No Ideas Necessary
Recently I had the opportunity to hear former US Poet Laureate Billy Collins give a talk on the craft of writing.
The conversation wound around to the dreaded “writers block” topic and Collins – showing the qualities that earned him the Poetry Foundation’s first Mark Twain Award for humor in poetry – said that writers block was simply an excuse to do other things. “But where do you get your ideas?” the audience member asked.
“I don’t have ideas,” he replied. “The theory of relativity is an idea. I have notions … opinions. I don’t have ideas.”
This was about the most brilliant encapsulation of what I’ve tried to say about writing for years. You don’t NEED an idea. You don’t need to know where you’re going before you start; you just need a “notion” as Collins said. You need to follow a train of thought without attachment to outcome to see what you have to say.
Is something driving you crazy about your job? Start there. Did you change the channels on the television only to catch Tom Cruise’s Jerry Maguire saying: “You complete me,” and did it piss you off? Start there. Is the coming of winter filling you with dread or delight? Start there.
No need to have a brilliant idea. What could you create if you gave up the idea that you had to start with an idea and instead started with a question … a notion … an opinion?
Enjoy revealing yourself on the page …
Sparkers – Journaling the Journey © 2006 Deb Cooperman for Coaching Toys Inc – Sparkers, all rights reserved.
We’d love to hear your response to this Sparker – What role does writing serve in your personal journey?