generate ideas for writing

The most common question beginner writers ask me is, “How do I produce articles others will want to read?” That is an excellent question. Having the ability to write every day is all good, but when it comes to getting your work published, you need to pay special attention to the writer’s markets and ensure you keep the targeted audience in mind as you create your masterpiece. Choosing a market is the only way to guarantee someone out there will want to read your article. But how do you know which market to target? That can be tricky, but fortunately, I have experience in this area and some great suggestions that will help get the ball rolling! Before you choose a market, you need ideas, which brings us to suggestion number one on the “How to generate ideas for writing projects” list!

Read with Intent

Learning to read with intent takes practice, but it is the best way to generate great writing ideas. To do this, you need to become a voracious reader. That’s right. Read anything you can get your hands on. Read the newspapers, read magazines, read blog articles, read eBooks, and, of course — read novels. This is the first step to reading with intent. Once you have gotten into the habit of reading regularly, start examining the work after reading it for the first time. Probe the piece for topics that the author DOES NOT elaborate on. For example, if you are reading an article about training your brain to reach a higher state of consciousness, and you notice that one of the suggestions they make is to awaken your intuition, probe the article to see if they mention how to do this. If they don’t — you have an idea to write down! Once you have an idea for a topic, you can start researching it to see if it is something you can talk about yourself. And when you think about it, you don’t just have an idea; you have a potential market!

Reading with intent can be more challenging if you are reading a novel. You don’t want to analyse every chapter of the book; you spend days (or weeks) reading, which takes too much time. Instead, take a day or two to reflect on the novel. What jumped out at you? Was there something in the setting that you found interesting, but the author didn’t “do anything with it? Did it just sit in the background and only get mentioned once?

A good example is a fancy pond surrounded by tangled trees. What can you, as a writer, do with that? Can you make a story out of it? I bet you can! You may develop a fantasy novel or short story that revolves around a pond like the one mentioned. Do you see what just happened? You guessed it! You have a topic and a market!

If you think that this is cheating, it isn’t. Reading with intent is something all professional writers do at some point or another to awaken their creativity.

generating ideas for writing

Flip Through Special Interest Magazines

Notable interest magazines are great for researching potential markets and seeing what articles people enjoy reading. They are also a source of easy-to-find reading material. Notable interest magazines are near cash registers in grocery stores, drug stores, and even salons. Find the magazine section and look at the different categories regardless of where you are. Which ones interest you the most? Do you like to travel? Fashion? Sports? All of these areas are potential markets. Buy a few magazines and start reading with intent. You will likely develop several article ideas before the day is out.

Take Advantage of what is Around You

This is a fun activity. Go outside and absorb everything you see. Are there children playing sports? Is there an unusual-looking cat wandering through the streets? What season is it? What colours are the leaves on the trees? You can write these things down on your “idea list. If you take a moment to think about them, I guarantee an article is somewhere.

Don’t Let Self-Limiting Beliefs Block Your Creativity

This is something I struggled with for many years. I still struggle with it sometimes. As writers, we are our own worst critic. And we have a terrible habit of thinking that our ideas could be better even before we try putting them down on paper. Don’t let yourself envision others turning their nose up at your article. Refrain from forming the idea that your topic has been done before or that your take on the topic isn’t original. This blocks your creativity. It also prevents you from writing with enthusiasm. You must be enthusiastic about what you create to sell your work to a single publisher. They won’t either if you don’t have faith in your writing.

So, before you write, take a moment to put yourself in a positive frame of mind. Listening to music helps me do this. Specifically, I like listening to music on Good Vibes – Binaural Beats’ YouTube channel. They have a tremendous vibrational video that prevents mental blocks.

CLICK HERE to experience its effects yourself.  

Keep Your Energy Up!

This suggestion goes hand in hand with preventing self-limiting beliefs. When your energy is up, you think more positively. A good way to do this is by doing some cardio. You don’t need to go to the gym for a heavy workout or anything; you can just search your smartphone for free exercise apps. I enjoy using the 30-day Squat Challenge app. Doing squats helps strengthen every part of your body, and boy—it gets your heart pumping!

Once your energy is up and you’re in a positive state of mind, you can write enthusiastically and feel good about your work. The more enthusiastic you are, the better your writing will be!

So what do you say? Are you ready to start forming great ideas? If so, I would love to hear all about them!

Oh, one last Pro-tip: To help research writers’ markets and potential publishers, I strongly recommend you seek out Writer’s Market 97th Edition. The book is amazing. It has helped me discover tons of great markets and even a few pro-writers who are willing to view and discuss your work.

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