10 of My Tips for Coming Up With Writing Ideas

People sometimes ask me how I come up with so many AMAZING blog post ideas. /sarcasm

OK, they usually don’t phrase it that way, but they usually are curious about how I can generate enough ideas to write daily.

Here are a few things that help me to generate new ideas daily:

1. Soak in your environment

Keep your eyes open. Observe the world around you like a detective or a novelist. Pay attention to details and learn the stories behind the things and people you take for granted. Everything is about five layers deeper than you assume. Ask lots of good questions and start a lot of conversations with strangers.

2. Read, listen, watch

Read books, listen to podcasts and stories and audiobooks, and watch YouTube videos and plays and movies. New stories and new information mean new points which you can connect to form creative new ideas.

3. Take long walks and long drives and long showers

Long walks and long drives and long showers are some of my most creative times. Our bodies are busy with an automatic physical activity, freeing up our minds to wander. Help your mind to wander by playing good music, particularly music associated strongly with a feeling or a memory. In this state, your mind will be much more open, much more receptive to new ideas, and much more likely to notice connections you haven’t noticed before.

Those connections make for good blog posts.

4. Train your mind to take notes

I take notes obsessively, whether in Evernote, Mac notes, or on paper. This practice helps my memory and my absorption of new facts.

I’m convinced this habit also helps my mind latch on to new ideas and connections that could make for interesting blog posts. My mind already subconsciously “knows” that I’m writing every day. I’ve also already trained it to know that I will write down what comes out of it.

Now, when a new idea comes up, I will reach for my phone and write it down as quickly as possible.

5. Steal a style

The other night I wrote a blog post based on how an insult comic might deliver a standup bit.

Even if you have one style that you’re better at, don’t limit yourself. If you need a quick jolt of creativity and inspiration for a good idea, you may need to stop looking so hard for the idea and start looking for its framing. Styles provide interesting constraints that make creativity easier.

6. Answer a question

Have a burning question that you’re asking often? Does your community often ask many of the same questions about success, personal development, or Star Wars film facts? Use your blog to answer those questions. Posts that answer good questions can be as long or short as you like, but the question immediately provides a clear direction for a blog post.

7. Make lists

If you’re strapped for ideas, think about the lists of ideas, tools, recommendations, books, movies, etc. that you’ve built up over time. Are these useful to someone, somewhere? Well maybe you should publish them.

7. Share a tip

Have some advice to share? All of us have some slight tweak to our way of doing something that makes our life better. Share that in a post.

8. Comment on something.

Review a book or a performance or a company or a product. There are dozens of opportunities you have every day to express your experience or your thoughts on something everyone else is taking for granted.

9. Comment on your own work.

Write a followup post or a part II. Some topics just deserve it.

10. Write poetry.

If you can’t say something about something, paint us the something with words. You don’t have to know standard rhyme and meter to write a decent free verse poem. A little exposure to Shakespeare and you’ll be writing decent poems about the people and experiences (and their subtleties) around you.

Photo by rawpixel.com on Unsplash

James Walpole

James Walpole is a writer, startup marketer, and perpetual apprentice. You're reading his blog right now, and he really appreciates it. Don't let it go to his head, though.

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