3 Ways To Generate New Ideas For Your Writing
How to write every day without boring yourself (and your audience)
The advice to show up and write every single day is everywhere. I’ve read it a dozen times. In fact, I’ve mentioned it in at least 5 of my own articles.
But let’s face it — We don’t always interesting things to write about. Do we?
In such a scenario, the whole ritual of writing every day might leave you churning out the same set of advice in ten different ways. This might help you satisfy your goal of being regular with your writing. But might leave you feeling bored and a little depleted in the process.
Yesterday, I submitted my article to a publication and the editor left a note saying — “This has some good information but it is a bit generic.”
And it got me thinking — How can I make my articles more exciting for myself, my readers as well as my editors?
Here are some of the ideas from my research. Hope you find them interesting and they help you churn out fresh ideas for your writing —
1. Look Inside
Most of my article ideas come from asking myself this simple question — What am I struggling with?
I believe that most of us struggle with similar problems.
For instance, if I am struggling to come up with new ideas for my writing, chances are that other writers face a similar problem as well. If I wake up and feel overwhelmed by my to-do list, other people might struggle with the same problem.
Then I read extensively and try to come up with ways to solve that problem for myself. If the solution works for me, I share my learnings in an article.
Think about it — What are you struggling with right now? It could be anything from planning your meals or working out regularly.
Pick up a few strategic ways to overcome your problem and document your journey using a bullet journal habit tracker or a visual log. People prefer reading articles that share the personal journey as opposed to those that simply churn out advice. Imagine, how exciting it would be to write a content piece titled—
- How I got myself to do X for X days in a row.
- I did X for X days. This is what I learned.
- How I get myself to do X every single day
2. Do A Brain Dump Exercise
If I told you to write down all the ideas you’ve had around writing, you will be surprised to see everything you’ve had in your mind already.
Similarly, if I told you to write down your thoughts about a topic, say for instance — How can you make time to learn a creative skill — you’ll find out that you’ve plenty to say.
Most of the time, we fail to tap into these thoughts which could help us generate some amazing ideas. One way to do this is a brain dump.
A brain dump is simply your everything notebook. You write anything and everything in it, in no particular format, at no particular time.
According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, a brain dump is the act or an instance of comprehensively and uncritically expressing and recording one’s thoughts and ideas (as on a particular topic).
For a long time now, I’ve used my phone’s notes app for this purpose. Even today, I find ideas for my articles from notes I wrote even years back.
So pull out a pen and a piece of paper (yes, sometimes analog is better than digital) and write down everything that’s on your mind. It might take some time for you to get into a habit of recording your thoughts but eventually, you will start enjoying the process. And what you write will act as a valuable resource for times when you feel lost for ideas.
3. Take A Little Bit From Everything
There’s so much wisdom to be found in this world. Today, there’s more advice out there than what we can possibly consume. Due to the constant influx of content from different channels, we’ve become habitual to consuming information passively.
But that doesn’t help us.
We watch a video where we like the points put forth by the speaker. But we quickly forget about them all. And just like that, we’re watching another Ted Talk or a series on Netflix.
What if I told you that you can get new writing ideas from every content piece you consume. All you need to do is ask yourself — What can I take from this?
For instance, when I watched a video by Mel Robbins, a renowned motivational keynote speaker and the writer of The 5-Second Rule, I got introduced to the concept of ‘Sunk Cost’ for the first time.
The sunk-cost bias is our tendency to continue down a losing or negative path because of the investment we have already made to get there. The effect of the sunk-cost bias is that we often continue to make bad decisions based solely on previous decisions
This led me to write an article — How To Truly Let Go Of What Doesn’t Matter
See, great ideas are everywhere. But, you need to get into a habit of documenting them and using them.
In the beginning, you can write your thoughts just after watching a video or listening to a podcast show, completing a course on an online course platform, or reading a few pages of the book.
Write about the learnings and how they apply to you. Later, you can use them to generate fresh ideas for your writing.
Apart from these, you can also take care of idea generator tools out there. Hubspot’s Blog Topic Generator is an interesting tool that I like to use sometimes. I also like to check out BuzzSumo and Ahrefs to get an idea of trending articles around a particular topic.
That’s all, these are some of the strategies that work for me when I hit the cursed writer’s block and just can’t think what my next article should be about. Hope you found them useful.
I am Shreya Dalela, a copywriter & digital strategist. I help companies and individuals create a powerful brand voice and effective content marketing strategies.
This article was originally published on Medium.com.