Ideophoria, the rapid flow of ideas.


Have you ever heard of Ideophoria?  I hadn’t until I read the book 12 Secrets of Highly Successful Women, The: A Portable Life Coach for Creative Women.  I have my diagnosis. This is my problem!Ideophoria is a ‘rapid flow of ideas‘. But Gail McMeekin likes to describe it as ‘the ability to generate lots of new thougts and ideas quickly. It is an experience where one feels a constant onslaught of new ideas, creating a euphoric state of idea creation.’ (2011)Honestly, sometimes it feels as though my brain is a whiteboard and new thoughts are being rapid fired at me by a conference room full of men and women on expresso coffee.  I can’t keep up!  It’s like I write something down and then something else down, whilst at the same time, an invisible someone wields the whiteboard eraser to make room for the next thing.  Ideophoria is like a creative person’s ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder).

I like the ideas. In fact, I love them. I’ve taken to keeping a pack of post-it notes by my side just about everywhere I go and fill these in with gusto.  I’ve set up a container on my shelf to collect these idea tit-bits and over the week, slowly make my way through them. I add them to my writing or crafting or sometimes even here on the blog.  But I just don’t have enough time to do all of them.  What is with this ’24 hour in a day’ limit, hey? I could do with another 12 at least just to catch up on the sleep I missed in the first 24.

Ideophoria is a strange thing too.  The more ideas I note down, the more that seem to appear. It’s almost like there is someone out there in the universe saying, “Hey, she’s listening. There, over there. She’ll take it. Send them to her!”  Want to share?  Easy.  Start listening to!

I’m often asked how I get so much done? It’s easy, I say. I don’t have a television.  But its not only that.  I make a daily plan.  Every single day, I wake up and no matter what my obligations for the day, whether I need to be somewhere or doing something, working outside the home or attending a meeting, I schedule ONE creative thing I must do to help my dreams move forward.

With all these ideas floating around, the hardest thing is to avoid getting caught up in the joyful exuberance of possibilities and avoid the hard work of preparing the muddy foundations so the ideas can take wings and fly.

About 3 months ago, I participated in an on-line course and this idea of noting down ONE THING was probably the best bit of advice I’ve had in years. I now write this ONE thing down at the top of my diary every day, and do not go to bed until it is done.  Experience has taught me to do the one thing early in the day!  And to be realistic about my ability to achieve it on any given day.  On busy days, my thing might only take 5 minutes. On days where I am able to be home, it might be an artistic activity, such as taking photos for a crafty how-to, that takes hours.

In the book, Gail gives six practical solutions to overcoming the challenges of Ideophoria too. Focus is the key.  I’ve found the way to balance the idea flow, and engage with them too, is to give each idea a little bit of my time.  I can become a baker, a gardener and a candlestick maker, if only for a day.  You can too!

Learning: that a new study from Harvard University proves that for women ‘a lack of creativity and not enough decision-making power in their work puts them at risk fro suffering a heart attack or heart disease”. (Alpert, 2011)
Wow. Definitely time for women to start bringing their heart and soul to work (not just their brains or ability) or find another job where they can.  I thank my lucky stars for the 10 years I spent in my last job. I honestly didn’t realise just how lucky I was to work creatively every single day, in an environment that actually paid for my artistic development too.  I knew it was good but for me, it was normal. I only learn it wasn’t normal when I talk to other women friends about their job environments.  Now there is proof. For our health’s sake, let’s fire up our creative sparks at work too!


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