Do We Ever Really Run Out of Ideas?
I’m not too sure how I should start this article… ironic since I’m a writer, and a good introduction is a powerful way to attract readers. Often, I feel as if I’m running out of ideas, but then, at the very last minute, something pops into my head. Or, when I haven’t written any articles for my job in a long time, an idea shimmers into my head, and it rummages in there for the longest time until I write about here. And that makes me ask —
Do we ever really run out of ideas?
Let’s think about it. Our brains are constantly active, right? Even when we’re asleep, our brains still go on with their activities, coming up with new thoughts every second. It’s why we have dreams. And sometimes, these dreams give us new ideas to develop. For example, Terminator and Inception came from dreams; so did Frankenstein and some of Stephen King’s books.
Our brains come up with so many wild and interesting things, and they don’t just come from dreams. Look around you when you go outside or when you’re with other people. There are so many interesting people, aren’t there? Many writers and artists get inspired by regular people they see. One of my favorite authors, Beverly Cleary, was inspired to write her first book Henry Huggins when a couple of kids asked her (when she was a librarian), “Where are the books about kids like us?”.
I am also heavily inspired by other people. It’s pretty clear when you read some of my articles on here, especially during my early days. People are very interesting; it’s fun to ponder about the human mind and behavior. How do people react in certain situations? What’s the worst possible thing someone could think of? That’s why I write — and draw.
I love drawing. I really love art. An artist was the one thing I wanted to be before becoming a writer. I’ve even drawn some pictures for my heading images several times on this blog. Hell, not only have I written some stories here, I’ve even written a “song” and something you might call a “comic”. Now, while I may not be the best in either of my crafts, I’m proud of myself for getting these ideas and pieces out there for you guys.
And where do I get all these inspirations from? Why, I get them from all sorts of places and things — books, TV shows, songs, real people, and so much more. I’m going to be frank with you: I get easily inspired by some of my favorite media. Other creators are like this, too. Have you ever heard the phrase, “There’s no such thing as a truly original idea.”? It’s true; so many creators get inspired by their favorite media.
For example, Hideaki Anno’s Neon Genesis Evangelion was inspired by several mecha anima shows at the time of its production, particularly Mobile Suit Gundam. He also based the main characters (Shinji, Rei, and Asuka) on aspects of his personality as well as his interest in psychoanalysis and his own depression before the show’s production.
Like Anno, I am also interested in psychoanalysis and how it affects mental illness in people, though mecha isn’t my favorite anime genre. I’m more of a slice-of-life person; I grew up reading the Ramona Quimby books and watched several anime shows like Lucky Star and K-On! as a pre-teen. Again, I find people very fascinating. However, as much as I like slice-of-life stories, most of them don’t offer the most in-depth introspection of the human mind.
That’s why The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya still has a special place in my heart to this very day. While I initially enjoyed the show for its comedy and its very catching ending theme, I grew up to respect the complex analysis of the human psyche later on. Haruhi Suzumiya as a character is very interesting to think about. She’s basically a goddess creating espers, aliens, and time travelers at her own whim, and she doesn’t even know it! To quote main character Itsuki Koizumi (who’s an esper) —
“Basically, because we humans are here, and discovered the cosmos, and observe the world… the world exists. Conversely, if humans didn’t exist, the universe would never have been identified and therefore never exist either. In short, because there are humans, there is the universe. And if I may go so far, because there is a certain somebody. And as far as that somebody is concerned, this reality is no more than a dream. Building and altering it to her every whim is mere child’s play.”
Yet, despite all of this, Haruhi still has doubts on whether espers, aliens, or time travelers even exist…like a real human being.
“…Though she wishes for aliens and the like to exist, she also tells herself that they can’t possibly exist. Sure, her words and actions are eccentric, but… she’s your average human being, possessing logical reasoning.”
This still sticks with me to this very days as a 23-year-old woman. I took all of this to heart and implemented these elements into my stories and my articles. Humans are complex beings, so why should we make our characters simpletons with one defining trait? That’s why, when I think about something bad I had just watched or read, I try to find ways to improve on it. What was the original creator’s intentions? What was the original creator trying to accomplish? I often think about this when I try to improve on a story (mostly in my mind).
For example, I love Sonic the Hedgehog. I’ve been a fan of Sonic ever since I was a little kid. It was the first thing I’ve ever gotten into. But, as a fan of this speedy blue hedgehog, the blue blur’s had some bumps in the road during his existence. One of those bumps is Sonic Underground. For those who don’t know, Sonic Underground is about Sonic the Hedgehog performing in a rock band with his long-lost siblings Sonia and Manic while finding their mother Queen Aleena and fighting the evil tyrant Dr. Robotnik.
Yes…that is the actual premise of the show.
Anyways, except for the royalty part and the songs in literally every episode (There are 40 of them.), I find this concept interesting, but it’s very poorly executed. Ever since I was introduced to this show in the sixth grade, I’ve been thinking of ways to improve it. I’ve been finding ways to improve on the story, the character designs, the characters themselves, and how to execute it all well while keeping the feel of Sonic the Hedgehog in it. One thing I know for sure is that I would never let Jaleel White voice Sonia (Yes, Urkel did, in fact, voice the sister along with Sonic and Manic.).
I love improving on bad things. Not only does it make me feel better about myself as a writer and artist, but it also gives me more ideas — ideas that I may never run out of.
Actually, I don’t think any of us can ever run out of ideas. We just think we do because we may be stifled at the moment. Just a couple of days ago (as of this article’s publication), I was trying to think of something to write about, and I only got the idea to write about this topic right before I went to bed the night before last. So, I started writing, and then I couldn’t think of anything after that. But, when I took my shower last night, more ideas for this article started popping into my head. And so, I wrote the rest of this article down.
Where did I get all these ideas from? Well, I’ve visited some of my old works and childhood favorites, and I’ve thought about the people I’ve observed, the other media I’ve consumed, and what I’ve learned through psychoanalysis and other interesting topics. And I wrote about that here. No matter how much or how little I write in the future, one thing I do know is that I will never run out of ideas. At least…not until I’m dead.