Where do writers get their ideas? The Idea Waterfall

I rejoice under a waterfall of ideas. *

There is a refreshing cascade that captures my breath in iced chill. It washes dirt and grime from my skin. Goosebumps gather as the heat of an Australian summer washes into the pool beneath me.

This is my abundance. This is my Idea Waterfall.

I’ve often heard new writers wonder, “Where do ideas come from?” or complain, “I can’t think of anything to write about.” Do you want to know the secret location of the idea waterfall? Read on and I’ll share it with you.

Acceptance Lane

A closed mind can’t take a chance on getting lost. He’ll never venture off the well worn paths to discover the wonders beyond what he already knows. The first step on the path to finding ideas and the idea waterfall requires you to open your mind and your heart to other concepts and other beliefs. Open yourself to opportunity, luck, chance, and possibility.

Gratitude Circle

The truth is we live in an abundant universe. With various neon signs of wealth all around us we sometimes become too distracted to notice the turnoff for Gratitude Circle. We might have little in an economic sense but in every breath, in every smile, there is a gift. Every thread of the shirt on your back, every grain of sand in the bricks of your home, every drop that flows from your taps, every lesson that taught you to read, everything is a gift from our abundant universe. Be thankful.

Acknowledgment Way

Learn to express your gratitude. Appreciate yourself and the blessings that are already in your life. Take a detour down Acknowledgment Way and share yourself, your time, your experience, or a simple smile. Acknowledge the people in your life. Appreciate the opportunities you find along the way. Look with both eyes at your thoughts and acknowledge them. Tip your hat at a random idea, no matter how strange it might seem. Play with the idea. Let it be and thank it for being.

Organization Street

Organization Street is very neat and orderly. Here we keep track of ideas. I know many writers are messy by trade but I’ve found as I grow more organized my mind shuffles to adjust to my surroundings. There is a sense of purpose and growing confidence. You can be organized in a disorganized way. Keep a notepad and write down each idea as it comes to you. This notebook could simply be a scratch pad that builds up with ideas that you never look at. You may never refer to the notebook but so long as you are organized enough to keep track of all your concepts and inspirations they will continue to flow toward you.

Permission Avenue

Finally, give yourself permission to drive down Permission Avenue. Permit yourself to have ideas and give your them permission to be as crazy, far out, or boring as possible. Avoid censoring your ideas as they come to you and stop looking for reasons an idea won’t work. Any idea is a good one. Each idea are a jumping off point from which you can draw more ideas; welcome them all.

This is the map to an idea waterfall that never runs dry. Ideas flow, unstoppable, unquenchable; they thrum with the pulse of their own life. Cherish the waterfall and you will never be at a loss for something to write about.


29 Responses to “The Idea Waterfall: Where Do Ideas Come From?”

  1. Michele says:

    I LOVE this waterfall idea, Rebecca! You are brilliant! Girl, you should sell this post as a reprint article!

    *Runs to the waterfall.*


  2. Ah, this is lovely and informative. You didn’t miss a beat, and I love the street names you came up with!

    Melissa Donovan
    Writing Forward

  3. *smiles* Thank you, Michele and Melissa!

    I’m glad you enjoyed the concept. Trust me, Melissa, that “didn’t miss a beat” aspect came from editing. ;-) I had to go back and tie it all into the map/streets theme.

    This post came from an inspiration just as I was about to sit down and write something else. Sometimes being constantly immersed in the idea waterfall can be challenging. Last night I lost sleep because they just kept coming. Once you’ve found the idea waterfall you never want to step back onto dry land so sometimes you have to bare with the fact that these ideas will keep you scrawling in your notebook past bedtime. ;-)

  4. Michele says:

    Ah, Rebecca, I lost sleep last night too only my reason wasn’t inspiration, it was The Great Comment Catastrophe (explained in my latest post). Whew! Sometimes blogging is tricky!

    Like Melissa, I LOVED the names of the streets. I forgot to mention that. I am so glad you shared this with us. It’s so inspiring!


  5. Thanks, Michele! I’ll be sure to stop by Writing The Cyber Highway later today to check that out. I heard about your ‘catastrophe’ and I’m glad you were able to get it figured out.

  6. This really is an inspiring post.

    Many years ago I used to keep a notepad with me wherever I went, but I got into bad habits and stopped taking it. That coincided with my loss of inspiration but I never saw the connection.

    I love the idea of an “idea waterfall”, and your advice on how to find your own is very useful.


  7. Thank you, Rebecca! I hope you find your way back to your “Idea Waterfall”. I’ve noticed a direct correlation between my following the route above to the flow of my ideas. I hope my directions can help others open the floodgates on their own waterfalls.

  8. Barbara says:


    Time allowed, so I am back.

    I have to tell you, you have the most beautifully written posts I have ever read. I realize editing plays a huge part in that, however, your creative talent is second to none. You must let me know when your novel is published. That, I would love to read.

    Although this is considered a blog, the name blog, does it no justice. I’m in awe,

    I do agree how jotting down ideas helps to open the floodgates. I have been doing more of that this past month, and have yet to refer to those notes. Now I know, I have created my own waterfall. Sweet!

  9. [...] am providing a link to the post of hers, titled: Where Do Ideas Come From, which inspired me to change my blogging [...]

  10. CatherineL says:

    Great post Rebecca. I think most writers struggle to find ideas when they start out; and they’ll certainly benefit from reading this.

    By the way, I found you through Barbara at Blogging Without a Blog.

  11. Nez says:

    Ideas also come from Comment Plazas such as this, where intelligent discussion forms a kind of cyber-brainstorming session.

