My daughter does kind of a quirky thing in the morning.
She writes down ten ideas about a topic. Anything. Random things. Things on her mind. Problems that are puzzling her. Possible solutions to a problem at work. Crazy, or maybe not so crazy business ventures. Dreams that tickle her fancy. A gift for someone. What she’d like to do with the walls of her bathroom. Where she’d like to travel in the next year. Quirky topics.Names she’d give a pet.
She jots them down in a little notepad – about 3 by 4 or 5 inches – you know – the kind with the spiral binding along the top? A little jotting pad you see journalists or detectives in old movies scribbling and scratching down notes as they get information from a news source? Those are the ones. And if one of those little pads is full, she’s used a free pad from a hotel nightstand, the back of an envelope; whatever. You get it – the medium doesn’t really matter.
It’s the habit.
It’s training her brain to generate and imagine and think creatively. Your mind will really brew if you plug it in and let it percolate.
“Usually when I reach number 5 or 6 on my list, my ideas can get kind of bad or dull and I think I’m done but I don’t stop. I always push through to 10 before I quit.
And then usually something happens when I push through. At 7 or 8 some really good ideas will surface. Not always – but usually. I’ll pause when I’m stuck and the ideas are stalled, eat more of my breakfast, sip a little coffee, look out the window, pat Betty (her labrador) or get up and feed her. No pressure, I simply allow and stay open for those last few ideas to come to me.”
She encouraged me to try it, saying it’s interesting to see what you can come up with, how the first few always come quickly but how I’d probably be pleasantly surprised at what surfaces when I keep going.
And no censoring – just jot.
I really liked her practice. I’ve watched her do it when I’ve wandered into her kitchen on early mornings when I’ve stayed with her. She’s just jotting. One word. A few words. A scribble. But she gets to 10. I think her brain likes the attention, like she’s taking it out for a walk in the morning air before it has to get going with the more serious business of the day.
I read somewhere recently,
“Force yourself to generate dozens of ideas. A lot of those ideas will be terrible. Most of them, in fact. But there will be some sparkling gems in there too. Try to set aside 15-20 minutes a day just for brainstorming.”
You could do it for blog post ideas, for what you’d like to plant in the garden, for what books you’d read if you started a book club, for what volunteer work you’d be interested in doing, for what kind of retail store you’d enjoy working in if you could just put in a couple shifts a week more for the fun than the $$ (flower shop, quilt shop, upscale women’s shoe store, coffee shop, spa, yoga studio, etc.) Just whatever. Just play. Just percolate. Just for the, well you know, fun of it.
Kind of like Sudoku, Sort of like a crossword puzzle. A little like Words with Friends.
Except not at all. There are no boxes. No clues. No electronic tiles.
Just you and your imagination.
I’ve been meaning to start doing it for Paris. Ten ideas about being there, getting there, eating there, places to visit outside the city, packing for being there, inviting friends there, reasons to keep dreaming of going, oh there are so many lists of ten, er...dix for a Parisian dream.
I see some little notepads in my immediate future.