OT: Help with motivation

Lynch, Jonathan BNZ2 at CDC.GOV
Wed Feb 23 11:11:37 EST 2005

Hi David...

What finally worked for you regarding Windows printing?

Regarding finding ideas - I encountered this issue frequently when I was
a producer at CNN. Basically, how do you become inspired when the
inspiration is not forthcoming on its own?

I used to teach new producers a few simple techniques for finding story
ideas, so perhaps I can adapt them to finding programming ideas.

1) Read, read, read - In news, read all the wire reports and magazine
articles in your field of interest. So, in programming, read lots of
articles on the topics you find interesting. I don't mean that you need
to read lots of articles on programming. Programs are meant to be used
in dealing with aspects of our lives. I am suggesting that you read lots
of articles on things in life that you find interesting, and then ask
yourself "Is there some sort of way I can apply programming to this

2) Concept associations - get a dictionary or almanac and randomly open
it to different pages. When you read the items on that page, ask
yourself if that item can be linked to a topic you find interesting. It
may take a few tries (or a few hundred) before you hit on something you
find exciting, but eventually it will work.

3) Chaotically brainstorm with others - because people often do not
understand each other very well, we often misinterpret an idea that is
being shared. These misinterpretations can be useful, because they are
actually a new idea unto themselves. Once you get that new idea, talk it
over to see if it has merit. Even if it does not have merit, the process
of talking it over will produce other ideas. If you find that your
communication with your brainstorming partner is working too well - that
is, everything is making sense and no radically new ideas are coming
from it - then try brainstorming with your brainstorming partner at a
bar. I find that alcohol makes everything less logical :)

4) Use a random sentence generator - I like this one:
http://www.members.aol.com/clabrack/rsg/ - Most of the sentences are
foolish, but they are fun and might give you ideas if you let your mind
run free while reading them. For instance, the sentence "Police wouldn't
self-flagellate for a pimp" might inspire you to write brothel
management software! Well, let's hope it doesn't, but you get the idea.

5) Be observant - Ask yourself "What needs to be improved in my life?" -
The odds are that if you can create something that improves your life,
it will be of benefit to someone else as well. Don't just ask yourself
that question once and then drop it. Instead, hold that question in the
back of your mind as you go about your daily life.

I could also suggest some meditative techniques for finding intellectual
inspiration, but I would rather do so off-list. When it comes to
meditation and spiritual techniques, I believe that what works for one
person may not work at all for someone else. It is highly

Good luck,


-----Original Message-----
From: use-revolution-bounces at lists.runrev.com
[mailto:use-revolution-bounces at lists.runrev.com] On Behalf Of David
Sent: Tuesday, February 22, 2005 11:01 PM
To: How to use Revolution
Subject: Re: OT: Help with motivation

Many of you replied to this thread, and the collective wisdom of this 
group has once again impressed me.  My problem, if it can be called a 
problem, is sort of the opposite.  I have the motivation, but nothing 
to work on.  Perhaps I just lack the motivation to dig for ideas, but 
my skills are limited, as is my time--I'm a hobbyist, and have not 
tackled anything very challenging at this point (except perhaps getting 
things to print properly under Windoze  ;).


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