Idea Development Made Simple

Nov 10, 2011 | Better Writing

Developing an idea into a piece of writing is a challenge. It helps to understand the way the process works.

Trust your brain. The human brain is nature’s connection-making engine.

Take it easy. You’re more creative when you’re relaxed. Don’t believe that “I do my best work under deadline” stuff. The people who say that generally do their only work under deadline. Deadlines may force you to make choices, but they won’t help you be more creative.

You will have ideas, the trick is capturing them. Robert Tucker said, “Everyone who has taken a shower has had a good idea.” You’ll get your best ideas when you’re doing something that’s mostly on autopilot, leaving your mind to roam free. Dishwashing, walking, exercising, driving, and taking a shower are good examples.

If you don’t capture your ideas, they will slide away like butterflies on the wind. Use index cards, pocket notebooks, digital recorders, your smartphone or anything else that works to capture your ideas when you get them.

Review those ideas. Look over your ideas. Your trusty brain will make connections between some of them and between your ideas and other things you know.

Play with the ideas that interest you. Try putting different ideas together. Look for more information and see where it leads you. Good writing is made from the clay of ideas. When the clay takes shape, it’s time for the final step.

Polish your ideas into finished work. Write and re-write and edit.

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