Publishing, politics and other bright ideas


I like ideasy people. I wouldn’t claim to be one myself, since often the only bright idea I get in the average week is trying a Ceylon instead of a Madras for a Friday night treat.

But I enjoy having those lovely random chats with people that can spark up ideas you wouldn’t otherwise have had. The ideas needn’t lead to anything constructive – the pleasure is in the trying on of new thoughts and the mental stimulation they bring. A bit like trying on clothes you wouldn’t normally wear – great fun, even if you don’t end up buying them.

But sometimes, the new ideas do lead to action – albeit of a different kind. Just as sometimes you do end up buying the clothes you thought were “not really me”, the very act of knocking ideas around is in itself creative and can act as the spur for acts of creation other than those you’ve actually talked about.

For instance, fresh from a chat with a creative chum about your “best-selling” novel (which in reality has not gone beyond Chapter Two), you can go home and feel inspired to write a business plan, or a poem, or whatever.

One idea leads on to another. The other day I read the “Freelance of the Month” feature on a journalists’ forum and saw that this particular Freelance of the Month had just finished setting up his website. I took a look at his website, liked it, and that inspired me to get my finger out and get my own site updated. Idea One Of The Week.

Today, I wandered out for a lazy cappuccino and found myself sharing a table outside the café with a freelance writer I knew vaguely from the health club. We chatted about everything from wasting money on nuclear weapons to the increasing ease of creating websites, to our ideas for publishing projects. I mentioned an embryonic idea I’d had to collaborate with an artist contact on an educational manual – and she told me about a publishing company that handles that kind of thing. Idea Two Of The Week.

I got back to my desk to find an email from another journalist replying to a post I’d made on an internet forum. I looked at her blog and was impressed by how “political” she was daring to be – commenting on stuff like racism, sexism and police brutality. I remarked on this, and she replied: “It’s always a little scary to test our opinions beyond friends and colleagues but that fear, of course, is why we must”.

She‘s so right, and that was Idea Three Of The Week: the idea wasn’t so much in having political opinions, ‘cos I have those, as anyone who’s listened to my ramblings and rantings over a pint will testify, as in putting those opinions online.

So, thanks to Sue and Sonya for their ideas!

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