with Aliza Sherman
If you own a business - home-based or otherwise - this is the blog where you'll find practical tips and smart ideas about entrepreneurship. I've started and run 4 different businesses so "been there, done that." I'll also invite successful entrepreneurs to share their best advice with you.
To learn more about Aliza, check out her profile on Work It, Mom! and her website, www.mediaegg.com.
As a writer and pro-blogger, I’m always in need of ideas for articles, columns and blog posts on a near daily basis. Unfortunately, even a writer who does this for a living can run dry. It isn’t that I don’t have any ideas. It is just that the ideas I have right now aren’t inspiring me. Call it a bad mood, call it writers block, call it what you like. But whatever you call it, I’m still sitting here with my morning blending into midday blending into afternoon and still no blog post.
So I will do what every professional writer must do at one time or another. Write about ways to overcome writers block or ways to find your next cool idea. I hope this list will inspire you and help some of you get out of that idea-free rut you find yourself in on occasion, whether you’re looking for topics to write about or ideas for any aspect of your company.
Where/How to Find Those Ideas…
1. Twitter your need. I use Twitter anytime I need a fast response. I can’t say it always works, but it helps to put my request out there. A simple tweet “Help! I need ideas for fill-in-the-blank” can do the trick. Of course, today’s plea for help with ideas for this blog post brought me this: Running Your Business While Potty Training Your Toddler. Well, we’re almost there at my house so expect that blog post soon.
2. Peruse your feed reader. Because I’m STILL not in the habit of checking my RSS feed reader regularly, I miss out on all the ideas flying throughout the blogosphere. I have installed - but also do not regularly us - an application called Snackr, a neat little ticker that runs at the bottom of your computer screen highlighting excerpts from your RSS feeds. It is like a conveyor belt of ideas passing slowly and continuously below your Web browser. It can be sometimes distracting but also suddenly inspiring.
3. Take a shower. I don’t know about you, but I do some of my best creative thinking in the shower.
4. Take a walk. Sometimes, a total change of atmosphere can shake loose some ideas. A good vigorous walk gets the endorphins flowing and who knows what kinds of interesting ideas you can come up with when high on happy hormones.
5. Put pen to paper. There is something so incredibly organic and almost zen-like about holding a pen in hand and moving it across paper. Use a stream-of-conscious writing technique like “writing practice” described by Natalie Goldberg in her book Writing Down the Bones.
6. Start a paper tickler file. Go through a pile of unread magazines and rip out pages with content that triggers ideas for possible blog posts or articles. Sort them by category, and make labels with those categories on manila folders. File away the pages, throw away the magazines. If you haven’t already come up with an idea while doing this, reach into the files and pull out a random page. Start from there. Does anyone remember doing this? We’re so digital that it seems almost quaint. Save this file in your desk drawer to help cure another day of idea block.
7. Root through your notes. I don’t know about you, but I tend to scribble random ideas in the spiral notebook I use for my To Do lists and note-taking. Then I forget what page I wrote them on. Sifting back through the pages and checking the margins can often yield one of those scribbled ideas. Of course, the digital equivalent is to “scribble in” and check your PDA.
8. Email a friend. Sometimes, I’ll blast out an email to half a dozen girlfriends asking for their help to brainstorm some ideas. It is a great way to reach out to them and bring them into your creative world. I often ask friends who know nothing about the Internet or entrepreneurship and get some of my freshest ideas from people who are far removed from what I write about and do every day.
Ideas will often come from unexpected places. Be open. Write down even the fragments of ideas. Don’t stress. And if everything else fails, just sleep on it!
How do YOU overcome idea block?
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