Out of nowhere – BAM – NOVEL IDEA.
But not really out of nowhere.
Start carrying an idea notebook to collect these AHAs that fly in at unexpected and inopportune times. Figure out the notebook size, shape, color, portability that makes it the thing you now carry with you everywhere. Keys, wallet, idea notebook… check.
When we collect creative ideas [collect means writing them down in your idea notebook] that we are drawn to because we have proactively chosen to bring in new information and inspiration [see – Creative Process Stage 1 : Preparation Blog] and we allow them time and space to swim around in our head and make friends with the other things we have collected over time [see – Creative Process Stage 2 : Incubation Blog], they eventually team up and spit out a novel idea that feels like it came out of nowhere. But it didn’t, it came out of your creative process and this third step is called Illumination, the big AHA.
AHAs are accused of having poor timing by those who do not understand them. AHA ideas need the forefront of the mind cleared to make their debut and our quotidian tasks will facilitate this clearing. Moving the lawn, walking the dog, taking a shower, AHAs are not picky about which task, they just need one that doesn’t require a ton of thought. Be prepared for AHAs by carrying your idea notebook with you at all times so you can jot them down… immediately.
AHAs are time sensitive. Think about when you first wake up in the morning after you have had a particularly vivid and memorable dream. You are able to recall and describe the dream, with great detail and even some insight as you discuss it. If you are asked about this same dream at the end of the day, these details will have faded. Don’t wait. Pull the car over, grab your notebook and write the AHA down. All of it.
AHAs are not fully formed. AHAs are merely starting blocks from which your amazingness will evolve. Brilliant ideas come from evolutions of initial ideas, mixed with a ton of evaluation, passion, tenacity, testing and fine tuning. The real work comes in the next two stages : Evaluation and Implementation.
Capture your unique AHAs right away because they won’t follow you around with the same shoulder tapping power forever. In fact, their initial emergence is usually their most powerful so recognize them, grab that idea notebook and find a safe place to pause and record your AHA to honor this crucial part of your creative process. We need our ideas to help us become the very best version of ourselves that we can be.