If you’ve ever asked a writer:
“What do you write about?”
“How do you consistently come up with article ideas?”
Then, this article is for you.
Today, I dive deeply into my 3-part process to consistently come up with ideas to write about.
Without further ado, let’s get started.
So unless you actively rewire and introduce new thoughts, you’ll unconsciously think the same things every day.
This leads you to make the same choices. Have the same behaviours. And have the same experiences and emotions that drive the same thoughts.
So if you want to have more and different thoughts to come up with unlimited article ideas, then … learn more.
Here are the 3 ways I learn to help me come up with ideas for articles:
I read 10 pages of a personal development book every day.
As I read, I highlight passages and write them down in a notebook. Then, I type them into a Word document and attach it to my Notion app.
While I’m reading and taking notes, I think deeply about what’s been written. And I make connections between my previous knowledge and what I’m learning.
This process helps me generate ideas to write about.
So, if you don’t have any thoughts, read. And if you have too many thoughts, write.
Some of my favourite books are:
Grit by Angela Duckworth – It’s about the power of passion and perseverance.
Mindset by Carol Dweck – In this book, she shows how success in school, work, sports, the arts, and almost every area can be influenced by how we think about our talents and abilities.
The Obstacle Is The Way / Ego Is The Enemy / Stillness Is The Key by Ryan Holiday – The trilogy offers the best Stoic insights.
Atomic Habits by James Clear (Yes, I had to include it lol.) – This book covers the easy and proven way to build good habits and break bad ones.
7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey – This book shares powerful lessons in personal change.
Think Like A Monk by Jay Shetty – This book distils the timeless wisdom Jay learned as a monk into practical steps anyone can take every day to live a more peaceful and meaningful life.
Choose a topic or skill you want to learn. Find a book about it. And aim to read a minimum of 10 pages every day.
Listening to podcasts
Podcasts are excellent for learning new information.
In fact, there’s a podcast out there for every industry like fitness, nutrition, mental health, copywriting… You get the gist.
Personally, I listen to podcasts when I do mind-wandering activities like walking or cleaning.
This way, I get to upgrade my knowledge and skills while I’m getting in some exercise or cleaning the flat.
My favourite podcasts are:
The GaryVee Audio Experience – Here, Gary deep dives into marketing and business.
The Ed Mylett Show – This podcast showcases the greatest peak-performers across all industries, sharing their journey, knowledge and thought leadership.
The Game – Alex Hormozi talks about how to get more customers, make more profit, and the failures and lesson he’s learned along the way to $100M in sales.
Real AF with Andy Frisella – Andy Frisella and his guests discuss, debate, and laugh through their way through trending topics and hot-button issues.
The School of Greatness – Lewis Howes shares inspiring interviews from the most successful people on the planet to inspire you to unlock your inner greatness and live your best life.
The Huberman Lab Podcast – Andrew Huberman deep dives into how your brain and its connections with the organs of your body control your perceptions, behaviors, and health.
On Purpose with Jay Shetty – Jay has conversations with the most insightful people in the world.
Choose a topic or skill you want to build. Search for it in the Podcast app on your phone. Listen to it while you’re on a walk, at the gym, or doing a mindless activity.
Watching YouTube videos
One of the best places to learn is YouTube because you can find virtually any topic there. Plus, all the videos are free. And most of them are informative and high-quality.
Recently, my favourite channels to learn from are:
Dan Koe – His videos are about the one-person business and human potential. He also covers philosophy, neuroscience, and mysticism.
Ali Abdaal – He makes videos about evidence-based strategies and tools that can help you be more productive and build a life you love.
Tom Bilyeu – His videos introduce you to the people and ideas that will help you execute your dreams. You’ll learn how to level up your mindset and develop leadership skills in business and in your personal life.
Jay Shetty – His videos offer wisdom that’s accessible, relevant, and practical in the topics of motivation, love, and relationships.
Choose a topic you’re interested in. Find a YouTube video that talks about it in depth. Watch it. And take notes.
Now, here’s the thing.
Learning isn’t enough to come up with ideas that have depth.
You also need time to think. Moments of solitude where your subconscious can explore concepts, play with, and connect ideas. This leads me to the next section.
Your mind makes more creative connections between the information you already know after a period of mind wandering.
Personally, my favourite mind-wandering tasks are:
I would say most of my ideas come from observation because I sit in solitude and reflect every day.
I observe people’s behaviour. I observe my conversations with coworkers, friends, and family. I observe my thoughts. I observe my day-to-day life. And I think about what I’m learning.
Essentially, I observe and document my life experiences. And then, I write about them in a way I hope is valuable to my readers.
So, I highly recommend you start journaling. Not only for ideation but also for you to:
Gain clarity on your values
Reduce your anxiety and stress
Reflect on what you’ve learned
Buy a notebook and pen. And every night, sit down to reflect on the day that passed.
Nietzsche said, “All truly great thoughts are conceived by walking.”
Here’s the thing.
Your mind is probably overstimulated by your phone. Your laptop. The constant bustling of the city.
But walking gives you a moment of solitude that calms your mind. And it’s in this calm state that your mind can explore concepts, play with, and connect ideas.
Go for a walk every day.
Doing chores you don’t have to think about, like cleaning, gives your brain the freedom to think creatively.
Because when your hands are distracting your brain, this autopilot function boosts your thinking and creative reasoning.
When you get a case of writer’s block, step away from your work and clean your flat instead.
Maybe you’ve heard of the saying, “Writers get their best ideas in the shower.”
And there’s a whole lot of truth to this. Why?
Because stepping away from a bad case of writer’s block with a walk or another mindless activity distracts your brain enough to give it a rest.
And when you stop thinking about your writing deliberately and daydream a little, your subconsciousness has a chance to play. That’s when you get your aha moments.
Take a hot shower whenever you get a case of writer’s block.
Write 10 ideas every day
James Altucher said,
“Ideas are the currency of life. Not money. Money gets depleted until you go broke. But good ideas buy you good experiences, buy you better ideas, buy you better experiences, buy you more time, save your life.”
But the thing is…
Your idea muscles will atrophy if you don’t exercise them. Just like how if you don’t train your muscles in the gym, they’ll waste away.
So, start writing 10 ideas every day to build your idea muscles. That’s 3, 650 ideas in a year.
Now, not all 3, 650 ideas will be created equally. In fact, only 20% of them will be good according to the 80/20 rule.
But even so, that’s still about 730 good ideas in a year for you to work with whenever you get a case of writer’s block.
Write down 10 ideas every day. Either in a notebook, on your phone, or on your computer.
Write down your ideas and start to outline them as soon as inspiration hits
Because ideas are fleeting. Meaning, you only have a small window of time to act on them before you forget them.
That’s why I write down the idea immediately whenever I get an eureka moment.
Usually, this tends to happen while I’m on a walk. When I’m in the shower. When I’m cleaning dishes. Or when I’m commuting.
Whenever you get an idea, write down the idea ASAP on your phone. I use the Notes app on my iPhone.
At the end of the day, copy and paste your list of ideas into your Notion app.
Wrapping Things Up
This is my 3-part process to consistently come up with ideas to write about.
Learn using resources like:
Listening to podcasts
Watching YouTube videos
Think deeply through mind-wandering tasks like:
Write to build your creativity muscle by:
Writing 10 ideas every day
Jotting down an idea immediately whenever inspiration hits
I hope you found this helpful. Thank you for reading!