Listening to the Universe
What's the most common question asked of writers? The inevitable "Where do you get your ideas?"
My favorite answer: "How do you not get them?" Because ideas, I believe, are simply out there, waiting to be heard, like the background static that permeates the universe. If you have the right equipment (a working brain)and really learn to listen, you'll discern so much inspiration, you couldn't write it all down in a thousand lifetimes.
Not all ideas, of course, are equally viable. Much of the creative artist's job is in filtering this raw material, cataloguing possible connections, and judging potential. Some really fabulous, high-quality ideas end up shelved because of their unwieldiness, lack of broad appeal, or a poor fit with the author's overall career plan. While I can practically hear some of you thinking "what a sell-out," these considerations are essential if you're going to make a living as a commercial writer. It's essential, too, to understand time limits. No matter how many ideas the universe rains down upon us, we have only a limited span to act on any of them. So choosing the best, most exciting, and most practical projects ends up defining your career.
So how do you gather ideas and choose which have the most potential? Have you ever been hounded by a totally impractical idea until you had no choice except to write it? (Been there, done that!) What were the results?