The Great David Lynch Explains Where Ideas Come from & What to Do when You've Got One
The fight for ideas is a long, exhausting one. At times it feels like no matter what we do to help inspire our creativity, the space between artistic revelations widens -- and without a firm idea on which to belay another, the stories, characters, and worlds we want to create may never materialize. But, an inspiring word comes from director David Lynch, who recently spoke with Paul Holdengräber at an event for BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music) about how ideas are like bait: once you hook one you like, it's bound to bring in a more abundant, and abundantly bigger catch.
We've all been through dry spells. Ideas are slow to come, if at all, and even the ones that do don't really spark your interest all that much. They're the final dregs of a creative season that is drawing to a close -- and sometimes they seem completely worthless.
However, Lynch, whose creativity is the envy of just about everyone who does anything art-related, breaks down the nature of ideas, creativity, and inspiration. He first talks about how ideas appear to an artist, which I imagine could be different for everyone, and then ends with an extraordinary parable about "catching" ideas.
Check out the short video below:
It's a strange sensation when you desperately want to create something, but you just can't think of what it is you want to create. It's like your heart and mind are fighting against each other -- "I really want to write this script -- what the hell do I write about?" It's this strange mixture of passion and mental listlessness, the subtle dance two magnets do as they're repelling one another, the worst kind of ennui -- the summer-night-in-high school kind. This, many times, kills creativity.
But, taking from Lynch's example, when you catch an idea (especially if you really like it), nurture it, because it's going to lead you to another if you let it. Getting frustrated because it can't hold the weight of your entire concept is understandable (I do it all the time), but demanding less, loosening your stranglehold on each idea will actually allow it to breathe and serve your project more capably. The trick is realizing that what you caught with small bait is actually bait itself, and will catch you something bigger!
What did you think of Lynch's idea of ideas as bait? Do you find it true in your own creative process? Let us know in the comments below!