There is nothing scarier than staring at a blank piece of paper
with a deadline quickly approaching. Whether you're writing a
column, article, or essay, the following ten techniques will
help you find the topic or angle you are looking for. 1.Read
You can read anything ? a newspaper, book, or milk carton.
Jumping into an environment that already has lots of ideas in it
may lead to new ideas.
2.Surf the Web
Start on your favorite site, and follow random links for a few
minutes until you come to something strange to you. Reading
about something new, unconventional, or out of your comfort zone
will get your brain moving.
3.Seek Help From Coworkers
Two heads are better than one. And three heads are better than
two. Ask some coworkers if you can bounce ideas off them. As you
speak, have them respond with their own ideas. Soon, you will
have several working topics to write about.
4.Exercise to Stimulate Your Brain
Sitting in front of your computer in your boring corporate
office will drive you nuts. Go for a walk or to the gym and get
moving! The oxygen and adrenaline in your system will stimulate
brain and body will inspire you to write.
5.Go Somewhere New
Again, sitting between the familiar four walls of your office is
probably what dried up your ideas in the first place. Go to a
park, a museum, the mall, or the gym. Being in a different
environment will stimulate new ideas.
6.Listen to Music
I don't often recommend listening to music while you're trying
to concentrate. However, immersing yourself in sound will allow
you to free associate. Let your mind wander off. It may wander
into the garden of writing ideas.
This is Doug Hall's (author of Jump Start Your Brain) term for
an exercise you may have heard of. Put your main idea in the
middle of a blank sheet of paper. Think of three or four
possible topics and branch them off the main idea. Allow each
"branch" of the "tree" to grow its own branches with related
ideas. Soon, you'll have a messy page filled with lots of useful
Get an easel and a group of coworkers together. Shout out ideas
while one person writes them down. Pay no attention to whether
they make sense, are silly, impossible, or totally unrelated.
When the page is full, sort through the ideas, picking out the
ones you like best.
9.Freewrite Until You Get There
This is the fastest way I know to beat writer's block. Get out a
blank pad of paper, put on some classical music, and write. Keep
the pen moving for a set time, say, 10 or 15 minutes and write
down whatever comes to mind. Don't think, look back, correct, or
delete anything; just write. At the end of the session, read
what you wrote, underlining anything that jumps out at you. Use
these words to find a topic.
Go to the mall, an airport, or other crowded place. Take a seat
and watch people go by. Where is that guy with the green
sneakers going? Where does that couple live and what do they
drive? How about those children running back and forth while
their parents pay no attention? Think up stories for all these
people to get your mind moving. Soon, you'll have several topics
to write about.
Using any or all of these techniques is sure to stimulate your
brain. Keep this list posted somewhere in your office for the
next time you need to invent a topic to write about.
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