Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Freelancers: Where do you get your ideas?

A day without fresh ideas feels like an endless desert highway.
If you're a freelancer who writes articles, essays, blog posts, or website content on a regular basis, you know how challenging it can be to come up with fresh ideas all the time, especially on demand. Sometimes the well is dry, and the harder I try to conjure something up, the more panicky I feel, especially when deadlines loom.

This article from prolific freelancer Nicole Dieker (who says she writes an astonishing 20 to 30 new pieces a week) offers several useful tips for generating a consistent flow of ideas. My favorite: The List, an ongoing list of ideas I'd like to write about someday. I keep mine in a small spiral-bound notebook on my desk, but I should probably start carrying it around with me, as I seem to get my best ideas when I'm away from home. I never know when inspiration will strike.

One of my writer friends says she has a terrible time keeping track of paper lists, so she speaks her ideas into a small, hand-held recorder that she carries with her at all times.

But both the notebook and the recording device merely record ideas . . . they don't generate them.

In her classic book on creativity The Artist's Way, Julia Cameron recommends a weekly Artist Date, where you take yourself to an unfamiliar environment or try out a new activity for the express purpose of "filling the well" to stimulate creativity, from visiting a new-to-you section of your city, to browsing a gallery, to spending time out in nature, to trying out a new tool or technique. I think her suggestion makes a lot of sense, but I've not yet been able to discipline myself to take myself on a regular Artist Date. They tend to happen at random.

As a writer, how much pressure do you feel to come up with new ideas? What are some of your favorite tips and tricks for generating fresh ones?

1 comment:

Bay Views said...

I never try to force a post that isn't of interest tomany. If you are receptive and paying attention, stories pop out from everywhere. Here is one I just posted.