Authors & Speakers Network Blog with Larry James

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Authors: Maintain a “Thought Starter” File

Today I’m going point you in the direction of an article by Henneke Duistermaat from Enchanting Marketing. Henneke lives in the UK. She shows you when originality is good and when it’s bad, and she also gives you a strategy for exactly how to do it right. Enjoy.

First read: The Sin of Originality (and the Truth about Building a Popular Blog). Note: This article opens in a new browser window so can easily come back here to read the rest of this article.

ThoughtStarter1I use a similar technique. Henneke calls it a “Swipe File,” I call it a “Thought Starter” file. It’s a great place to gather your thoughts. That is where I store my good and not-so-good ideas. It’s one of the ways to overcome what some people call writers block. I rarely have this dis-ease. It’s fun to polish a not-so-good idea into something refreshing and new.

Where do ideas come from? Everywhere! They are everywhere. To find them, you must be receptive to recognize them when they show up. When they do… immediately write the compelling ideas down or they will most likely disappear.

“You get ideas from daydreaming. You get ideas from being bored. You get ideas all the time. The only difference between writers and other people is we notice when we’re doing it.” ~ Neil Gaiman

When an idea comes and you automatically discard it as not good enough or think that no one would be interested in it, that is a mistake. A good writer can make it interesting. I write down some of the most silly things thinking that perhaps later – in a different frame of mind – I might be able to reshape the idea to fit what I am writing about currently. Sometimes that idea reveals itself in a totally different way and from it springs a totally different idea. Therefore a long-dormant idea inspires a totally new one.

“People struggling with writer’s block aren’t at a loss for ideas. Many are merely dismissing their own good ideas (often because they aren’t perceived as original enough) or they don’t want to put a lot of effort into looking for ideas.” ~ Melissa Donovan

In my “Thought Starter” file, I write (in my own words) my impression of what Henneke says she puts in her “Swipe File.” That way I can never be accused of plagiarism. On occasion you may see similarities, but never a direct quote unless I credit the author. I may not use these ideas until – at some point in the future – the thought reoccurs, however the ideas are always there until I need them.

ThoughtStarter2I write something every day. I have 5 Websites and 4 blogs. Something new goes up on each of my blogs every 4th day, so I must write something everyday. Sometimes I may sit and wonder what to write about. That’s when I look over the ideas that I started in my “thought starter” file but never finished. That file kick-starts my thinking and creativity. I often cannot wait for inspiration. I have to get inspired.

I especially like what Henneke says: “No treasure of blogging jewels lies waiting to be heisted. You need to know where to look.” And you have to stop reading purely for pleasure. I agree. Instead you need to begin to “study” content. Studying refreshing content is one of the keys! So is originality! Authors need to learn to use their creative imagination more often. That’s where new, fresh and exciting ideas come from. Sometime deadlines are quite enough inspiration. 😉 Other times the proverbial “aha moment” just happens. That’s when something clicks and I must quickly return to my keyboard.

“For me, a combination of two words on a billboard, or even two colors together, or a photo, or a comment overheard in the grocery checkout aisle – all fodder for blogging. Seriously, I’ve gotten more ideas from tacky casino ads as I drive across the bridge from PA to NJ… the blog never has anything to do with the billboard itself, just a couple of the words on it. It’s odd how the strangest combination of things can turn into a new blog post. But I have to write it down quickly, ideas are ‘easy come, easy go!'” ~ Nancy

Inspiration often comes from people watching. Leo Babauta once said, “People watching. This is an interesting activity for any writer. Go to a busy public place and just sit and watch people. They’ll amuse you, inspire you, fascinate you. There’s nothing more inspiring than humanity.”

“Prodigious writers aren’t simply lucky writers. They’re active writers. They search, they think long and hard, and they write their way through dead-ends in order to arrive at promising starts.” ~ Aaron Gilbreath

Some writers write their ideas for their thought starter. I have a file in my computer labeled, “Thought Starters” and refer to it often sometimes to write a new thought and other times to retrieve an old one. I got the idea for this article after I read Henneke’s article (Hmmm, studying content again). Hope this was helpful.

BONUS Article: Scribble, Scribble, Write, Write

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Authors & Speakers Network Blog

Copyright © 2013 – Larry James. Larry James is a professional speaker and the author of three relationship books, “How to Really Love the One You’re With: Affirmative Guidelines for a Healthy Love Relationship,” “LoveNotes for Lovers: Words That Make Music for Two Hearts Dancing” and “Red Hot LoveNotes for Lovers.” His newest book is “Ten Commitments of Networking.” Larry James also offers “Author & Speaker” coaching. Contact: AuthorsandSpeakersNetwork.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. CelebrateLove@cox.net – More than 110 articles especially for Authors & Speakers at: www.AuthorsandSpeakersNetwork.com

Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateLove.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateLove.com and CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

NOTE: All articles and “LoveNotes” listed in this BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

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Add Larry James as a “friend” to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
Follow Larry’s “once daily” Relationship Tweet at: http://www.Twitter.com/larryjames
Follow Larry’s “Relationships” BLOG at: http://CelebrateLove.wordpress.com
Follow Larry’s “Networking” BLOG at: http://NetworkingHQ.wordpress.com
Follow Larry’s “Weddings” BLOG at: http://CelebrateIntimateWeddings.wordpress.com

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Writing a Book: Where Do You Begin?

