Walking Around With Ideas

Although possibly large numbers of people have pondered this question, only a very few have asked it to me.

“Ted, where do you get your ideas for these blog posts, and how do you know when they are ready to type?”

I’ll save the rest of you the trouble of hunting me down to ask me, and just answer the question here. I walk around with them.

This works for story ideas, and for projects around the farm. I spot something that needs doing and that might be within my skill set, and I file it away. Next time I walk by it, some potential solutions may have presented themselves, and the project may even begin to bubble up the long job queue I maintain. And sometimes these ideas just drop out the bottom and are not heard from again (I wonder where they go?)

woodpileToday I finished a project that has been in the works most of the summer. I’ve had trouble with woodpiles falling over out at the maple syrup operation for all the years I’ve been doing syrup. I came up with a scheme to store the firewood in pallets so they can’t fall over. The first two I put out there, got a makeshift roof arrangement (the two on the right in the picture.) The two on the left are the newest, and have a much better roof system; one I walked around with for a couple of months. It just consists of a 2×4 (sawed on my sawmill from logs from the farm) down the center, and some boards forming a V down to both edges. The metal roofing came off our house. It has been stored in an old collapsed barn all these years, because I just knew I’d have a use for it. Now it can rain and snow, and I’ll have dry wood come maple syrup season.

It works the same for me with stories. I’ll toss an idea around for a while, and somehow I just know when it has the potential to be written down. I’ll often sit at the computer, and the story will almost write itself. This is not true, I think. I believe I’ve subconsciously gone through several drafts and finally sent a subconscious-to-conscious message that it is time to try to commit it to the screen. And most of the time it works too.

Occasionally I get busy enough that I’ll have an idea, and while I’m walking around, I’ll realize I have no clue what that idea was. It kind of drives me crazy because while I can’t remember what the idea was, I can remember that it was a pretty good one. OK, walking around with ideas doesn’t work every time.

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