Stuck? Three Ways to Discover New Ideas By Rochelle Melander

file000739558943Ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple and learn how to handle them, and pretty soon you have a dozen. —John Steinbeck

Last Tuesday at the library, we wrote noisy poetry. An eight-year-old girl whined, “But I don’t know what to write about!” I asked her questions: What interests you? What annoys you? What are some noisy things in your life? She shrugged. She doodled. Finally, after much discussion, she said, “Well, my cat has a stinky butt!”

“Does your cat make noise?” (Yes, I know—a risky question, given that she’d just mentioned her cat’s stinky butt.)  Thankfully, my young friend suddenly remembered how her cat liked to leap onto things that made noise. And off she went, writing a poem about her noisy cat.

So writers, what do you do when you’re out of ideas and don’t have a writing group to help you? Here are three idea-generating tools:

1. Title Generator. I happened upon the Tweak Your Biz title generator when I was researching blog titles and fell in love. Type in your topic, let the tool know if it’s a noun or a verb, and abracadabra: the tool delivers oodles of titles. It’s not perfect, but it will spark some ideas.

2. Lists. I often make lists or mind maps of writing ideas. But when I’m out of ideas, it’s helpful to read other people’s lists of ideas. Here are a few to get you started:

+Stuff kids love.

+Bernadette Mayer’s List of journal ideas and prompts.

+List prompts for your art journal. Use these prompts to create your own lists of ideas.

3. Idea Networks. An idea network collects the best business ideas from around the world in a single place. While these ideas are geared toward entrepreneurs who want to start businesses, journalists and writers can use these ideas in blogs, articles, and novels.

+Springwise: http://www.springwise.com

+Trendwatching: http://trendwatching.com

The next step: Once you have a list of ideas that excite you, spend time journaling. Create a mind map or list (!) around one or more of the ideas to see if it’s juicy enough to develop into a blog post, an article, or even a book!

Your turn: What sites do you use to gather ideas?

 

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