For years I have been trying to create an automatic program to generate ideas for writing. As a professional programmer, I had an idea how to generate code in my preferred programming language. I wondered if somehow I could turn that virtual code creator into a virtual word generator. I wanted to create a mind program that could easily generate ideas. I searched the internet for ideas, then explored several suggested methods. Mind Mapping was one of the first. The mind mapping idea left me dissatisfied. There were too many rules. Somehow my mind flowed differently.
It didn’t start from a central point and flow out from points around a circle. And the ‘one word, one line’ rule seemed to leave me blank. My mind flows randomly. I like to write freehand, dropping words down as they fall from my head onto the page. They flow to the page as fast as the ink from my ballpoint pen allows. They flow to the page as sentences and complete ideas, not just single words. And the ideas are random and flow naturally down a page. I gave this method the name ‘random trail mapping’. In my search for self-development I studied the methods of hypnosis. I became fascinated with guided meditation scripts.
Typically, these scripts tell you a story that takes you along a path or suggests that you imagine a favorite spot where you can relax. Hypnosis requires that you focus completely on an idea. My creative juices just did not flow while concentrating on a single point. During this search, I noticed that whenever I was doing some activity that did not fully occupy my mind, like driving or walking or exercising , I mused about my programming problems and often found great solutions. The activities themselves only required a small percentage of my immediate attention. And then, I realized this was my magic idea generator.
Do a physical activity that requires little immediate brain attention while letting your mind wander, or muse about whatever. One of my favorite activities is to sit at the kitchen table overlooking my wife’s beautiful flower garden. Over the years our back yard has become more isolated from the neighbours as trees planted by them grow taller. This gives me a sense of walking in the forest or being alone to meditate. In bright sunshine it is extremely liberating. While my eyes see flowers and my ears hear birds, my mind drifts from thought to thought. It is those random thoughts, those creative gems that I immediately write down. The generator is not a device like a program. You place yourself in a situation that relaxes your body while stimulating your creative mind. Controlling your mind may simply mean that you let it drift aimlessly while focusing your physical senses on something else. My mistake in the past has been to focus on generating ideas. Now, I know that just living day-to-day, just doing my regular activities, activities that I enjoy, is my best, my magic idea generator.