting for my muse to come, I invited her in for thirty minutes a week? And if I write down every idea (Mr. Bell has scads of prompts to help find them), wouldn't it be lovely to review the list when starting a new project? Wouldn't it be fabulous to have several plot ideas to choose from, instead of squeezing my brain to push one out?

Remember that Idea Journal you started a few weeks ago? Think about a typical week. When could you devote thirty minutes to opening your brain to writing possibilities? Would your lunch break on Wednesday work? Or maybe before your favorite television program on Thursday? Use that time to write down all ideas that funnel into your brain. You aren't going to use every idea. You aren't even deciding if the ideas are good or bad. You're just writing them down.

perfect stranger
Photo by mezone

When you're ready to start a new project, you can weigh the idea's pros and cons then. And you can think of me...because I know I'm starting this week!

Enjoy your weekend!


  1. OK, I'm finally getting my own copy of Bell's Plot and Structure. So many people have recommended it. Got a good price from one of Amazon's affiliate sellers--only $6.30. Thanks for the nudge.

  2. You won't be disappointed Jan! And let me know if you start the idea time. I want to know if it helps anyone else.

    I'm starting this week.

    Thanks for stopping by!


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