3 Launch Pads from Which You Can Blast Off Creative Ideas

“In the dust of defeat as well as the laurels of victory there is a glory to be found if one has done his best.” —Eric Liddell

Image courtesy of digidreamgrafix at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of digidreamgrafix at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Have you used the same launch pad, the same source, for your creative ideas? Has the distance your ideas have soared become shorter?

Then it’s time you try a different launch pad or improve the one you’re using. Here are 3 launch pads your creative ideas can blast off from.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Launch Pad 1. Your Experiences

This is probably the easiest and most popular launch pad. But in our Financial Peace University class, Dave Ramsey made a poignant point about our experience with money. With credit, debit, and ATM cards, we no longer feel the pain of shelling out money as we do when we count out dollar bills and coins. Instead, the pain comes when a check bounces or we realize we lack rent money.

Possibly, we need to revamp our “experience” launch pad. The experience of attending that class alerted me to how some of life’s improvements have desensitized me. I want to seek new experiences that allow myself to feel all the wonderful emotions God gave me.

My creativity thrives from those experiences in which I feel wonder, surprise, sadness, empathy, pain, awe, joy, my funny bone, etc.

Image courtesy of James Barker at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of James Barker at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Launch Pad 2. Your Research

For us who see research as work, we may forfeit some great ideas if we avoid it. I’m often surprised when I’m reading a book or article and an idea pops up for a project. Or while I’m researching the Internet for my novel, I’m delighted when something grabs me and an idea forms for another activity.

I learned how amazing research could be when I attended an American Christian Fiction Writers Conference when Francine Rivers was the keynote speaker.

Earlier on a cruise in the Mediterranean, I happened to be reading Francine Rivers’s A Voice in the Wind. The ship stopped in places the Apostle Paul visited: Rome, Corinth,  Athens, and Ephesus. I was stunned how Rivers brought alive Rome and Ephesus, whose streets we walked.

At the conference, I said to her, “You must’ve had the same tour guide we had in Ephesus, because you captured what he related in your novel.” She answered, “I’ve never been to Ephesus.”

This experience launched my great respect for research and how it can give me ideas for scenes in novels.

Image courtesy of hin255 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of hin255 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Launch Pad 3. Others’ Experiences. 

This could come in the form of eavesdropping, an email loop, biographies, famous quotes, friends and family.

After I watched the movie, Chariots of Fire, I watched an interview on the DVD about Eric Liddell. He was the 1924 Olympic medalist runner who refused to run heats on Sunday. Elderly people, who’d been youths imprisoned in the same Japanese interment camp as Liddell, related Liddell’s selfless service. His example for youth as a runner and missionary touched me.

This birthed the idea for my hero in the romance I’m working on. My hero also saw the movie when he was young and his dream is to be the Eric Liddell of golf. Giving the youth of today a role model.

If you’re running dry for ideas from your favorite launch pad, try increasing your exposure in another.

Do you have another launch pad for creative ideas? How have you used it?

When Opportunity Knocks, Are You Locking the Door?

“He that tries to seize an opportunity after it has passed him by is like one who sees it approach but will not go to meet it.” — Kahlil Gibran

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An opportunity rises from an email, a blog, a phone call, a visit, or another source. Our minds whirl with the possibilities and then dart to the failure probabilities. Aren’t our second reactions the voice of reason? We delete the email, close the blog, excuse ourselves from the phone call, or change the subject.

Later we wished we’d taken a third look.

Here are things to consider before you reject an opportunity.

The Third Look

blueprintConsideration 1. Are you set on the direction you want your life to take, and the new prospect fails to fit in your plan? If you’ve spent much time on mapping your goals, perhaps the opportunity would lead you off course. Still, take a third look:

  • With a brainstorming and open mind, ask: How might this opportunity fit into my plans?

ClockConsideration 2. Is it a good fit but with your current focus and workload, it’s the wrong time to take advantage of the offer? Take a third look.

  • If the offer is an ongoing need or is valid for a long period, capture all the details, including contact information. Store this in a physical or virtual folder. Things happen, and the right time might be tomorrow.

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Stack of Files and PapersConsideration 3. On the second look, did you envision mounds of work? Take a third look.

  • All good opportunities take time, energy, and work. You want to make sure the opportunity is the right thing to do, but don’t reject it because it requires effort. See 4 Choices That Improve Your Perseverance to help you decide whether to take on the work.

Image courtesy of Patou at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of Patou at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Consideration 4. Does the thought of pursuing it scare you? You’ve stepped out in the past and failed? Take a third look.

  • The anxiety could be good. It means the opportunity will be a growing experience. Previous failures prepare you for THE opportunity. This may be THE one.

 

Example

I’m going to the American Christian Writers Conference in the fall. It’s a setting for much learning, a time to network, and an opportunity to pitch books to editors. Already feeling intimidated, I chose to pass on volunteering this time.

Then a call arrived by email for reporters to cover the conference sessions for the ACFW Conference Ezine in return for some publicity.

At the last ACFW conference I attended, my second look at reporting brought on tremors of failure. An introvert, I could barely handle volunteering in the bookstore.

This year reporting failed to fit into my plan. I planned to fill my conference time learning, networking, and pitching. Reporting would be too much work during the conference—and after, when I might be preparing a proposal for an interested editor.

Before I hit the delete key, my mind opened and I saw a perfect opportunity to help out with the ezine while adding an activity to my platform-building plan. Now that I’d blogged for a while, I felt less fearful. And the work would be worth the benefits.

This year was the right time, and I could fit this opportunity into my plans. I sent my information to the coordinator and will be a 2013 ACFW Conference Ezine reporter.

For me, I can use KNOCK for accepting opportunities.

Knees: I will drop to my knees and pray for God’s guidance.

Never: I will never fear what God puts before me.

Obediently: I will obediently pursue it.

Call: I will call on God to equip me.

Know I will know running the race gets the prize.

Will you share a time when you took a third look at an opportunity and succeeded in your decision?

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