#1: Bad Eggrolls, Good Ideas

People often ask me how I come up ideas. They seem genuinely interested in understanding the magic process that they believe differentiates “creative” people from themselves. I’ve never been sure that “creative” people actually have more ideas than anybody else. I think it may just be that we take our ideas more seriously; we think they’re worthwhile so we act on them. I’m guessing if most people have a fleeting thought about how funny it might be to chronicle the imaginary habits and quirks of an extremely sophisticated lobster, they would chalk it up to stress or a bad eggroll and move on.

We “creative” people on the other hand (Dave and I), devoted some months of our life to developing the idea in the form of a new children’s book (“When a Lobster Buys a Bathrobe”). If you have never considered yourself a particularly creative person, but would like to change that, you might start by taking your ideas more seriously. The more offbeat, the better -- because “strange” also means “original,” and that’s what creativity is all about.

So the next time you get a bizarre thought, write it down. Then ask yourself whether it can be written, drawn, photographed, painted or otherwise brought to life. Because a bunch of people are going to purchase and enjoy our new lobster book . . . even if it was the result of a bad eggroll.

(bad eggroll. bad.)

(bad eggroll. bad.)

Ed Shankman

Ed's entire life has been one continuous creative project. In addition, to writing, playing music, and painting, he is the chief creative officer at an advertising agency, where he helps others discover and focus their own creative voices. As you can see by this book, Ed fancies himself the world's leading expert on the imaginary lives of lobsters. He lives in Verona, NJ, with his wife, Miriam.