I absolutely love the moment an epiphany materializes. An epiphany is when an “a-ha” happens and an idea coalesces in the mind. For me, they often come at strange times, or when I’m thinking about something completely different. Then, suddenly, my brain connects several ideas and the light bulb goes on.
Sometimes the realization is a single idea which just pops on and glows until I either write it down or suppress it. It’s important to train the mind to recognize those moments. I am sure everybody has them in one fashion or another. Just some people don’t value or recognize them. My own ideas tend to push me into several directions.
Obviously my biggest ideas end up in the books and stories I write. However, I often get ideas outside that vein. I sometimes draw a little picture of a great invention which would change the world, if I only had an engineering degree and a bunch of supplies and development money. Most of the time epiphanies come from things I’m already familiar with, however. So that is what led to me making games and drawing comics.
Sooner or later I try to imitate things I enjoy. So I play games, only to find myself wanting to make new ones. I’ve never sat down and said, “Hey, I want to create a game right now.” It would be just as bad to do that for a book. Rather, I play games I like, and then sometime in the middle of nowhere an idea for a specific game mechanic or play system will just pop into my head.
I love that moment!
Then I’ll jot something down, maybe talk about it with friends, and let it foment. Eventually the idea will compound until I have to make some cards or pieces and give it a try. Or it will unravel and disappear.
My comics came about by an entirely different means, though. I was playing with a toddler at my friend’s house one day. They had a game with a bunch of plastic penguins. I started playing with some, having them make deep statements about life and philosophy. Then the kid would grab the penguins and I would scream as the flightless birds died in the middle of their deep thoughts. After a few dozen times, I knew I had something. So I drew my first comics.
Later it evolved to include the grim reaper and a mortician. I have tried to discover what caused me to find death so funny (and only death, apparently). I still can’t answer that question.
If you think you are unimaginative, try writing down little ideas you have. Don’t judge them as stupid or berate yourself. Just write it down somewhere and begin collecting ideas. Once you train you mind to recognize the moment an epiphany happens, it will start having more and more of them. Then you can go about the very satisfying business of actualizing some of them.
If you’d like to see some of mine, just visit my website.
James Wymore is author of Theocracide:
Available at Amazon