Where Your Best Ideas Come From

It was very early morning in May 1964. A man was sound asleep in his Clearwater, Florida hotel room when a loud guitar riff suddenly jolted him out of bed.

The sound did not come from a noisy neighbor. The guitar riff was a dream in the man’s head.

The man was a musician. He sleepily picked up his guitar, turned on his tape recorder, and recorded the riff just as he heard it in his dream. Then he went back to sleep.

When he woke up, the man – who you know as Keith Richards of The Rolling Stones – had completed the now-famous guitar riff from (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.

For broadcasters and podcasters creating content, your subconscious is your best friend. When you are working on an idea, your subconscious is constantly running in the background, automatically helping you to think of the next big thing.

A well-known writer’s trick is to scribble down problems with movie scripts, novels, and story ideas right before bed. While sleeping, the brain keeps polishing ideas, plotlines, and solutions so that in the morning, just like Keith Richards, you find that killer riff.

Your subconscious will work for you too, but you have to get it started through planning. Planning plants the seeds of your ideas now, and your subconscious grows them for you.

Planning is the little head start is that your brain needs to consistently deliver great ideas when you need them. It is important for you to start thinking of what your show is doing tomorrow, the next day, the day after, next week, next month, and next quarter.

Show planning is a practice that consistently brings about the most dramatic growth and improvement in a show. It is also one of the opportunities that presenters most consistently miss. Planning is work.

Think of your subconscious and creativity another way: There may have been times when you completed an on-air segment or finished a conversation at work. Sometime later – when it is too late to say it – you think of the funniest punch line or the smartest comment? Planning assures that more of those brilliant moments will arrive on time instead of too late.

Plan time to do your planning. Get out your calendar and schedule a little time for these planning sessions:

  • Daily planning
  • Weekly planning
  • Quarterly planning
  • Special event planning

If planning is not on your calendar, it will not happen, so make an appointment and keep it. Take all the time you can spare.

Do the math: You might think ten minutes a day is not enough planning time to matter, but think of it instead as 50 minutes a week.

Stick to that routine 48 weeks a year, and that equals one day and 16 hours of planning. Just imagine the great ideas that you will discover from that!