I am 90 essays away from the milestone of 2,000 on this blog. On the way to that milestone I expect to hit 1,800 consecutive days and the 5-year anniversary of shipping daily.
I’ve done a lot of writing and a lot of shipping.
One of the most frequent questions people ask me is:
Where do you find ideas?
Many people tell me they would love to start their own site, but they don’t know what they would write about.
I realize that it’s easy for me to say “ideas are everywhere,” because I really do see ideas everywhere. But maybe you need some more specific guidance.
If so, you’re in luck. Today I’m going to share 3 places to find ideas.
First, a tip:
Tip: Where You Will NOT Find Ideas
Let’s start with where — or, more accurately, when — you are least likely to find ideas:
When you’re sitting at your computer or desk.
Sometimes the pressure of the blank page or screen can be too heavy, shutting down your idea flow.
I find that it helps to sit down with several ideas. Then you can follow the energy to feel which idea is easiest to write in that moment.
That said, you can’t just wait around for ideas to come to you.
You must seek them out. This isn’t hard, if you know where to look.
There are many places to find ideas. Rather than bog you down with too many options, here are my top 3.
(1) Experiences and Interactions
The best place to find ideas is through experiences and interactions.
- Try a new activity.
- Take the long road home.
- Meet a friend for lunch.
- Start up a conversation with a stranger.
- Go someplace new.
- Engage with people throughout your day.
Write about your experience as well as any new insights you had in the process.
(2) The Shower
Have you ever noticed that the best ideas seem to come when you’re in the shower?
It’s no accident. Usually that’s where we let go of thinking so hard and allow ourselves to be. We create space for the ideas to come.
Similar to the shower:
- In the car or on your commute.
- When you’re in the middle of a workout or on a run.
- While you’re doing some type of meditative practice like knitting, puzzles, coloring, or just mindless activity.
Resting your brain from intense thinking rolls out the welcome mat for ideas.
(3) Other Ideas
As you start thinking about one idea or even outlining it in preparation for writing, other ideas will spring from it.
Ideas are like mushrooms; they replicate and mutate and grow into networks.
Every idea can spawn many more.
Once you start looking for ideas, you won’t be able to un-see them.