How to Generate Ideas for Writing
The way to generate ideas is to avoid the ‘waiting mindset’. The waiting mindset is when you think that ideas will come to you if you simply wait.
Ideas don’t show up out of nowhere — you have to plant their seeds, and constantly tend to your own mental garden to eventually see ideas show up.
You want to develop a way through which it becomes easier to generate ideas: Creative Pipeline.
Creative Pipeline allows you to never run out of ideas. So how do you develop this:
Answer Creative Prompts
Constantly give yourself prompts or areas that you can then explore. As you try to answer the question, you’ll be surprised how much you have to share.
What are questions you’ve gotten your whole life? Or, alternatively, what are the questions you wished you were asked? You don’t need other people to ask — just prompt yourself!
Areas you naturally want to learn more about can be excellent sources of creativity. Can you compress what you learned to share with others? It doesn’t have to be just about the content, it can also be about the process of learning itself.
What is happening to you in your life right now? Can you observe yourself and notice anything interesting? Don’t dismiss your life as ‘uninteresting’ when others may resonate with it.
The skill of observing yourself is a practice in self-awareness, and improves with practice.
What do you wish someone else had created?
A helpful article to solve your own problem, or to state a perspective you wish others would share. Proactively create the content you wish you could consume.
Share your Balanced Input
A lot of my best writing comes through inspiration from others. In the end, most creative work is a remix upon existing ideas. Try and expand your horizons with what sort of content you consume, but make sure it’s interesting to you.
Make it into a practice
Journaling is a great way to better understand yourself, to document the truth of your life rather than the narration of your delusions. But most of all, I find it to be an excellent tool for storing my stream-of-thought ideas.
Publish weekly newsletters, essays, and much more. This forces you to reach deep into yourself and expose the ideas even when you don’t want to. You need some kind of force function, otherwise it’ll be too easy to convince yourself to keep the ideas hidden.
Conversations are a great way to get instant feedback on the ideas you are thinking about. Share your ideas on a casual conversation as a mechanism for sharing early ideas you have on your mind.