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, April 30, 2013

6 Ways to Never Run Out of Ideas

Filed under: Author Tips,Guest Author Articles — Larry James @ 7:30 am
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Ed Cyzewski, Guest Author

The key to never running out of writing ideas has more to do with overhauling your lifestyle than changing how you write. Most writers have all of the ideas they need. Here are six practices that will help you capture and develop your writing ideas.

1. Cut Out the Noise – This is the hardest and most important suggestion to practice. I used to expend buckets of energy and emotion on national news events because I listened to the news all of the time. My mind used to especially swarm with frustration directed at politicians.

jotdownideasWhy did I dedicate so much time and energy to the news? There are more efficient ways to become an informed citizen without fretting for untold hours about the news.

In order to reliably develop ideas, I had to step back from the endless news cycle that sucked up my energy and left my thoughts spinning. Cutting out the noise means I made some changes:

• I rarely listen to the news.
• I restrict my television watching (even hockey…).
• I limit my “radio” listening primarily to podcasts.
• I take walks without headphones.
• I drive in a silent car most days.

That doesn’t mean I coast along in ignorance. I still browse news online and read lots and lots of books. The difference is that I now guard my mental space and emotional energy with the zeal of a Jesuit. If my mind isn’t occupied by the news, I’ll have more mental energy to think about writing.

2. Learn How to Rest – By cutting down on the noise in my life, I’m creating space where I can truly rest. Do you know what it feels like to completely stop? Your creative energy depends on it.

Resting doesn’t mean you need to be completely silent or isolated. Learning how to stop by opting out of the frantic pace of life will teach you to pay attention to what’s going on in your mind. Are you worried about something? Are doubts killing your creativity? You’ll never know unless you stop and give your mind the space it needs (For my Christian friends, this is where prayer comes in!).

3. Learn How to Single-Task – Take a break to garden, start a craft project, play an instrument, bake dessert, or build a simple book shelf. Learn what it feels like to be consumed in a single project.

ideasOnce you’ve tasted single-tasking, download Freedom and open one program on your computer so you can write. Better yet, take your journal and a pen to a café or to the front porch to write for two hours. The more you immerse yourself in a project, the more your creativity and ideas will flourish.

4. Jot Down Incomplete Ideas – I know you’re going to jot down good ideas, but write down every other idea that comes to mind as well. Give ideas time to grow. Sometimes they’ll wither after you jot them down, but other times they’ll grow and expand in unexpected ways.

Try this: sit down and write out every idea you can think of in an hour. You’ll have a ton of content to consider. Let that list sit for a week, and then try writing a few posts based on those ideas. If you can give yourself a day or a week before the posts go live, you’ll be able to improve them and even discover fresh ideas in the process.

5. Learn to Thin Writing Ideas – Developing writing ideas requires a balance between believing you can develop tons of great ideas IF you jot down a bunch of ideas that may or may not work. You can write great ideas, but your best ideas will only shine when you learn how to weed out the ideas that don’t have any potential.

6. Write to an Idea – You read that correctly. Sometimes you can’t just write about an idea. The only path to some of your best ideas is through a lot of writing. That means you may need to crank out 1,000 words just find that idea that will become the seed of your chapter. If you want to find a lot of ideas, you sometimes need to write a lot of content that is destined for the recycling bin.

We’re all far more creative than we’ve led ourselves to believe. The problem is our lifestyles and writing habits often prevent us from tapping into our personal idea treasure stores. The good news is that we can change our lives and draw deeply from the riches of our creative reserves.

Bonus Article: Scribble, Scribble… Write, Write!
What Is A Writing Prompt?
6 Ways To Come Up With Blog Post Ideas Week After Week

EdCyzewskiCopyright 2013 by Ed Cyzewski. Ed Cyzewski is the author of Coffeehouse Theology and Hazardous: Committing to the Cost of Following Jesus, as well as the self-published works A Path to Publishing and Divided We Unite. His blog about imperfectly following Jesus is www.inamirrordimly.com, and his writing blog is www.edcyz.com.

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Authors & Speakers Network Blog

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

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