Checking the Writer’s Retreat calendar this morning reminded me that I’m scheduled to post a Wiley on the blog. My mind blank, I tried to recall the sleepy thought occurring at an odd moment last weekend. Unfortunately, I failed to jot down a note and have no clue as to what it might have been.
Am I going to beat my head against the wall for that failing? No. If the half-formed idea really merits sharing, the notion will surely return. In the meantime, I decided the best solution would be simply setting words down. If this rambling endeavor turned to scrap, a useful idea might still percolate. So, with the opinion that even this questionable exercise deserved a little effort, I thumbed open my thesaurus for words meaning “idea”.
The reference book on my desk first defined the word. Curious, I read, “Idea: that which exists in the mind as the product of careful mental activity”. The editors supplied this same description for “concept”. And suddenly, therein lay my inspiration. The last word I would use to identify my formative thought process is “careful”. I think many folks would agree.
Ideas and concepts form in countless ways, many more than one human can conceive. Meticulous or erratic, “careful” just doesn’t characterize it for me. Ingenuity might stem from failure or flow from the stuff of dreams. Either way, the English idiom popularly associated with ill-conceived ideas is “half-baked”. If you ask me, undercooking something hardly matches vigilant activity.
Brainstorming is a popular expression evocative of unpredictability and confusion. Many more methods of group or individual invention fit this style of “tossing out ideas”, which is yet another turn of phrase defying “careful” proceedings.
This deliberation leads me to believe the importance is where deliberation takes us, not its source or means. Experiment if you’re struggling for inspiration. There are some interesting suggestions within the archives of this very blog. Whatever you do, “careful” is a silly constriction for the mind, regardless of your goal.
By the way, Roget’s II: The New Thesaurus defines inspiration as “high spirits”. I like that.