How to Generate Ideas for Writing Projects
The most common question I am asked by beginner writers is “how do I produce articles that other people will want to read?” That is an excellent question. Having the ability to write every day is all well and good, but when it comes to getting your work published, you need to pay special attention to the writer’s markets and make sure you are keeping the targeted audience in mind as you create your masterpiece. Choosing a market is the only way to guarantee someone out there will want to read your article. But how do you know which market to target? That can be tricky, but fortunately, I have experience in this area and great suggestions that will help get the ball rolling! Before you choose a market, you need ideas. Which brings us to suggestion number one on the “How to generate ideas for writing projects” list!
Read with Intent
Learning how to read with intent takes practice, but it is truly the best way to generate great writing ideas. To do this, you need to become a voracious reader. That’s right. Read anything you can get your hands on. Read the newspapers, read magazines, read blog articles, read eBooks, and of course — read novels. This is the first step to reading with intent. Once you have gotten into the habit of reading regularly, start examining the work after you’ve read it the first time around. Probe the piece for topics that the author DOES NOT elaborate on. For example, if you are reading an article that talks about training your brain to reach a higher state of consciousness, and you notice that one of the suggestions they make is to awaken your intuition, probe the article to see if they make any mention on how to do this. If they don’t — you have an idea to write down! Once you have an idea for a topic, you can start researching it to see if it is something you can talk about yourself. And when you think about it, you don’t just have an idea, you have a potential market!
If you are reading a novel, reading with intent can be a bit harder. You don’t want to analyze every chapter of the book you just spent days (or weeks) reading, that takes too much time. Instead, just take a day or two to reflect on the novel as a whole. What jumped out at you? Was there something in the setting that you found interesting, but the author didn’t “do” anything with it? Did it just sit in the background only to be mentioned once? A good example of this would be a fancy pond that was surrounded by tangled trees. What can you, as a writer, do with that? Can you make a story out of it? I bet you can! You may come up with an entire fantasy novel or short story that revolves around a pond similar to the one mentioned. Do you see what just happened? You guessed it! You have a topic and a market!
If you are thinking that this is cheating — it isn’t. Reading with intent is something all professional writers do at some point or another to awaken their creativity.
Flip Through Special Interest Magazines
Special interest magazines are great for researching potential markets, and seeing what sorts of articles people enjoy reading. They are also a source of reading material that is easy to find. Special interest magazines can be found near cash registers in grocery stores, drug stores, and even salons. Regardless of where you are, find the magazine section and start looking at the different categories. Which ones interest you the most? Do you like travel? Fashion? Sports? All of these areas are potential markets. Buy a few magazines and start reading with intent. You will come up with several article ideas before the end of the day, more than likely.
Take Advantage of what is Around You
This is a fun activity. Go outside and absorb everything you see. Are there children playing sports? Is there an unusual looking cat wandering the streets aimlessly? What season is it? What colours are the leaves on the trees? These are all things you can write down on your “idealist.” If you take a moment to think about them, I guarantee that there is an article in there somewhere.
Don’t Let Self-Limiting Beliefs Block Your Creativity
This is something I struggled with for many years. I still struggle with it sometimes. As writers, we are our own worst critic. And we have a bad habit of thinking that our ideas aren’t any good even before we try putting them down on paper. Don’t let yourself envision others turning their noses up at your article. Don’t let yourself form the idea that your topic has been done before or that your take on the topic isn’t original. This blocks your creativity. It also prevents you from writing with enthusiasm. If you aren’t enthusiastic about what you create, you will not be able to sell your work to a single publisher. If you don’t have faith in your writing, they won’t either.
So, before you sit down to write, take a moment to put yourself in a positive frame of mind. I find listening to music helps me do this. Specifically, I like listening to the music on Good Vibes – Binaural Beats’ YouTube channel. They have a great vibrational video that prevents mental blocks.
CLICK HERE to experience the effects yourself.
Keep Your Energy Up!
This suggestion walks hand-in-hand with preventing self-limiting beliefs. When your energy is up, you think more positively. A good way to do this is cardio. You don’t need to go to the gym for a heavy workout or anything, you can just search your smartphone for free exercise apps. I enjoy using the 30-Day Squat Challenge app. Doing squats help strengthen every part of your body and boy— it gets your heart pumping too!
Once your energy is up and you’re in a positive state of mind, you will be able to write with great enthusiasm and feel good about your work. The more enthusiastic you are the better your writing will be!
So what do you say? Are you ready to start forming great ideas? If so, I would love to hear all about them!
One last Pro-tip: To help research writers’ markets and potential publishes, I strongly recommend you seek-out Writer’s Market 99th Edition. The book is amazing. It has helped me discover tons of great markets and even a few pro-writers who are willing to view and discuss, your work.