This is a guest post by Gregory Ciotti
When writing at a prolific rate, (and let’s be honest, when compared to everyone else, authors, bloggers, and freelance writers write a lot) it can sometimes feel like a huge burden to come up with original content that you just know people will want to read on a regular basis.
Unfortunately for writers, there is no secret recipe for original ideas.
However, like everything else, there are effective ways to get the wheels turning when it seems like the creative part of your brain has come to a complete halt.
Just when you think you are at the brink of your creativity, come back strong using these methods guaranteed to fuel your writing fire.
1.) Expand Your Range Of Reading
Your output can greatly depend on your consumption, and it is important as a writer to never forget this.
Just like your body flourishes with a mix of healthy nutritional intake, so does the mind.
Consume a wide variety of literature, articles, concepts, examples, how-tos, interviews, news, fiction, history, and everything in between.
As you read them, think what tidbits of information you can use and how you can use it to really inspire your audience.
What creative examples can you provide that relate to your topic at hand? I know I’ve used examples from ancient history (a topic I enjoy reading about) and relate them to my marketing audience by making a connection with a specific example from history and a lesson to be taught in marketing.
Are their any interesting connections that you can make from your broad consumption of information?
2.) Keep An Idea Journal
Sometimes, as fate would have it, random tidbits of genius will come floating into your brain at the most inopportune time: the time when you can’t act on them.
Try as you might, you cannot trust your brain to remember all of these ideas as they happen, there is simply too much demand put on your poor brain to expect it to remember every last bit, let alone to be able to flush the idea out.
Instead, write down these ideas as they come in a “post idea journal” of sorts, remember to do more than just write the post title, write some ways that you already fleshed the post out in your head, you can always take them out come writing time.
Not only will you never miss out on a potentially great idea that got lost to poor memory, you will also build a backlog of post ideas to use whenever you need them.
3.) Build The Foundation First
Nothing will keep you staring at a blank screen more than actually having a general idea, but not knowing what to do with it. You’re all primed and ready to write, but the wheels are just spinning in place.
To combat this, and let your ideas flow more easily, you should have a potential article outlined before you sit down to really write it.
Brainstorm what will be needed for this post to be comprehensive, brainstorm what it will need to be unique, brainstorm what it will need to provide true and actionable value.
Utilize your Post Idea Journal: the outlines of your post could form throughout the day as more and more pieces start coming together over time, instead of having to force them out when you’ve decided to sit down and write.
4.) Write Where Desire Takes You
Sorry for the mysterious title, but let me assure you, the advice is clear-cut.
Sometimes when we are being productive, we have a calling to do a certain task.
Logic tells us that it would really be better if we did this other task first, but the desire to do something else just won’t leave the back of our minds.
Not only does this happen to writers, it happens to successful entrepreneurs too, and I’d have to agree with the 37signals team here and say that sometimes it is better just to give in to your desires.
Because the best kind of productivity comes when you are really anxious and engaged in what you are doing. If you are going to sit and write, your best work will come when you want to, so follow that instinct.
Feel like writing the conclusion first? Do it. Feel like working on a totally different post? Do it.
Mixing in your more “logical” side (what needs to get done?) with your “creative” side (what do I want to do?) can help you break free from monotonous writing and help improve your content overall.
5.) Establish A Writing Habit
Now, this may seem to contradict the advice above, but hear me out.
While following your desire will allow you to harness productivity by doing things when you want to do them, cultivating an established writing routine will allow you successfully get past the hardest part of writing: getting started.
Waiting for inspiration to be the only time you write can be foolhardy; what if she doesn’t show up?
Writing on a schedule is quite akin to working out on a schedule.
For most people, getting up, ready, and out the door to the gym is the hardest part, once you are already there, the workout takes care of itself.
So forcing yourself to set a schedule can help you in the same way: once pen has hit the paper (or fingers hit the keyboard ;)) you will most likely find that the thing that was holding you back was getting started itself.
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