Dancing to Ideas

blank-paperYou writers and creative-types – you’ve been there. It’s a hellish place, for sure. A chasm of fear, doubt, agony, frustration…


It’s worse than a writer’s block because with that, you can at least skip ahead. There’s nothing to skip ahead to if you’re idea-less.

But take heart. Your idea is out there. You might feel like Horton standing at the edge of the field of pink clovers looking for that one tiny speck that’s out there calling your name.clovers6

“We are here, we are here, we are here…”

Sometimes you can just feel it, can’t you?

You know how I find my ideas? It’s embarrassing, and no one has ever seen me do it, except Sarabeth when I thought I was alone or I got carried away.chandler

I dance.

I talk out loud.

I sing.

I act.

And I’ve yelled.

It’s humbling, but true. I imagine myself standing before the heads of Universal or Disney Studios and I’ve got five minutes (I’m generous) to pitch them my idea.

napoleon-dynamite-danceSo I yell, I act, I pitch like a storyboard artist convincing the director that my idea is the only thing that will work. I talk aloud about something that I believe in.

I might not yet have an idea to believe in, but I believe that I will find one.

I’ve found several this way.

When I worked in retail, I would often disappear to the shipping room when it was empty and I would plot my book out loud, pacing, lost in my imagination. 

“So this guy Robbie,” I would say, “he wants to be a good father and husband, like most men do. That’s relatable. But something keeps him from that. I want there to be action, but not much action happens in today’s reality… so he finds a fantasy world! In a… wardrobe! No, on a star! No. In a… in a…” I glance around the shipping room and I notice that I’m surrounded by – “In a box!”

Thus, The Man in the Box was born.

Working from home makes it really easy to do this on a regular basis. And if you are stuck in a creative rut, I encourage you to give this a try. Crank up some Fun., or Owl City, or Delta Rae on the ipad and dance.

Yes. Just start dancing. Let your body go. It sounds zen-like, but just release the stress of michael scotteveryday life. The last thing you want weighing you down when you’re trying to be creative is the rock-hard facts of  life that your readers are looking to escape from.

So… escape.


And talk.

And then ask yourself later, What did I talk about? Anything interesting? Jot it down.

And keep writing.

And then get yourself a birthday cake for your idea’s birthday.

How do you  come up with ideas?

(Before you share your thoughts, Like my suspense/adventure novel The Man in the Box on Facebook for updates on the up and coming revised edition!)

Published by Andrew Toy

Writer when I'm not being a husband or dad. So mostly just a husband and dad.

38 thoughts on “Dancing to Ideas

    1. I often wish photography had called me instead of writing. I think: I’d just be a vessel and the photos would tell their own damn stories. Haha. Alas, we creative types all have our own walls to face! No escape…

  1. That’s so interestingly coincidental–I have an upcoming post about how important dancing is to our overall health (mental, physical and spiritual–after all, Miriam and David danced!). I’m going to link back to you, and add in that it’s great for undoing creative block. Thanks!!!

    1. It’s strange – but it works. Word of advice: If you’re an awkward, rhythmless white guy like me, don’t do it in public.

  2. I definitely love this.

    Sometimes, I’ll pull out a dictionary and pick a random word that I’ve never seen or used before and I will force myself to do something creative with it. One of my favorite things to do is make three piles of pieces of paper (one pile with random nouns, the other pile with random verbs, the final pile with random emotions). I then write a poem or a short story that ties the three together.

  3. So true, yesterday I threw my red pen because it wanted to take advantage of my story that I was editing. Only to pick up a pencil, which is worst, because it has a mean eraser as its buddy. Great post. So true, so true

  4. I often have a problem writing because I do my best thinking while standing on my head. No- that’s not really true-I wish I could stand on my head then all the great ideas stuck to my shoes while grocery shopping would pour into my brain. Dancing around does help and singing too. Whenever I start singing, I usually get carried away until my kids yell at me because they don’t appreciate Mario Lanza. Thank you for this validating post-it rings so very true…
    new blogger, old thinker (when I’m not singing)
    PS Thanks ever so much for following my blog. At this stage of the game every friend counts twice-so thank you friend TWICE.

      1. There’s a fantastic book I recommend about that very thing. Don’t know how big it is because I use audible.com. (Four hours long maybe.) It’s written by the author of ” Bonfire of the Vanities”. It’s called “Art is War”! It really nails it.

  5. A hour commute each day gives me lots of time to think and run away inside my head. That and pinterest inspiration boards, but those sometimes turn into -I’m avoiding writing while I look up inspiring ideas-

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