How I generate ideas

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So it’s Friday night.

I’ve just finished eating a delicious lamb roast dinner with my boyfriend, he’s ducked out to get some emergency milk for a late-night pancake feast, and I’ve taken the opportunity to get started on today’s blog post.

And up until about 5 minutes ago, I didn’t have a clue as to what to write about.

And then I remembered a conversation I had with my friend Trudy yesterday. We were talking about this blogging challenge, and she asked:

“How do you come up with your ideas?”

And that gave me an idea for this post.

How I generate ideas for blogging, podcasting, speeches and videos:

1. Compelling experiences

Every now and again I’ll experience something that impacts me so much I feel compelled to share the story. Like the Lyft / Twitter experience, or when a stranger at a bar opened up (emotionally) to me.

Something happens in me where I feel restless unless I get it ‘off my chest’. These types of posts are faily easy to write – I’ll be itching to get to my laptop and I’ll furiously type until it’s all out…and then I’ll go back and refine it 🙂

2. Questions I get asked

If someone shows interest in you and what you do, chances are someone else will be interested to learn the same thing too. And this is great for idea-generating fodder!

For example, when I first started this blog, I had a lot of colleagues make comments about my deliciously healthy home-made lunches. So I wrote a blog post about how I made my lunch (it’s still one of my personal favourites).

When I run a workshop, I always take note of the questions I get asked – and then I turn my answers into a podcast episode. Too easy!

So think about what people come to for. What do they ask you? Do you get a lot of repeat questions? All of these are great clues as to what you could write/speak about.

3. Conversations I’ve had

Sometimes I find myself having awesome, compelling discussions with people and it makes me think: “We have to share this!”

4. List resources or learnings

This is easy. Write the title: “10 things I learned in 2015” or “15 things I’d love to do before I die” or “5 amazing health and fitness resources” etc, and just list out a bunch of stuff! You only have to write a couple of lines for each one.

This forces you to come up with a bunch of ideas all at once, but you don’t have to elaborate on them, so it takes the pressure off.

And then…

5. Expand on something you wrote in the list post

Looking back at my “16 things I’ve done in 2016 so far” post, I could easily expand most of those points into entire blog posts. This is great if I’m feeling a bit stuck for ideas.

6. Consume other people’s content

Listen to podcasts, read other blogs, watch videos, and use them as inspiration. Enough said.

Just before I wrap up, I have two more pointers for you:

  1. Don’t ever be afraid of sharing your ideas. This allows other people to contribute and potentially make your idea even better. Win! (And don’t be disheartened if they think it’s a bad idea…go share with more people and get a wider cross section of opinions.)
  2. The more ideas you share, the more you will generate. Don’t worry, you’re not going to “run out of ideas” if you put them out there. In fact, I’ve found that when you empty your idea tank, you’re forced to refill it. Holding on to ideas and not sharing or implementing them will only make them stale. So don’t be afraid to give them life and put them out there!