Where Do My Ideas Come From?

It's 2:30 AM on a Saturday night. I'm sitting in a hotel room in Lubbock, Texas combing through Content Ideas: The First (Ever) Research to Look at B2B Marketers' Opinions on Ideas and Ideation for probably the 3rd or 4th time. Because I'm a nerd and this is what I do late at night.

It's an eBook by two talented former coworkers Jean Spencer and Matt Gainan. Jean painstakingly gathered and interpreted the data while Matt made page after page of numbers and quotes look beautiful and share-worthy. It's an impressive body of work, even for two people who regularly crank out impressive bodies of work.

Marketing Content Ideas
Marketing Content Ideas

But this post isn't about B2B marketers or eBooks.

It's about ideas.

As I read through all this content, I can't help but feel inspired and also overwhelmed. There's not only a bunch of information to absorb, but there's suddenly a bunch of extra sparks of activity in my weary mind. The piece has me thinking about not only how I generate ideas as a marketer, but how I generate ideas in general.

I took a look at my "idea" notebook which looks like this:

It's seen better days.
It's seen better days.

It's full of random and diverse scribblings - drawings, short film scripts, poems, to-do lists, things I definitely didn't write sober, and so on. 

I've had this exact notebook since 2002 so it's quite the time capsule. It's pretty amazing to have this object that, probably better than anything else, could describe who I am and who I've been over more than a decade.

Over the years I've gone back to it here and there, mostly to add something weird from my brain and then move on. This time I'm actually looking for something within it - I'm looking for trends.

And I've found some. But I'm exhausted, and I have another day of travel ahead of me, so I'll share this later in a post called "What Podcasts, Jazz and Beer Have in Common".