Idea Tank

by Gabriela Pereira
published in Writing

The DIY MFA newsletter, Writer Fuel, can help power your ideas and the new workbook Jumper Cables (available to everyone who joins the DIY MFA mailing list) can help you jump-start your writing.  But sometimes you need a place to store your ideas and stockpile inspiration to use when the fuel runs dry.

That’s where the Idea Tank comes in.  I learned about this technique when I took a creativity seminar back in psychology grad school.  The professor used a different name–Brain Bank–but the idea behind it was the same.  The Idea Tank is a place where you can store things that inspire you or notes for ideas you might come back to in the future.  In that creativity seminar, our first assignment of the semester was to make or find a Brain Bank of our very own.  I’ve since changed the name to “Idea Tank” so that it fits with the road trip metaphor that carries throughout DIY MFA.  But whatever you call it, the concept is always the same; the Idea Tank is a safe space where you can store your ideas until you need them later on.

Weekend Prompt:

This weekend, I’d like you to put together an Idea Tank that’s all your own.  It can be something you find at a thrift store or flea market, or you can get adventurous and make something from scratch.  Just make sure it’s big enough to store your ideas and that it’s something that is meaningful to you.

Here’s what my Idea Tank looks like:

I found this ceramic pumpkin at a thrift shop and bought it for $1.  It’s small enough to fit on the window sill next to my desk but big enough so I can fill it with slips of paper containing notes and ideas for stories.  The pumpkin shape is key because it reminds me that I should only harvest my ideas when they are ripe and ready.

Tweet a picture of your Idea Tank using the #DIYMFA hash tag!


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