Using solitaire to generate ideas
I like to play online games. Not first person shooters, or World of Warcraft, but simple, mind-freeing games like solitaire, Freecell and most recently, mahjong. I like them because they occupy the front part of my mind enough to allow creativity to percolate at the back of my mind. Or maybe it’s the other way round, but in the case of what part of the brain gives me ideas, location doesn’t matter.
Sometimes, though, I feel like playing a game but I don’t feel creative. To stop myself from feeling guilty for wasting time, I sometimes listen to various audio-things. Most recently, I’ve been listening to TED Talks.
I came across this one, that I really liked. So get out your Freecell and listen. He’s quite clear when you need to click back to see the PowerPoint slides.
Now Steven’s talk is actually about NOT using solitaire, or solitary thinking to generate ideas. He’s all about the group mind. And I do that, too. I get together with my brainstorming buddies and we fire ideas around wildly until someone has enough to go away and make a book. So really, you get the germ of an idea alone, it percolates, then you hash it out with friends, then you go away and write it.
And they say writing is a lonely profession. If that were true, some of the best ideas might never be born.