You want to write. But maybe you're missing the spark that you need to create your next work of genius. Whether it's new lyrics for that melody in your head or new words for your book, ideas. And ideas are the most fun, productive way to grow your business.
Here are my ideas for how to get ideas to write:
Get off Facebook
A new client came to me saying that he writes all of the time…on Facebook. He updates his status and gets tons of likes. A mariachi band circles his desk. Unicorns appear everywhere. And then…crickets until the next time he posts. He's not sure what to do with these critters. He feels important because of all of the “likes.” But he secretly wants to swear off social media because it's not making him money or bringing him customers (yet).
If this sounds like you, get off Facebook. And start a blog. Yeah, that thing that you make fun of because you think blogs are for folks who stay in footsie pajamas eating cheese by the block. No knife required. Because a knife requires a cutting board. And that's way too much work getting in the way of the blogger's cheese.
The thing is, bloggers don't just eat cheese. They become the big cheese…by blogging. But this can only happen when you stop using Facebook as a tool or a tactic. And you start cutting to the core of your brand, so you better integrate smart social strategy. When you realize that it's not about “getting likes,” then you start eating making more cheese. And being a big cheese too, if you choose.
2. Read. A lot.
But before you start reading, learn about the type of thinking that you do. Yes, there are “types of thinking” which I first learned from reading Red Thread Thinking. Tons of red threads exist in your reading. Sometimes too many. But when you realize there's no such thing as too many, you notice more red threads – especially if you're a divergent thinker.
For example, right now I'm reading three books at the same time. On the surface, these books contrast like whoa in terms of topic, characters, and concepts. But there's an underlying theme that runs through them all. Each one of these books gives me separate ideas. But then when I group the themes of the books together, they have idea sex. And idea sex is how humanity evolves (because regular sex is so 2012).Â
3. Embrace creative fear.
As I wrote in this article for The Huffington Post, creative fear lets you thrive. I embrace creative fear every time I hit publish. I'm afraid that I won't write meaningful content for you. I'm afraid that you won't get value. And I'm afraid that jaws lives underneath my bed. Oops, that's not really writing-related. But it's a good analogy for realizing that your foot won't get bitten off when you put your foot down on fear.
4. Write about the “v” word
Ever since Brene Brown gave this TED talk everyone has been talking about the “v” word. For better or worse, it's not about vodka (despite the innate ability to make you vulnerably honest). Her talk is about vulnerability and it's truly the core of human connection. This makes it easier to empathize. And when you empathize, you learn how to tell better stories.
5. Watch movies. And documentaries. Binge.
Some of the best thinking happens when you're not thinking about what you should think about. You shouldn't feel guilty when you zone out with shows, especially when you think of seven tips from a show that relate to your industry. It's fun. It's informative. And when your subconscious works behind the scenes, it's powerful stuff.
6. Be a flake
A snowflake. You're a unique one, you.
Just kidding. You're still unique. But I'm talking about being an actual flake – minus the snow. You've probably had enough of winter, anyway.
You can still manage to get stuff done when you're a flake. In fact, you can often get more done, with less work. When you free up your time to be flaky, you can effectively find more freedom with your ideas. And your business.
You see, if you're naturally a flake, and you try to subvert this facet, you go against how you normally operate. And that causes stress (and exhaustion!) to your system.
“The most exhausting effort in my life has been to suppress my own nature in order to make it serve my biggest plans.” – Albert Camus
You don't need Camus to tell you that exhaustion is the killer of ideas. If you can't master a certain system, or if you can't reach the new, ultimate goal in life: “inbox zero,” it's ok. Use your inbox to inspire you with ideas. The insanity in my inbox works for me. And I certainly can't be alone with this, am I?