    I completely agree with the notebook idea — I carry a small 3×5″ mini notebook with a Zebra F301 COMPACT pen (really small), in my pocket whenever I’m out and about.

    Thanks for a wonderfully written post — I just found it through Barbara’s site.

  12. @ Barbara: It’s great to see you again, Barbara. Thank you so much for sharing the Idea Waterfall with your readers. The ‘novel’ is a LONG way off. I struggle to write it and haven’t added a word in months *hangs head* I forgive myself knowing that at the moment my priorities are on creating a successful and profitable freelance career. I’ll be sure to let you (and everyone else) know when the book makes progress.

    Catherine, thanks for visiting. Barbara is wonderful and I am so glad you found this post through her blog. I hope writers find inspiration and a flowing source of inspiration thanks to my directions to the Idea Waterfall. I think many of us feel we live in a barren world where the best of things only come to those who are lucky or special. I believe we live in an abundant universe where everything we want is ours if we ask for it and set our paths in motion towards achieving the dream.

    Nez, great to see you! I love little gadgets but for some reason I keep returning to my standard scraps of paper, exercise books, and notepads. I think we grow to love particular stationary. We use it every day and while I’ll buy anything purple or interesting while shopping for stationary I always keep a stockpile of my basic favorites and I’m a basics kind of person. Cheap doesn’t always mean poor quality.

    I’m glad you all enjoyed this post and I hope you’re flourishing beneath your own Idea Waterfalls!

  13. Ian Denny says:

    I experienced ful immersion indeed.

    Isn’t it amazing how the shackles of our mind keep us imprisoned there?

    Whenever an idea sees a gap and goes for it, we slam the door just before it reaches freedom.

    It’s kind of a topsy-turvy prison. Why do we lock up the good ones and set the bad ones free? We spend far too much time on the negative things. The things we fear and fret about.

    We sit there wide-eyed and cross-legged on the floor looking up to those bad ideas sat on a throne above us delivering a lecture. We hang on every word they say.

    Open the prison gates. Jar them that way. Melt down the keys. Set the good stuff free.

    A world full of liberated ideas teaches the bad ones the error of their ways.

    You don’t have to listen to the bad ideas. Instead, listen to the fairy tales peddled by the liberated.

    Their unpent enthusiasm, bright tales replete with happy endings will draw you in to a smiling existence.

    Seek out the bright ideas. Feed them. House them. Listen to them. Celebrate them.

    By focusing on the good stuff, you can simply ignore the bad stuff.

    The good stuff multiplies. It walks on barren soil, fertility follows. More good stuff appears.

    Bad stuff turns good, so 1+1=3.

  14. Thanks for your thoughts, Ian! You’re right, great ideas multiply if you give them the freedom to dance and live within your mind and sometimes bad ideas aren’t bad at all.

  15. [...] struggling to master alchemy it often means a state of creative void. The ideas are there, the Idea Waterfall never runs dry, but the focus needed to pull droplets of the idea onto the page remains [...]

  16. [...] fantasy fiction, or any genre, as Rebecca has taught us, we can shower beneath the Idea Waterfall until we’re overflowing with inspiration that cascades onto the page before our eyes, spilling [...]

  17. [...] This post written by Rebecca of Writer’s Round-About moved me so much, I remember writing a post about it. It is titled: Where Do Ideas Come From. [...]

  18. Thank you so much for pointing this post out to me! How could I have missed it?? I’m glad I read it today, though, because you’re right – I’m not alone. :) It seems you and I go through a lot of the same things, despite being on different continents! ;) That’s interesting to me! :D

    Jenny Greenleaf’ shares: Autumn’s Creative Moments

  19. [...] live in my Idea Waterfall. It is here the very essence of life surrounds me, flows through me. That essence? Creativity. [...]

  20. Stephanie says:

    aaaah That is why the shower works for me. Writing with wet hands, now that is another story.

    Cheers Stephanie

  21. *chuckles* I was recently talking to someone on Plurk about the ideas we get in the shower. Apparently there is a scientific reason. I wish I could remember where this phenomenon was discussed in more detail. It is such a common occurrence that a clever entrepreneur created the Shower-Tablet for jotting down the ideas we have while wet.

  22. [...] find success in this industry. Ideas are plentiful and, if you’ve read about the Idea Waterfall you know, there are no bad ideas. But which of the multitude of ideas we have every day can be [...]

  23. [...] We’ve all been there. I’m often visited by my Muse at the most inconvenient times. For example, the idea for this very article struck me in the shower this morning! Yes, that’s right. Who knew Muses were so persistent they wouldn’t even let you wash in peace?! Hmmm…. Talk about standing beneath the Idea Waterfall! [...]

  24. [...] do you do to find new words when your writing well has run dry? Do you stand beneath the idea waterfall? Or use any of the tips I shared above? Do you have a fabulous technique to share with us? Chime [...]

  25. [...] imitates art, and art imitates life. Writers search high and low for inspiration, but inspiration is everywhere around us! We can “imitate” art by using it as a starting point and catalyst to more [...]

  26. [...] was self-empowered and that goes to show that it can never be lacking. Motivation may wane but inspiration is everywhere, it’s in the mind and in the eye. All we see and do and feel is stored in our mind and it is [...]

  27. [...] her wings won’t glaze with frost. Perhaps the warmer weather has melted the iced waters of The Idea Waterfall. For whatever reason, we’re bursting with new passion and eager to start new projects or [...]

  28. [...] matter where you find the source of your idea waterfall, be it a dazzling Muse-moment, or a keyword prompt from your writing community (or client), a story [...]

  29. [...] at least for those of us who already write regularly. This is about hanging out in the idea waterfall and letting the Muse play in the [...]

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