If you want to be a serious writer, you have to write. A lot.
Rain or shine. Sick or healthy. Whether you have any good ideas — or no ideas at all.
But how do you write without ideas? You ask.
Answer: You generate them. By force.
(And with a few of the following tricks)
Sign up for Quora, dig around Reddit, Google, or Yahoo answers, eavesdrop on conversations, and keep your eyes and ears peeled for questions people are asking about the topic you want to write about…then answer the questions!
Questions are particularly powerful because they trigger your brain subconsciously — when you hear or read a question, your brain automatically starts to compose an answer before you even know what you are doing.
And with just a little conscious direction and hard work on your part, that answer could be expanded into a full article.
Ironically, creativity can sometimes be formulaic. Google “headline formulas” and you will find thousands of sites advising writers to use catchy adjectives, intriguing numbers, and surprising words to arrest readers’ attention from the get-go.
Sometimes, the examples these articles give can trigger the old noggin, making you think about what you would write if you were given a headline such as:
- 10 Tips to Create the Perfect Beluga Whale Painting
- The Secret of Starting a Successful Shoemaking Enterprise
- Little Known Ways to Peel Potatoes Without Using Your Hands
(How do you create the perfect beluga whale painting, start a successful shoemaking venture, or peel potatoes without your hands? If you know, or think you know the answer, you’ve got your idea — start writing!)
The brain is somewhat like a muscle. Sometimes it simply needs a break.
If you keep hitting a block, turn off your computer, get up, and do something else.
Like maybe sneak over to your local playground/library/university to eavesdrop on some juicy conversations, perhaps?
Or put on your running shoes and tell that ole’ brain of yours that you’re not coming back until it spits out a viable idea, stat?
The best way to not get into that awkward between-a-rock-and-a-hard-place spot known to writers everywhere as “Writer’s Block,” it helps to have a plan, or list of ideas, long before you sit down to write.
Ideas come at the most inconvenient moments, sometimes:
- When you’re on the toilet, or in the middle of a nice, relaxing shower
- When you’ve been tossing and turning all night, and are finally JUST about to drift off into much-longed-for sleep
- When you’re hanging ten feet above ground after having slipped off the roof you were attempting to repair
(because who needs professional handymen when you have the combined expertise of Google and YouTube at your fingertips?)
So it helps to keep something on hand to collect those pesky ideas when they show up — because goodness knows they don’t always hang around when you want them to, and they certainly don’t come back when you need them.
Keep a notebook by your bedside table, a waterproof audio recorder in the bathroom, and pens and pencils in every room of the house and pocket of your purse/man bag.
You never know when you might need them.
Never forget, the best writers are voracious readers. So if you can’t find something to write about, it’s probably because you haven’t read any great ideas lately.
You can solve that problem super quick by picking up a book. Here are a few suggestions to get you started:
If you need some personal inspiration, check out:
- Start With Why by Simon Sinek — If you’re feeling lost or unmotivated, this book will get you back in touch with your core reason for doing what you do.
- Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl — A Holocaust survivor and psychologist reveals the meaning of life, and suffering.
- Essentialism by Greg McKeown — Figure out what’s really important to you…then do it!
If you’re looking for quality writing advice, see:
- Story Genius by Lisa Cron — A life-changing look at the science behind stories and strategies to craft your own novel.
- Hypnotic Writing by Joe Vitale — Reveals the psychology of persuasive writing.
- On Writing Well by William Zinsser — The 40+ year classic for nonfiction writers.
If your looking for tools to help you think more creatively, try:
- Mind Map Mastery by Tony Buzan — A revolutionary method of getting those ideas of yours down on paper.
- Contagious by Jonah Berger — Do you know what it takes to make your ideas catch on? If not, try this book.
- The Bullet Journal Method by Ryder Carroll — Constantly feeling disorganized? After this book, never again!
And last but not least, when you don’t know what to write about…
BONUS. Write about how you have nothing to write about
And you will end up with an article like this one 🙂
Writing is a 24/7 Job
Blog and article writers and other content creators are not just called on to write, they must come up with interesting new content at the drop of a hat.
It’s part of the demanding, thrilling, frustrating, challenging, and exciting job.
In the end, Jack London said it best:Don’t wait for inspiration. Go after it with a club.Click To Tweet
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