Filed under: Author Tips,Blogging Tips,Creativity,How to Write — Larry James @ 7:30 am
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Are you ever afraid you will run out of ideas when writing?

If you’re tired of skimming your community newspaper or trolling the shelves of your public library for article ideas, you’re a pretty typical writer. Ideas to write about are everywhere. Try observing, reading, listening and paying attention to life in general. You must be committed to writing and to never running out of ideas if you want to write a book.

MessyDeskWhen I wrote my first book, I decided it should have 10 chapters. I started by titling each chapter then started writing in the chapter that I knew would be the easiest to start. My second book became total of 333 different topics about relationships. Some topic were long some were short but when it came time to put them all together I had enough topics for a 310 page relationship book.

“Don’t be afraid to start somewhere in the middle. Write the pieces that are flowing for you. That may not be the introduction or chapter one. It might be chapter twelve. Trust your flow and write what’s coming.” ~ Marnie Pehrson

Because people love to find easy-to-follow instructions and “how to” books to help them accomplish something, the relationship book became my best seller. There was something there for everyone. It got the attention of a producer on ABC TV’s “The View.” Four months later Barbara Walters interviewed me and the book went national.

I have a special file in my computer labeled, “Fresh Ideas.” There you will find anywhere from a couple of lines or a paragraph or two of an idea about another topic to write about. Whenever I need an idea I pop open that file. Usually there are quite a few ideas and perhaps a couple of lines to get me started on something new. Often I will nurture these ideas, maybe writing an additional line or thought about them, then let the idea go again to stumble across it at a later date.

ideaI also have a file basket on my computer desk. Mooch from magazines. Often I can be seen at a fast-food joint skip-reading a few magazines that I seem to never have time to read at my office. Keep your notepad handy when reading magazines and newspapers. Use a voice recorder. I always take notes while reading, these quick ideas which may seem unimportant at first will be invaluable in the future.

When an idea comes, I scribble some notes and toss it in the file basket on my computer desk. I will often revisit a story I’ve already written and come up with new angles for other markets. I will re-slant the article accordingly. Use your own creative imagination. I will also often get an idea from driving past a billboard. Sometimes just a few words will pop out at me. I make notes for later. I never run out of ideas.

Read bumper stickers. Pay attention to advertisements. Advertisements tell a story in a few short words. Restate the idea in your own words, then expand it. Again, the ads show the current trends. Read a variety of magazines, because you never know what may hit you.

A trip down the Hallmark or American Greetings aisle promises to generate ideas about the range of human emotions. You don’t have to buy them to get ideas from the text and artwork. Making ideas happen isn’t easy and requires patience, determination and hard work.

Join an authors group. Brainstorm with other writers. Jotting down even two words is usually enough to trigger the idea when you’re ready to start working on an article later. When I read something that someone else has written about the topic I am pursuing, ideas of my own pop into my head; sometimes they are my interpretation of what I just read, but are in my own words. Because something similar has already existed, doesn’t mean you can’t make an improvement on it.

“While most people complain about standing in line or waiting for the doctor or dentist, I consider waiting an opportunity. The next time you find yourself waiting for something, instead of pacing and griping, tune into your own thoughts. It’s amazing what can occur to you if you’ll just quiet your mind. Pay attention to what’s going on around you. In other words, eaves drop.” ~ Patricia Fry

If you are committed to writing, you will need a constant flow of new ideas for articles. Write what you know best or about things you want to know more about. You need only to take a look at your own life to find ideas. If what you’re reading, watching, or listening to doesn’t directly relate to what your looking for for a blog or article, you should always try to find a way to relate it to your business or to the topic at hand.

You can use the same formula for books. Write enough articles on the same subject and after a while you will have enough material for a book! Things I’ve blogged about can be put together to form a book.

BONUS Article: Scribble, Scribble… Write, Write!
50 Ways for Writers to Find Article Ideas

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Authors & Speakers Network Blog

Copyright © 2013 – Larry James. Larry James is a professional speaker and the author of three relationship books, “How to Really Love the One You’re With: Affirmative Guidelines for a Healthy Love Relationship,” “LoveNotes for Lovers: Words That Make Music for Two Hearts Dancing” and “Red Hot LoveNotes for Lovers.” His newest book is “Ten Commitments of Networking.” Larry James also offers “Author & Speaker” coaching. Contact: AuthorsandSpeakersNetwork.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. CelebrateLove@cox.net – More than 110 articles especially for Authors & Speakers at: www.AuthorsandSpeakersNetwork.com

Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateLove.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateLove.com and CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

NOTE: All articles and “LoveNotes” listed in this BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

letsbefriends2

Add Larry James as a “friend” to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
Follow Larry’s “once daily” Relationship Tweet at: http://www.Twitter.com/larryjames
Follow Larry’s “Relationships” BLOG at: http://CelebrateLove.wordpress.com
Follow Larry’s “Networking” BLOG at: http://NetworkingHQ.wordpress.com
Follow Larry’s “Weddings” BLOG at: http://CelebrateIntimateWeddings.wordpress.com

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