individual project

The 4 Steps to Getting an Idea

With all great writing’s comes a great responsibility: the ability to gather ideas, and to convert these idea’s into reality. The background of an idea and where it comes from is something I had never quite focused on myself – like a lot of people, I tend to take the concept and run with it. The last thing I want is for the light bulb to blow while wondering where it came from.

According to Kirby Ferguson, a Canadian writer, there is a simple method to where these ideas truly come from. In an intriguing 4 minute video, he explains how his success is achieved by a 4 step technique. This technique includes his ideas being produced through his subconscious mind, with his conscious unknowing of where these ideas came from. The basic elements of this are “Copy, Transform and Combine”. This applies to all of us, whether the results are big or small.

Step one is to create boundaries for what you will explore. Without this, you will become “lost in the wilderness”, as stated by Ferguson. This step is not only the starting point of your idea, but I also feel the most crucial as this is what stops you from being led astray. Set a goal for which you want to find out more.

Step two is to consume everything you can with boundaries. This includes the books you read, the movies you watch, the life you experience. Your environment effects the way you think, whether you realize this or not. This is a great way to gain more knowledge about your topic.

Step three is to digest your research. This in order to make sure you understand it fully. Study the materials, organize them, arrange them into a narrative, group things together and make a map of what you’ve learnt. With these three tools, you have already created the body of your idea.

Finally, with step 4, drop it. Go outside, relax and move on. Gradually, an idea will reach you and you will be able to produce it.

I feel that this technique of creating an idea is near enough to foolproof, once executed correctly. If it fails, all you can do is try again. Pushing yourself to the max is key, and once you’ve practised this plan enough ideas will come to you freely.

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