Where do you get the ideas you write about?
Readers sometimes ask me this question. More often, though, I ask it of myself. Where did that idea even come from? And where can I find more of them?
It’s a good question because it doesn’t have a simple, clear cut answer. Sometimes, my topic comes from a reader’s suggestion. Other times, I stumble into a situation and realize it would be fun to write about.
But all too often, I sit down to write a post and nothing comes to mind. When that happens, I may turn to a blogging resource called “The Daily Prompt.” Every morning it emails me a different blogging topic. The trick? The prompt is almost always one single word.
I love the free association that results from this. The topic is so open-ended that hundreds of bloggers could write about it, and every single one of them would have something different to say.
Here’s what I found in my inbox one morning last week: Daily Prompt: Jangle.
It took less than a second for my mind to come up with a connection. And it came in the form of a line of lyrics from “The Windmills of Your Mind,” a song written for the 1968 film, The Thomas Crown Affair.
Keys that jingle in your pocket, words that jangle in your head
Jangle. I love the image of words jangling around in my head. It’s a great description of the writing process—at least, as it works for me. Words and phrases get stuck in my mind, much like a song can. They keep flying around until they fall into a proper order, then travel to my fingertips, and spill out on the keyboard. I am frequently surprised by the finished product.
At the moment, I have my subconscious mind working on four possible topics for this blog. If I could take a picture of the inside of my head, it might look like this.
There’s a problem with words jangling in my head, though. They sometimes go rogue, spinning off where ever they want. As I was writing this post, I kept remembering fragments of other lyrics from “The Windmills of Your Mind.”
Like a circle in a spiral
Like a wheel within a wheel,
Pictures hanging in a hallway
or the fragment of a song,
Half-remembered names and faces
but to whom do they belong?
Like the circles that you find
In the windmills of your mind.
So I looked up the lyrics to the entire song. While I was doing that, I kept stumbling onto more interesting details I wanted to share with you. But I was straying too far from the subject of this post.
That was when I thought of my friend and fellow blogger, Joe. In his blog, Life Out of Tunes, Joe writes with knowledge and humor about the music that has shaped his life. It wasn’t too difficult to get him interested in sharing his thoughts about “The Windmills of Your Mind.”
I hope that now you’ll jump over to Joe’s blog to read more about the song. But before you leave, you might want to watch this video of the glider scene in the 1968 version of “The Thomas Crown Affair.” You will hear the song performed by Noel Harrison, as the original audience did. Listen closely to the words. Tomorrow you may find a few of them jangling in your head.