Come on brain, think. It’s frustrating when you want to create something impactful but your brain won’t cooperate. We know that there are a trillion ideas out there and yet we can’t seem to find them. We’re stuck. How do we get unstuck? Below are some of the strategies I use to break out of my rut and get me back on track to creating. Using these exercises can be helpful whether you’re an entrepreneur trying to come up with a new business idea or have a personal blog and are trying to come up with new content.
How to Think of New Ideas
Coming up with original or innovative ideas can be a daunting task. The problem with trying to come up with a new idea is that you are always filtering out the bad ones. I think we should embrace the bad ones or better yet, not even try to come up with ideas in the first place. Wouldn’t we be better off coming up with great questions that can help us unlock new ideas? I love question storms where I take 10 minutes and record all of the questions that pop into my mind. All of them. You can worry about answering them later. Now you have a list of prompts you can use when trying to find the next creative thought.
Question Storming Examples
- How can I make one person’s day better?
- What do baseball and business have in common?
- Why do businesses require a degree?
- Would you pay someone to read your content?
- Would you charge someone to read your content?
- I am working to break conventional wisdom?
- What business won’t be around in 5 years?
- What would I include in a blog post about creativity?
Strategies to Disrupt Your Mind
Our minds love cruise control. It is wonderful for quick thinking but a detriment when trying to create something unique. We need to slow our mind down and have it look all over instead of just straight ahead.
What is Counterintuitive?
Write something that goes against the status quo and best practices. I wrote about how it is time to kill the webinar. What are some solutions people haven’t tried to tackle real world problems? Why haven’t these solutions been tried? Why is our thought counterintuitive – or better yet why is the norm, the norm?
What is Something People Would Hate?
Similar to above but this one goes one step further because we’re going past the counterintuitive, right into something people would actually hate. Why would they hate it? What would cause such an emotional response? You get to be the villain and debate with yourself. Instead of trying to find alternative solutions, try to find bad solutions. What made them bad?
Connect the Unrelated
Draw a connection between two disparate things (i.e. what does baseball have in common with co-working spaces). The more disconnected the better. Your mind will stretch to find commonalities where it seems like they wouldn’t exist.
Writer’s Block Isn’t Real
After I heard this statement, it changed the way I went about writing. The best way to overcome writer’s block is to write. When we say we have writer’s block, what we really mean is that we can’t find the correct way to write something, but all of us can write anything in this very instance. I just wrote that. And that. See? You don’t have to worry about making your writing clever all of the time. In fact, you don’t need to publish anything you write, but at least you’ll be writing.
Write for An Individual
Sometimes when I am in the middle of writing, I get stuck because in my mind I am thinking about all of the different people that may read it. This can be limiting as you won’t please everybody and you may dilute your message. Instead, think of just one person reading it. Pick one person and write directly to them. You can even address them by name as this will help you keep focused as you write. Not only will this help you overcome writer’s block but will most likely make your writing better too.
Pretend to be Someone Else
You can be any genius you want. You don’t always have to be yourself. Who are some of your idols? Who are some people you dislike? How would they write? You can make up a fictional person and write from their point of view just like Randy Newman. When it’s not you that is writing, it gives you great freedom to explore and try new things and perhaps you will discover a new style you can use going forward.
Use new words
Look up a word from the dictionary you have never used before and incorporate them into your writing. People with misoneism may find it difficult to use new words but I’ve found it uncovers delitescent ideas and can ultimately lead to much more perspicuous content.