Finding ideas to write about is a struggle for most writers. Ideas though are infinite and everpresent in our midst.
In the past, I have written about the torment of the blinking cursor; nagging at us to come up with something lest it annoy us for some interminable period of time. Blink, blink. Blah, blah!
Many writing experts label this nuisance writer’s block. Writing coaches, on the other hand, assure us it doesn’t exist. Instead, they argue, it is Peter Procrastination who we do battle with at the keyboard or writer’s desk each day. Peter is persistent; he turns up when we don’t want him to and refuses to leave on our command.
One way you can banish Peter Procrastination for good is by stoking your creative fire with as many ideas for kindling as you can. This can be many writers’ Achilles Heel. It can be just so darn hard to come up with ideas that are viable..or so we think.
Ideas Are Everywhere
In fact, on closer inspection, we’ll find inspiration for our writing is everywhere. It’s all around us, every day, and in so many ways. We are so caught up in the to-and-fro of life; so wired into life’s hustle and bustle, we often don’t see the ideas just staring us in the face.
For example, how many of you have email?
I could almost guarantee that anyone reading this article has an email address — or to be more technically correct; everyone reading this probably has access to an email address.
So then, how many times have you read an email and bam, right there, an idea has smacked you upside the head?!
Like life itself, you probably find you are over-stimulated by thousands of emails. It is taxing!! You dread logging in each morning to find you have an inbox with 29,474 emails. So, what happens then? You tend to shut down what can be a valuable channel for ideas to come to you.
Before deleting this channel of writing inspiration, read this:
Two years ago I was corresponding with a Udemy instructor over email. I had helped to proofread an eBook for him and he had asked if there was anything he could do to improve his course. I emailed a suggestion: create a Facebook group for the course. It’s a great way to enhance student engagement, I wrote.
I still don’t know if he was foxing but, he replied, asking how this could be done.
I was about 1500 words into my reply email, outlining the step-by-step process of how to set-up a Facebook group. At one point I took a breather, contemplating whether or not someone would even read an email that long. I thought about compiling this as a pdf instead and sending it as an attachment.
Just then, I had this idea. It was a light-bulb moment that really lit me up.
‘What if there are others who didn’t know how to do this?’ I thought.
I checked Amazon and used Facebook groups + marketing as search terms. There were some more-general books about social media marketing but nothing that specifically dealt with setting up a Facebook group. After an hour of trying to find a specific book, I thought this was possibly a niche that had unmet needs.
The idea had legs!
Over the next two weeks, I wrote, re-wrote, edited, re-wrote again, and finally published an eBook on setting-up Facebook groups. I even made the cover myself!
As I launched the eBook I had mixed emotions. All of the self-doubt creatives find bubbling to the surface when they release their idea babies into the wild overcame me a little. Once out in the wild of the Amazon, I promised myself not to check on it for two weeks. Checking every four seconds just doesn’t achieve anything; plus, it’s exhausting!
When I finally did log in to check the results, I discovered to my surprise it had 600 downloads in the first 3 days. It is still the biggest seller in my catalog all these years later.
No, I haven’t made a quadrillion dollars from it. I was kind of testing an idea, anyway: could an eBook with such humble roots ever hope to achieve much? The answer was a resounding ‘Yes’!
Let Life be Your Writing Resource
When you source your ideas from life; those things going on around you, the passions you have that add color to your life, happenstance, divine encounters, miraculous meetings, nature, and your relationships, you just won’t be short of inspiration for your writing.
To notice some of these ideas in your midst you need to let go of those things that steal your attention. When you can be the observer noticing life as your subject you will be surprised at how many fascinating and wonderful ideas are everpresent around you.
I am not the only one doing this…
Stephen King, the famous fiction author, wrote 4 volumes in The Dark Tower series inspired by a poem by Robert Browning, ‘Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came’.
Such can be the power of inspiration in the world around you. Your next inspired idea could be waiting for you at the bus stop, or in the queue at the supermarket.
Write those ideas, for the world needs them.