“Where do you come up with ideas to post every single day?” I keep encountering this question and though it would make a good “how to” post.
Before I start that, let me say that my goal is not to post here daily forever. This site will always be a sort of home base with me posting more days than not. Make no mistake though, this is a business tool for me (that does not negate how much I love the relationships I’m building here) and so there will come a time when I pull back on my daily posting to focus on business creation. That being said, I do intend to produce daily even if it is not the form of a daily post. Currently, the posting is a great way to train my mind and strengthen my resolve as I begin entering in to other endeavors.
But that’s not the point of today. Today is how I come up with these daily ideas. And so…
My strategies for producing ideas daily
Here are practical tips I employ to woo the muse:
1. Read voraciously
I consume tons of blogs, books and magazines. Not all of them have to do with my niche or what I’d write about, but reading is a great tool for transforming your mind. Practice it regularly if you want to become more heroic and chase your dreams!
2. Eliminate (or reduce) noise
If the Church of the Template Life has an alter, it is the TV. Turn that crap off, even if only occasionally. Do the same with the radio in your car. Contrary to popular belief, music CAN be distracting.
I regularly cut out excessive noise. It bombards you intentionally to cause you to think the way someone else wants, or worse, to not think at all. It actually robs you of your creativity!
If you’re like me, your brain may go through a withdrawal stage; it’s rough when you have used these things to not think for so many decades. After a while though, you can use that same time to think instead of just passively accepting others’ ideas. This was really hard for me when I first started doing it but the rewards have been awesome!
3. Look for opportunities to think
“My best ideas always come while I’m in the shower.” How many times have we heard people say that. It’s because it’s one of the few places where we don’t allow ourselves to be bombarded. We’re actually using our mind to process our thoughts and think through things.
Try recreating that environment more often. Set aside time during the day where you interrupt your normal routine to think, even if for 5 or 10 minutes a day. If you don’t exercise your creativity, it will atrophy!
Caution: When recreating the shower environment, refrain from the naked and wet part. If done publicly you’ll likely end up in jail…though you will have lots of thinking time on your hands, I suppose.
4. Talk with others
I can’t stress enough how important this step is! I get a lot of ideas through discussions with other people. Getting bogged down in your own mind is not good for you. In fact, if I’m particularly stumped, I will often lay everything aside and look for someone to converse with. Just talking with other people helps so much!
Need someone to chat with, holler my way. Chances are I’ll use it as a chance to practice this step too!
5. Think with your eyes
A picture is worth a thousand words, right? Well, that’s a lot of ideas, if you ask me!
Instead of looking to words, look to visual references. Try searching through Flickr or other photo sharing sites and see if something stands out to you. What story is there in the picture? How does it impact you? If you can grab hold of that and convert it to ideas, do it!
An added bonus is that if what you’re producing is a blog article, then you’ve already got a photo lined up for it!
6. Get physical
If you’re really stuck, get up off your ass and do something!
Go outside. Do some jumping jacks. Go to the store and walk around. Create movement with your body!
The act of separating yourself physically from the place where you are trying to be inspired might just trigger inspiration. I’ve gotten tons of ideas while walking around Lowe’s looking at lumber or power tools! The muse doesn’t always hang out at your desk, sometimes she is out wandering around the home improvement stores. (Try the lumber section, I see her there often!)
7. Take notes constantly
Whenever you are practicing the preceding steps, make sure to record thoughts that you have. You’ll find it a valuable resource to go back to when nothing comes rushing to the front of your mind. Often just reading through my notes triggers an idea that I might not otherwise have had.
I’ve got a messenger bag with pens and a notebook that I carry with me everywhere. Anytime I’m reading something I write notes down. Ross Hudgens wrote an article where he talks about taking notes while reading articles online. This makes logical sense to me so if you’re not doing it already, try it!
Keep your notebook (or whatever) visible! Just the act of having my notebook out makes me conscious to record any inspiration I might get.
8. Plan ahead
Commit to a schedule knowing that there will be times you just don’t want to do it..and then plan ahead!
On the days where you are super inspired, don’t stop at just one idea. Produce, produce, produce! If it is writing, do a ton of articles at once. If it is building something, don’t stop just because the first one is complete. If it is creating art, keep going past that first piece!
While you can certainly position yourself in the best possible light to be inspired, there are times where the muse pours out pure and natural inspiration. Take advantage of those times. Stay up late if you have to and keep going until you run out. Those times don’t happen every day so capitalize on them when they do.
For me, I keep tons of articles in draft status for those days when I just “can’t”. I know that if I’m truly stumped, I can use a pre-written article. My planning allows me to still ship on schedule reaping from something that I sowed when I had more to give. There have already been a few nights where this was invaluable to me!
When you are working on a business, ideas are a precious commodity. Capturing them is key to success.
Being creative requires you use your mind like a muscle. If you don’t work it out regularly, you will have a difficult time when you need it. Let it sit idle too long and it will start to atrophy.
Work at it daily, push yourself to the limits, and you’ll find yourself being heroic when few others choose to do the same.
Since I’m always looking for tips on collecting ideas, leave me any you use that I didn’t include!