Disappearing Ideas: Capture your creative bursts

English: The School of Athens (detail). Fresco...

English: The School of Athens (detail). Fresco, Stanza della Segnatura, Palazzi Pontifici, Vatican. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Have you noticed that when you are thinking about moving, all the ideas about decorating your new place flow, but when you move, you forget everything?  The same thing happens in the car and in the shower.  It seems to happen everywhere and at random moments except at the exact moment you need it.  This is a real big deal for writers.  Whether you are writing a personal development blog or the next big blockbuster screen play, ideas are the life blood of creative thinking.  The “bad timing” of ideas may be a matter of mental flow and outside influences.  For example, I get a lot of my ideas while running.  Usually I’m listing to podcasts or audiobooks and focused on nothing but running and listening.  My brain is flooded with positive brain stimulating endorphins at the same time I’m being influenced by motivational and idea filled TED talks and podcasts.  The shower is another unique place in our daily life where our mental focus changes from what’s being “thrown” at us to slowing down and not thinking much at all.  Most of us have showered thousands of times and don’t need any mental energy or focus whatsoever to complete this task.  Driving to work and often even grocery shopping is similar in this effect.  Although the level of mental focus needed for these simple, mundane tasks varies per person and task, these are opportunities for your mind to tap deeper “creative” sources in short bursts.  This is different from a “flow” state in which you are building upon one of these ideas such as hours of easy creative writing.  I am talking specifically about ideas coming at you in bunches.

Good ideas are gifts from God not to be wasted or filed away for safekeeping.

     What do you do with these ideas? Anytime the “idea gods” throw their wisdom your way, capture, capture, capture.  I utilize square space notes (attached to my Evernote account) on my iPhone for quick idea capture on the go.  Notepad, or good old-fashioned paper works as well.  Do not wait any longer than it take to safely stop and capture the idea.  It will disappear quicker than it appeared.  The beauty of capturing the idea for future use is that it frees up your mental RAM energy to dig around for more ideas.  If you find yourself coming up with ideas in a certain setting, take advantage of it.  Repeat as necessary. Of course, these ideas are useless unless you intentionally create time to do something with them.  Bad timing, as I wrote earlier, is better than “no timing” or no ideas.  Write, build, create and inspire with your ideas. 

Rocco
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Passive Narrative vs. Intentional Narrative: Who’s writing your story?

The world you live in is different from mine.  That’s not code for socioeconomic status, marital status, or any other situational “thing”.

Your world is seen through a filter guided by a narrative you are creating.

We all tell ourselves stories about the world.  I wrote an article last year about a marketing tactic that made me angry.  The local grocery store printed an unusually low price with a large font price printed for its wine. Below the price in a barely legible font size, are the words “when you buy 4”.  Just below, printed in the same font is the price for 1 bottle; much higher.  The same store has added 12 packs of premium beer to this tactic.  I see this and immediately lose trust.  I see the store trying to “trick” me.  My internal voice starts to update my “narrative”.  It’s like Jimminy Cricket teaching me the ways of life.  Mr. Cricket tells me that customers are so savvy these days.  Costco, Bevmo, and even Amazon are all undercutting local grocers and each other.  Wine still costs to produce, ship, and market.  The stores MUST find ways to get savvy customers to pay more for wine.  This tactic must work since they keep doing it.  My lovely wife, Jamie,  sees this exact situation but has a completely different conclusion.  Her narrative, her “Jamie-ney Cricket”, tells her a story of kindness and opportunity.  She sees the store working hard to find opportunities for the customer to save money.  “Unfortunately they can’t pass savings on for just 1 bottle, but who needs just 1 bottle of a good wine anyway?”

Writing

Writing (Photo credit: jjpacres)

Your narrative forms your outlook on life.  It passively changes through experience over time.  Someone blessed with opportunity and seemingly constant fortune and good luck will most likely have a much more positive narrative than the hardened, out of work, disabled war veteran.
This blog and your life are not about living “passive lives”.  Your success, your “awesome” comes from “intentional living”.  You can change your narrative, thus changing  your attitude.  I have decided to make 2014 the year I get intentional about changing my narrative.  Here is a list of 3 things I am doing to re-write my story:
  1. Loose the victim status. Read my article on characters to learn more.  I simply change the subject internally as the victim starts to show up.  While this is not always easy, it has already started to change my view on things.
  2. I am re-writing stories about people/companies I had negative thoughts about.  Being angry at the grocer over wine prices is a waste of time and energy.  It is reasonable that Jamie’s point of view is actually legitimate.  It is certainly a better story than mine.  Anyhow, what’s really the worse that can happen?  I pay 3 bucks more for a 12 pack of beer.  It’s still great beer.
  3. Re evaluate my influences.  I’ve hear it said that we are the average of the 5 people we spend the most time with.  Often times I get negative or gossipy and realize that I am the instigator.  Sometimes its the other person.  Usually a re direction of the conversation changes the mood.  It really works the same with other people as it does in your own narrative.
You tell yourself multiple stories everyday.  As you seek to achieve the awesomeness we both know you were meant to, you must be in control of the “pen”.  Your story must be one in which you win, learn from mistakes, and are worthy of the task at hand.  Start with a positive story about the world around you.  A positive “you” will attract more positive people.  We know from experience (and this post) that it’s much harder to be positive than negative.  This means that positive people are working hard, living intentionally, and can bring that “average of 5” up a bit.
Think about 2 things in your world that you believe to be true because that’s your story.  Shake it up a little and question the characters in that narrative.  Start simple (like Target is better than Walmart).  Dig a little deeper as things become more clear to you.  Share your thoughts.
Rocco
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