New ideas sometimes emerge when you are asleep and dream. Then, unfortunately, when you wake up they are gone. That’s why some people have a pen and paper on their bed tables to note them down. I don’t.
Sometimes you come up with a great idea by accident, doing something that is not thought provoking at the very first sight.
In my case it does not work this way. Usually it does not.
Because when I sleep, I sleep. When I swim, I swim. When I dance, I dance. When I am on holiday, I reset my mind, switch to relaxation mood, don’t turn on my computer and set an autoresponder message in my email box.
My creativity is encouraged best when I:
- Make a plan, set a deadline, make a resolution – they can be very motivating.
- Read. I read everything: articles in newspapers and magazines, blog posts, Facebook, LinkedIn posts, books, presentation slides, presentation abstracts. What I read does not necessarily come from my “industry”. I like to cross borders of disciplines and transfer into my professional area.
- Attend conferences (but when you do, take down notes and write down the ideas which come up with in the meantime). Even if the presentation if not exactly your cup of tea, try to think up ways you could transfer the ideas you hear into your field.
- Sit down and start writing. And this works best. My thoughts become well-organised, one idea generates another. When they appear on the screen or a sheet of paper in black and white, they start to make sense and develop almost freely. They can be always modified or deleted but they come to being. As long as they are not put on paper, they can easily vanish forever.
Before holiday I wrote a topic for a potential presentation or a blog post on a sheet of paper: How to Use Machine Translation for Teaching. I have past the sheet many times this summer but never conceived a word. I had used machine translation a few times before I went for holiday, though. Today I have opened my notebook and described three different tasks machine translation can be used in. As I was describing them, another idea evolved to extend the topic into a whole chapter in the book I am working on.
The conclusion is therefore one and only and as old as hills – only work can generate fruits.