Quora, personal projects, non-fiction books, and an active lifestyle will help you generate endless ideas.
I’m not a fan of a writing block. I don’t believe it exists. I understand that writing quality is not the same every day, but there is always something to write about. Always. The world is full of fascinating stuff.
Everyone hits a brick wall from time to time. Don’t despair. Motivation sometimes runs dry, and writing starts feeling like a chore. You might find yourself plucking horrendous ideas with rusty tweezers from the wrong side of the brain. But days like these forge real writers. They separate authors from weekenders.
I‘ve been actively writing for the past two years.
I typed ‘The End’ on my second novel last week, and I’m on a good path to earn decent money writing. Medium has curated my latest posts, and I’ve got a top writer badge in Art and Entrepreneurship.
What to do when the creative well runs dry? These always work.
Head on to Quora. I’ll assume that most of you already know about the platform. But for those who don’t, Quora is a platform where you can ask questions and connect with people who contribute unique insight and answers.
You’ll find Google’s CEO and Ashton Kutcher answering questions here. Quora is serious. Medical experts, soldiers, and that kid next door, they’re all there.
How can you use Quora?
There are two ways to use this platform to generate ideas.
Create an account and browse the platform. Look for new questions that are lacking the right answers. Think if you can answer that question in the form of a blog post. Most solutions on Quora are lengthy, resembling articles.
Then, you can explore the most popular questions. Search Google for Quora questions with most views and followers. Find a problem you’re familiar with or a question that sparks the most interest. Read all the answers, do further research, and share your take on the issue.
Experiment. I bought Plague Inc and tried to recreate the COVID-19 pandemic the other day. The end results were scary. And I decided to write about it.
Then I took an online finance course from Yale University. And guess what, I’m going to write about it. Firstly, because I think it provides value for others. Secondly, I’m interested in what you can actually learn from such platforms.
How to use projects?
A simple formula will explain what you’re looking for:
Value for others + personal interest = good writing ideas.
Are you interested in horticulture? Can you buy a Venus flytrap and nourish it to life? These plants are notorious carnivores. I’d be excited to read about your experience, even if I don’t want to grow one.
How about investing? You always wanted to put the money somewhere? Get the Robinhood app or any other investing app, and experiment with low sums of money. I’d be interested in reading about what happened. Also, your experience would be valuable for many new investors. (It would be worth sharing even if you fail.)
Great blogging comes from personally interesting topics that provide value for others.
Read How-To Books
I don’t believe in writers who don’t read. You can’t write well if you’re not an avid reader. (Maybe some endemic species can, but let’s not focus on them.)
“If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have time to write.” — Stephen KIng
I read all the time. And my reading took a turn for the better with the arrival of my first Kindle. E-reader was something I always wanted but was too frugal to throw $200 at. I got it last year for my birthday, and it changed my writing forever. I have access to the whole world of books from anywhere, anytime. Going to the library doesn’t require leaving the bedroom anymore.
Non-fiction books are full of gold and diamonds. Mine that knowledge. Build yourself and discover great opportunities to write about. Win-win.
How to use non-fiction?
I usually open a notes app on my phone while I read. My mind tirelessly generates ideas while digesting new knowledge about writing, marketing, or leadership.
I write those ideas in the form of headlines. An hour-long reading session will help me produce at least five new headlines.
Get Busy Living
Writers need real-life experience. Nothing kills creativity like being locked inside for too long. Fascinating writers don’t just sit around the keyboard all day, every day. That’s how you grow boring and dull.
This method will require a bit of confidence or at least a willingness to build some. You might embarrass yourself. Good stuff in life carries that risk. It sucks, but it’s a great teacher. You’ll learn.
How to get busy
Find a challenge you’re willing to do. Tim Ferriss has a few on his blog. The rest of the Internet is also full of fun dares. You won’t have trouble finding one. Don’t try anything dangerous or hurtful. Fun dares don’t require eating tide pods or jumping off roofs.
Maybe, tackle your bucket list? What can you do right now that you always wanted to try? Maybe, Joga in your living room? Maybe breakdance classes? Bungee jumping? Dropshipping niche business? Perhaps you’d like to ask the girl next door for her number? Do it. And then write about it.
Give your take on dating during the quarantine. How do men feel in that game? What about women? Apps that work for you and why. Is Tinder good? Explore, write, and then share.
What about 30-day challenges? Medium loves those. Write for 30, 60 or 365 days straight and report with your findings. How did it make you feel? How did it affect your life? What changed? Did you earn money? We’re dying to know.
Remember, your experience is unique and valuable. Share it.
“We have two ears and one tongue so we can listen twice as much as we speak.” — Epictetus
Some people forget that listening is admirable. Writers, in particular, might feel inclined to explain things rather than to listen. You read so much, and you know the ins and outs of every damn thing on the plant, and that’s good for you. Nothing wrong with it. But don’t forget to listen to others.
You already know everything you’re going to say. Speaking is not a great idea generator.
Active listening will fill you up with ideas. But it requires a great deal of concentration, patience, and empathy. Most people engage in conversations with the urge to share their message. They don’t listen as much as they wait for their turn to speak.
Listening will help you generate ideas.
How to use active listening?
Call your mother or your friends and ask them about their day. They might be surprised if this is far out of your character. Don’t be embarrassed. They secretly love it. We all want to be heard. We all love it when someone is genuinely interested in our well being. Listen and ask questions.
“When people talk, listen completely. Most people never listen.” — Ernest Hemingway
Figure out what is on their minds. What questions do they have? Where their trouble lies. The more you listen, the more you’ll understand what to write about.
Find out what can you do to improve their life. Research, and then hit the keyboard.
An active listening lifestyle will make a sparkling fountain of ideas. The best thing from this approach goes beyond creating content. Your relationships will improve. You’ll become compassionate, kind and helpful.
I’ve been continuously writing for the past two years. Dry writing days are not my days. Nope. Never had one. I have plenty to write about, and while most ideas might not be the best (some not even good), there have been a few life-changing ones.
Blogging income usually comes from a few well-performing articles. Those few are the best ones out of hundreds or even thousands of others. Top-of-the-world stuff won’t happen every day. And that is OK. You’re OK. Your ideas matter, even when your audience wouldn’t be able to fill up a kayak. Specific ideas are not meant for millions. But they’re essential. Write them out.
These five methods will juice your writing in times of need:
- Non-fiction books.
- Get busy living.
- Actively listen.