Where do you get your ideas?

Writers and webcomic artists alike are often asked where they get their ideas, and although each person will have different methods for gaining and maintaining inspiration, there are some common features.

First amongst these is the fact that you will need a notebook, sketchbook or a collection of scrap pieces of paper that can’t be easily lost.  Why?  Because ideas will come when you least expect them; and the best ideas will be the ones you need to write down right now or you’ll forget it forever.  Don’t risk the loss of what could be a perfect idea for your comic by not having a notebook handy while you’re out and about.

Keeping notes on computer is an excellent way of saving ideas for later use

Use a text file or the Stickies application to store ideas as notes on your computer.

That’s not to say a notebook isn’t a worthy addition to your pockets even when you’re not out and about, but it can be somewhat cumbersome to keep with you when you’re sat at your desk, or reading, or watching the television, or — well, you get the idea.  Nevertheless, keeping it handy (on a coffee table, shelf, or whatever) is good practice because those ideas can come at any time.

Other good ways of keeping ideas close to hand is to use a text file on your computer or, if you have a Mac or a similar Windows-based programme, to use the Stickies application to store post-its on your computer.  Snippets of dialogue, full scenes, or even the outline for a whole story can be easily stored as fast as you can type.

When you’re at your computer, having a file or application like this is vital to not losing brilliant ideas and they can be used easily to produce comics at short notice when you have a deadline looming but no clue what to write about.

Whiteboards are excellent for jotting down ideas

A whiteboard is an excellent and re-useable method of jotting down ideas for later use.

Finally, if you have a whiteboard in your kitchen or office, don’t be shy about commandeering it for ideas. You can jot down dialogue, scenes and all sorts very quickly and the advantage of a whiteboard is that you can wipe it clean once you’ve used the ideas, so you’re never short of space. Just make sure you don’t annoy housemates or family members by commandeering it too much, or they may take to sabotaging you.  If in doubt, get a cheap one of your own and hang it somewhere personal; like a bedroom or office.

By keeping something like one (or more!) of these close to you at all times, you’ll find that ideas tend to flow more often than you’d realised, and pretty soon you’ll have reams of storylines, dialogue and character ideas to pick and choose from at will.  Then you too can be asked “where do you get your ideas?”

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