Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Brainstorming Theft

My dad, Bud Ham, talks about how important it is for everyone to know one or two things at which they excel.

When he was a kid, my dad could shoot marbles better than anyone else in Florence, Colorado. It gave him a place to camp when the world did a number on him.

Know what he's talking about?

With writing, it seems I'm naturally a little bit good with dialogue (thank goodness), titles (they're fun) and . . . brainstorming.

Brainstorming for others. Not for myself. For myself, I pretty much suck.

A gazillion years ago, when I wore a corporate hat, I learned how to brainstorm through some management classes. That's not to say there haven't been improvements—did I say "years ago?"—but the general let-loose mentality still applies.

The difference is that brainstorming in a group is way different than brainstorming as a solo exercise. With a group, you feed off each other. Every new idea or word or even hiccup, can create the brilliant leap everyone is looking for.

Solo? Think Stuck. Or Suck. Take your pick.

I love brainstorming. It feeds my energy. I rarely remember one thing I've come up with one second later. That's the beauty of it. When I'm helping someone else, they're the focus. Their need. Not necessarily my idea.

So. If you're afraid someone might steal your idea, think again. Not only will it probably be out of their minds in a nano-second, it's probably already been thought of.

Any idea, put into the hands of an individual, is going to take on that individual's nuance. Their history. Their perspective.

Two questions for you to think about. What is your Shooting Marbles place to excel?

And, are you holding your ideas so close to the vest you might be missing something fabulous by becoming vulnerable and brainstorming?

CR: Anne Lamott and I are spending a few brief minutes together every night. If she walked into my house right now, she'd be welcomed as a friend. I'd even change the sheets in the guest room on the spur of the moment, just in case.

It's all better with friends.

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