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.

16 thoughts on “How to Generate Ideas for Writing Projects”

  1. Oh yes, I recognize that: my biggest critic is me 🙂
    On the other hand that’s not too bad as long as it doesn’t paralyze me, is it?
    Reading is great and I read all the time. My mother said to me as a kid I would lose my brain because of my avid reading. Can you believe that? Nowadays parents would be thrilled if they had children that would read, I guess.
    Anyway, great tips, thanks for summing it all up.

    1. Hi Hannie!
      Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. It is normal for us to be critical of our own work and it can be a good thing because it means that we are constantly striving to learn and improve. But it is important to put the critic aside while writing out the article and save the editing for last — otherwise you may paralyze yourself just like you say. 🙂

      That is certainly a unique anecdote about reading as a child! My parents were always concerned that I didn’t read enough back then! Its funny how things change isn’t it?

  2. Hi Darcy,
    You have shared some amazing ideas for writing projects. Before today, I did not think about the limiting beliefs affect your ideas and writing skills. this was new to me. As well as, I really like about flipping through your favourite magazine for some inspirations. I personally have done that alot and succeeded every time!

    Thank you for the amazing post. Please keep sharing more of your lovely ideas.

    1. Welcome back, Habib! I am so glad to hear about your thoughts on this subject. And thanks so much for your kind words! Self- limiting beliefs can hold you back from many different aspects of life, even when it comes to writing! This is a subject I am constantly researching as I have found that the moment I realize that my negative thought patterns are holding me back, I manage to turn things around and make huge strides in my writing goals. 🙂

      I am so glad you found this article helpful. I can’t wait to hear more about your writing success. Keep flipping through those magazines! You’ll have countless ideas before you know it.

  3. Hi Darcy,

    I’m really pleased I came across this article. I have been writing quite a few articles for my blog lately and I am running out of ideas. I love the tips you have given us here, especially reading with intent and keeping my energy up. I need to exercise a bit more too to keep my energy up for longer than usual.

    Thank you for sharing and keep up the great work.

    All the best,

    Tom

    1. Hi, Tom!
      I can completely relate to you here. Exercising plays such an important part in our mental health, but is also the easiest to forget. I find it helpful to use “challenge apps” that remind you to exercise on a daily basis. It is a huge help! The higher your energy, the more positive you will be!

      I look forward to hearing about your further success!

  4. Hi Darcy, U have written a most absorrbing and educativee article on how to get ideas forr writing projects. It’s so true that our beliefss limit our capacity to innovate and experiment greately. Our power of observation can also be a huge limiting factor. New ideas can come from everywhere provided we are ready and expecting to be surprised.
    Great thoughts. Thanks.
    Aparna

    1. I couldn’t agree with you more, Aparna. 🙂
      Science has shown that the older we get the less imaginative and more critical we become. This is why it is so important to take the time to search outside of ourselves and experience as many events as possible. Ideas are everywhere — we just need to open our minds and observe the world around us.

  5. Darcy,
    Great article! I actually read all the time, so I’m always getting new ideas for my writing at home. I read books, I’m part of several social media groups and I’m always learning. No matter what the subject is, I love researching things so that I have a better understanding of the world around me.

    I love your tips though and they definitely have worked for me in the past!

    Thanks for sharing your insights with us!

    Katrina

    1. You are a born-writer, Katrina! Congratulations on taking part in writing communities and continuing to learn new things every day. I am thrilled that my article was helpful to you as well. It is an honour to be a part of your writing journey.

      Yours,
      Darcy

  6. Absolutely great tips! I find my inspiration from my life and my work, but also very much as you suggest, by reading, observing. However, for a long time, I used to evaluate my so-to-speak finished writing over and over, countless times. Checking each and every word multiple times-is this the right one to use? Here, or in the next sentence rather? Is this the correct information? And so on…I was literally picturing people reading and looking for mistakes I made. I could almost hear the comments they would make…I still do sometimes, but I choose not to pay attention to these thoughts any more. You must be very right about the creativity blockage, as not once I could not bring myself to add even one sentence for long-long minutes, due to my constant evaluating. Now I find my writing much quicker, easier, but I might add the music, just in case.
    Thanks a lot for such good advises!

    1. Hello, Kerryanne!
      I very much VALUE your story. I too, struggled with the very same problem — writing a few sentences down and then not getting very far because I would constantly nit-pick my words and think they were not good enough. It took a long time for me to relax and remember to put writing FIRST and editing SECOND!

      You should be very proud of yourself, as you have taken tremendous strides in overcoming this challenge. :Congratulations! 🙂

      I look forward to hearing how your writing experience improves with the use of music!

      Yours,
      Darcy

  7. Wow great article, very useful when you try to write an article and have no ideas of what you can write. You gave me inspiration. Thank you for this wonderful article.

    Lyne

    1. You are most welcome, Lyne. 🙂
      Thank you so much for visiting and for your kind words as well. Please, let me know if there is anything I can do to aid you in your writing journey.

      Sincerely yours,
      Darcy

  8. Hi,

    Very useful post when you are trying to get ideas for writing even your blog posts. Your mind goes blank from times to time. You’ve given some great ideas here for writing projects. I’m highly inspired by them. I will be using these ideas in my next writing skills. I think looking at interesting magazines for inspiration is a great one in my opinion.

    1. Thank you very much! Magazines are truly a great way to get to know the writing market. The more you understand about what people like to read, the better your chances of getting published through a publishing house or magazine company! 🙂

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