Getting Ideas is the Easy Part

Nov 21, 2011 | Better Writing

When people find out that I’m a writer there’s one question they often ask: “Where do you get your ideas?” In fact, every professional writer I know has gotten used to answering that question.

Let me tell you a secret. Getting ideas is the easy part. Here’s some advice about getting from that flash of insight to a good piece of writing.

Capture it! Capture it now! Don’t let that great idea slip away. Trust me, you won’t remember it ten minutes from now if you don’t capture it.

Get it all out. Do a brain dump. Write or dictate everything you can think of about your idea. Get it all down so you can come back to it later.

Give it time. Let the idea bounce around in your head for a while. You’ll find that other ideas pop up and attach themselves to it. You’ll find that you pick up insights about how to modify or present the idea.

Play with it. Turn your idea upside down. Try to turn it into a joke. Imagine it as a picture.

Talk about it. Bounce the idea off others. They’ll share their insights and help you make your idea better.

Write it. Yep. It’s time. Sit down and write the piece you’ve been thinking about.

Revise it. Do this as many times as necessary.

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