I have always maintained that I am just a writer. Not much of an ideas-person. And not much has changed over the years, save for a few fluke ideas that suddenly fall out of the wood-works of my brain, sprout wings and fly out, even before I have realised it. Quite simply, I’m probably capable of thinking of ideas, but its just not something I fancy too much. It doesn’t float my boat. Or make my skirt go up, in the way that free writing does. It hasn’t helped that I spent the most important beginning years of my career roaming around like a headless chicken with nobody to show me the ropes, the real way. Pretty soon I began to fear and detest the horrible I-word — Ideas.
Give me a situation and tell me to write a 600-word piece on it, I’ll do it with great gusto, but ask me to come up with an ad campaign idea for the very same situation, and my immediate reaction is to be afraid. Very, very afraid.
Of course I’ve come a long way from instantly breaking into hives, popping an anti-allergic and spending the rest of the day resisting that urge to itch the fuck out of the rash every time anyone checked on how the damned ideas were coming along.
Yep, ideas and me, we didn’t used to mix too well. But life does that strange thing it seems to do a lot with me. Put me face-to-face with the very situations I fear, and usually run away from. It makes me challenge head-on, those very things I am skeptical about. Making me grab my fear by the horns and look it in the eye, and sometimes come out winning. And I can see how today it’s happening with that dreaded I-word too.
I may not like it very much, but life won’t just let me carry on in that blase fashion that I have until now. It just wont let me be indifferent. It’s forcing me to into the spot and making me like or dislike it. Choose a side and stick with it. It did that horrible, yet wonderful thing of picking me out of the lowest low I was in yesterday, all because I had hit a wall on a project I was working on. I was all out of ideas and had no way to get over the roadblock. It picked me out of the disgusting pond scum that I was wallowing in, feeling utterly useless and pathetic, held me by the scruff of my neck and showed me the light. By way of that other word I hate so much — Process, the P-word.
Yesterday I realised that even the free-est of free spirits, imagining the free-est of freewheeling ideas need a system. A process to channel thoughts and use them in a way that makes sense. Especially for people like me, who need to do it in a way that works for a purpose. So right there in possibly what was the worst case of procrastination + frustration + writers block + lack-of-ideas, that damned process made me, the Idea-hater, think of not just one, but three good ideas.
It turns out that the one thing I’m not really a fan of, I can only battle with the help of that other thing I am not the biggest fan of.
Those two nasty things I’ve hated so much all my working life? Well, turns out life is doing its thing again. Twisting situations to work in a way that is forcing me to rethink my stand. Right about now. The joy!