I’m about to give you some of my best writing advice.
People don’t follow writers for their skill. They follow them for how they look at the world. Their ideas.
Last year I made a dinky video that went viral. It did 6,000,000 views in ten days or something and it was not even that polished. I mean, it took me about three hours to make.
So, why did it go viral?
Because my take on what happened to Miss Philippines after she was accused of “glorifying poverty” was well articulated, emotionally argued, but most of all it stayed true to how I saw the world.
And I must see the world a little differently, I guess.
I got the idea for that video from nobody — it was from my brain.
I do not follow Niklas Göke, Michael Thompson, or Brian Pennie because of their writing skill, I follow them because of their unique view of the world. If you stripped all the followers away from every top writer on Medium, I’d bet that within a year they’d have a good following again.
It’s because fresh ideas are short on supply and high in demand. Most writers simply do not write about their true feelings or worldview — or even have a fresh worldview. Or they copy the ideas of others, which is fine, but not a good way to separate yourself.
So, how do you find your fresh ideas?
First, Ponder Your “Big” Ideas
Before I continue, you should ask yourself.. ‘What are some big ideas that I must communicate to everyone?’ What are some things you know so well that others seem to not know for whatever reason?
Write down 3–5 ideas you really stand for. The more against the grain they are, the better. You just need to have good reason to argue they’re right.
If you can’t come up with any, keep reading.. I’ll give you some tips.
How To Get Fresh Ideas
Before we get started, just understand that birthing new ideas is much like birthing children. It is not a painless affair. Our parents, schools, and environments instill a lot of world views into us growing up, and shaking the useless ones off is not so easy.
Heck, even knowing they’re useless is not so easy.
Sometimes the world views we develop are already worth writing about, though. I’m not saying you need to go on a pilgrimage to have great ideas, but what I will say is it’ll damn sure help!
For me, getting out of my comfort zone was the gateway to fresh ideas.
1. Try Traveling
Because my 5 month solo-road trip in 2016 exposed me to many of my noteworthy ideas, it’s no coincidence that one month after I got back I started blogging 5 times a week.
I had a lot I needed to tell people!
When you’ve done something many haven’t done or aren’t able to do, this is a goldmine.
My one friend Thomas Despin wrote a blog post a year or two ago about how he was shutting down his $750,000 drop-shipping business. It went viral. It went viral because how many people on planet earth have made $750,000 from drop-shipping? Not many.
Traveling will drastically alter your worldview, making the ideas you grew up with less important and the new ones you’re introduced to more plausible.
Living in my small hometown in Maryland was great, but everybody thought the same way. Everybody says the same things. Everybody is a christian and votes republican and thinks America is the greatest thing ever.
I’m not saying any of those beliefs are bad, but what about Buddhism? What about some of the great ideas of the left? What about other countries like the Philippines?
Just a thought.
2. Undertake A Huge Project
You don’t need to be Christopher Columbus to get fresh blogging ideas. A lot of what I write about these days is about blogging, business, and entrepreneurship.
Three years ago I started blogging online desiring to someday go full-time with it. I have not faltered from this dream and now I do just that.
Because of my trial by fire in the blogging world for three years I can relay lessons to other bloggers that many don’t truly know yet. Because I have “skin in the game” not so much as a writer but as a blogger trying to monetize, I can guide people.
The same is true for you. If you’ve started a business, worked your way up to CEO, started a podcast, worked abroad for a year, etc. , these are experiences that set you apart.
What are some big projects you’ve worked on in the past?
Write about them!
3. What’s The Most Personal Thing That’s Ever Happened To You?
One of my favorite authors, Miki Agrawal, said the best things to talk about are the things we “shouldn’t” talk about. The taboo, the (sometimes) embarrassing, the personal.
Some of my students use the terrible things that have happened to them as writing inspiration. This does a myriad of things — it helps them reflect, find some peace about it, empower others going through the same thing, and it helps them stand out.
I know some writers who have been in abusive relationships before. Despite this, they write freely about their experiences, and their willingness to be so honest can sometimes impact the lives of thousands who read.
This is the most important part here, BUT secondly it also helps them stand out as writers. If you’re breathing, you’ve been through something. I don’t care if you’re as rich as they come or as dirt poor as they come. You have something to say — you’ve been through something at some point.
Write about it. Write about it and find peace. Write about it and empower others.
This Is All You Need To Do To Stand Out As A Blogger
Oddly enough, this is all the guidance you need to stand out as a blogger.
I write about three things most times.. My travels, my journey as a blogger, and personal stories.
That’s it. I basically recycle these inspirations with every new blog post I write, and if you can dig deep and figure out what you’ve been through, what big tasks you’ve taken on, and where you’ve traveled, then you’re already on the path to finding your freshest ideas.
I hope this helps you, fellow writer.
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