“List every crazy idea you ever had – that you can recall. No rules, no judgement. Crazy being just about anything that seems crazy to you or did at the time. Good ideas, bad ideas, ideas that held you back and ideas the set you free- and the ones that transformed your life.
Can you trust the new crazy ideas within you now? Even if you don’t act on every one, sometimes seeing them on paper helps you connect with something you want to reconnect with, or sometimes helps you let something go.
Either way…I hope you are able to discover something as you write.”
After I read the above excerpt from Dawn’s series “Journal Enthusiast” on her blog, I scribbled down three pages of crazy ideas. I enjoyed the brainstorm of crazy ideas. As they poured out, I began to discover some clarity about what I value.
As I wrote the ideas, I noticed many of them started with some kind of verb. Be something. Write something. Pray for someone. Lead a group. Travel to somewhere. Go places. Open something.
I noticed most of my crazy ideas had two things in common: creativity and community. And that doesn’t really surprise me because I enjoy being with people, and I love expressing myself creatively. Many of the ideas have already come to be, and a few still haven’t happened yet.
I say yet, because I have found that keeping the crazy ideas around, whether in lists or just bouncing around inside my head, they take on a life of their own. I haven’t opened a coffee shop, but I serve coffee on Fridays during the souldare art classes in my home. I invite others to local coffee shops to share conversation and create art in our journals. So the crazy idea hasn’t moved into a physical building, where I’m that quirky barista serving up cappuccinos, but “opening a coffee shop” has become a metaphor for creative living in community, wherever I happen to be.
I haven’t written the novel yet, but I write regularly in my journal, here at this blog, and I have a couple short stories in the works. Writing will always be a crazy idea that stays on my list, because writing words is more than a crazy idea for me, it’s a lifeline.
After writing my list, I had this insight pop into my mind:
Crazy ideas open doors.
If I never entertained a crazy idea, much of my life would be incomplete. I wouldn’t be part of a home-based art community, where we learn and grow together through creative expression. I wouldn’t have gone back to college for my own personal development. (I never did take night classes in the Air Force, instead I met my husband and then raised our two sons.) But the desire to go to college never died, so I began taking one or two classes at a time at the community college. As I progressed, the crazy idea took me down a path to graduate from college in my late forties.
Chasing the crazy idea of going back to college informs how I live my life today, as a person who still loves to learn. And now, I embrace the opportunity to encourage others to grow and stretch into their crazy ideas, too.
What does all this have to do with brainstorming? Brainstorms help us categorize and evaluate our crazy ideas. Taking the time to enjoy a brainstorm may lead you to the one crazy idea that you need to embrace, right now. Why not take Dawn’s challenge and just list all your crazy ideas and see where the brainstorm takes you.
Whoever brings blessing will be enriched,
and one who waters will himself be watered. (Proverbs 11:25 ESV)