Birth of Dreams, Part 2: The Pinning Table

Welcome to Part Two of my creativity series, BIRTH OF DREAMS, a peek into the steps that bring a creative idea to completion (and my attempt to prove there is a method to creative madness!)

Last week, I talked about how to gather ideas in The Junk Drawer.

Today I’ll explore pinning ideas together, especially those ideas that seem attracted to each other.


Take those ideas that seemed to “fit” with other odds and ends from you drawer, and lay them out to see how they interconnect.  An example:

When I was pinning ideas for FORECAST, my novel-in-progress, I started with this scene idea:

There’s someone burying a key on a cold winter morning.

I pinned one of my own personal fears onto it:

I’m afraid of the future and I can’t stop worrying about what might come next.

After that, I pinned my fascination with a fantasy/mystery story onto the first two ideas:

Key burial + fear of future + magic + mystery =

What if this key opens a mysterious magical door that lets you see into the future?

If I’m working with visual art, I might pin a shape onto a vivid colored background, and then overlay it with a new texture.

If I’m writing a poem, I might pin unusual phrases together and see what new meaning they make in close proximity to each other.

If I’m dancing, I might begin with a new beat, then see what step pattern weaves well with it, and add a stroke of arm movement.

You already know that each individual idea sparks your imagination. Now you get to make those sparks kindle into something larger.

Good luck with your pinning!

Next week, I’ll talk about Cubbyhole Stages.

What is the hardest stage for you in the creative process? What’s the easiest?


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This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. For me, the easiest part is finding inspiration. The hardest part is getting to work despite the voice in my head that says my ideas don’t have value. I like the “pinning” concept.

    1. Laura,
      I think that good ideas are more common that most people realize. But actually putting them into reality is much harder. I’m glad that pinning makes sense to you! 🙂

  2. Loved this, Elise! I mentioned it in my blog today: the pinning concept makes a lot of sense to me. Very useful information. Thanks! 🙂

    1. Thank you for the mention! Enjoyed your blog post and glad to hear this second round of NaNo went even better than the first!

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