Writing Tips

How to generate ideas consistently

This can be such a big deal.

I have been caught in very serious occasions where I was not sure of the next blog post or the next topic.


Sometimes, I come to a point where I am like “I have said everything there is to say!”

But Debby that is not true.

You haven’t even scratched the surface.

This however remains a challenge that cannot be overlooked.

How can I be like James Clear who puts out such worthy ideas every Thursday?

Heck, I write my essays every two weeks because I am genuinely scared of lacking what to say the next week.

This issue is one that concerns all of us-what is my next poem going to be?

What about my next book?

And other questions that follow.

Before we address this issue, we will address the issues before it.


First.

Maybe you are not generating ideas consistently because you are actually afraid of generating bad ones.

You want your every idea to be badass.

You want every blog post you write to be James Clear worthy.

So even when you don’t know it, you are hesitating. You are hesitating to dare.

Let’s talk about it the way Julian Shapiro does.

He calls it the Creativity Faucet.

I’ll explain.

He came up with this beautiful illustration after listening to Ed Shearan and Neil Grainman talk about their creative process.

Ed Sheeran, if you are not familiar with him, is an English singer and songwriter. He has the won the Grammy awards on four occasions!

Neil Gaiman is an English Author of short fiction, novels, comic books and even films. He is an award winning writer, one of his books “American gods” won the Nebula Award for Best Novel in 2003.

Ed Sheeran and Neil Gaiman are in the top 0.000001% of their fields.

This means that every single time they put out stuff, it is a masterpiece.

If they are talking about their creative process, then I will be sure to listen!

Imagine your creativity as a backed up pipe of water and the first mile of your pipe is dirt and waste water.

You have one faucet.

So before the clear water arrives, the waste water must be emptied first.

In applying this to the writing and creative process, you don’t resist bad ideas.

Some of us don’t get past that stage.

One weak idea, we eliminate

One bad one, we remove.

We don’t know that strong ideas don’t arrive until you have emptied the bad ideas.

Open your notebook, scribble away.

Keep writing; keep testing till you strike what we might call gold.

Are we a little bit clear on that?

Now, let’s address other issues

Maybe you are just living life ordinarily

Yes o.

To be a writer is to be keen and be observant.

You are not generating ideas consistently because you are not collecting information and stealing.

Yes, be a thief.

Every writer should have notebook or scrap book.

Steal those lines from gossip, from movies, from essays.

The problem is not that we don’t have ideas; it is that we don’t capture them before they fade.

Nkechi, develop a note taking system.

When you jot down your ideas, you save the best notes.

Little by little, you will be building a reservoir of ideas that you can always reap from or go back to for inspiration.

James Clear puts out content every week; can you imagine how radical he would be with taking notes?

Yes, I can only imagine.

Give into the events of life.

Everything that happens around you can metamorphose into a big idea.

This means you can’t just sleep though life.

Open your eyes.

I was talking to a mentee once and among the plenty things I said, I remember saying this 👇

you are not writing enough”

So let’s address that

Morgan Harousel who is by the way a prolific writer and a former columnist at the Wall Street Journal said that he is usually asked how he generates his ideas.

From writing” he replies

Wow.

This is fascinating information.

Maybe you are not writing enough.

I have written before in my former essay that

You lose out on a lot of ideas if you are not writing; writing is a way to connect ideas, yes, but it is a greater way to generate them; don’t wait, 80% of your ideas arrive when you start writing; writing forces you to think, to pause and question; ultimately, if you want to learn something, write about it”

That is evergreen.

Take it to the Bank. Piggybank.

Go back to your old writings.

Do not think that there is absolutely nothing that your former works can you remind you about.

I do this every now and then.

I visit my site to lean to see if I can get a different perspective from one of my essays.

Are there questions that I can address deeply?

Can there be a part 2?

Is there a comment that can trigger another blog idea?

Your former work can give you new directions.

Read more

Please, don’t roll your eyes

Did you think I was going to leave this out?

You expand your idea capacity by reading.

That is on Mary had a little lamb!

Read this, read that.

You have no business writing if you are not reading.

Teju Cole even says “you must read more than you write”

Stephen King says “Reading is the centre of a writer’s life”

Reading expands your imagination

It is the fastest way that I get the ideas that I put out.

It is also an effective way to learn from people that you admire but can’t be with presently.

If you read Julian Shapiro’s articles, you can learn and get so many ideas about his creative work and process.

Generating ideas consistently is intentional

Ideas won’t always strike you like thunderbolts.

Most times, you go after them.

And boy, you can.

I hope I have been able to convince you that you are badass.

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