I don’t know why, but when I started thinking about writing this post on generating ideas an old Dave Clark Five song jumped into my head.
It’s called Bits and Pieces.
The song is about jilted love, but it means something completely different to me.
Bits and Pieces is the way ideas come to me.
A bit there, a pieces here and voila an idea springs forth.
Articulating with precision exactly where those ideas spring forth is a fools game. It can’t be done.
For me, generating ideas is a mystical process most people don’t want to have anything to do with.
“Just tell me where I find them. No gobbledygook, no religious mantras, or mystical chants. Just the facts please.”
I opted for suggesting actions you can take to increase the likelihood of “an idea.”
Before I tender my suggestions, you need to understand two aspects of idea getting.
Imagine yourself watching a fantasy movie where strange creatures are emerging from impossible places.
That’s the land of ideas.
You must accept, and expect that ideas will flow to you from the strangest places without warning.
Often they arrive malformed. You will be tempted to reject these ugly snippets: don’t.
Learn to accept all the quirky abundance.
From these misshapened nuggets you harvest the gold.
Be prepared to capture this harvest of bits and pieces using what ever medium is available to you at the moment.
Carry note pads and pencils, know where you voice recorder tab is on your smart phone, have electronic clippers handy for capturing blog post and articles. (I use the Evernote Web Clipper.)
You never now when some loose thread will generate an idea.
It doesn’t matter how you capture these fleeting creatures, just do it. Any delay: “I’ll jot that down in a minute, I’ve got to answer the phone,” is deadly. The idea is gone.
Your are now primed for my 5 ways to generate an endless stream of ideas.
Books, articles, fiction, non fiction, online or off. Read everything. Don’t limit yourself.
“But I don’t read Nick?”
Then watch or listen. Podcasts, YouTube, inspirational shows and movies, documentaries (up lifting ones).
Being constantly exposed to other ideas, to inspiration, to the stream of possibility flowing through our world means flashes of insight.
When two very different bits come together in your mind they set off a chain reaction of creativity these flashes are generating ideas.
Without this wide exposure the possibilities contract as does your ability to spark new and creative ideas.
I know you’ve heard , “What you don’t schedule won’t get done.”
I even created a video about this.
Don’t worry it’s short.
Click the link below to watch now.
Google Calendar is my best friend.
If you struggle with finding time to read or list, or watch, then make a habit of it. Put it on your schedule.
2. Join a community that shares similar interests to yours.
Personal interaction sparks huge flares of creativity.
Think back to those college days, or high school projects, when you spent many late nights discussing topics passionately with someone else with similar or opposite views.
The best interactions are offline where you meet people face to face.
However that doesn’t mean online groups don’t have a place.
I recently spent a very fulfilling three hours with 3 other people on Skype discussing one book which lead directly to two blog posts.
Shop around. Find something you feel passionately about.
Can’t find anything?
Create you own group.
A friend and I did just that, founding a group that gets together once a month to share our “wins” in applying the Law of Attraction.
In your niche, find the people who inspire you. Latch onto their coattails. Don’t let go.
I follow several people. I read, listen to and watch everything they do. People like Neil Patel, Pat Flynn and Kam Jennings produce more ideas per column inch than they can use. They often spark ideas I can use with a different twist.
If you think that’s plagiarism you need to go look at the definition again.
If copying from others bothers you it’s time to get a copy of
The rules: Acknowledge the source. Make it your own.
4 List Build
I’m not talking about building your contact list. I’m talking about creating a list of ideas. A list you build every day.
Each day add five ideas to your list.
Suspending judgement is important in doing this exercise well.
Don’t edit. It doesn’t matter if you think the idea is stupid, maybe it is.
Two bad ideas fused could create a prizing winning post or a brilliant sales page or a clever email.
Review the list when you have trouble generating ideas for you next project.
Keep it safe.
Treat it like your email list.
Again you can use Evernote, OneNote, or any dozen of other apps out there.
This is where you store all your little bits and pieces.
Imagine them at night dancing around and getting all mixed up.
That’s when the magic happens.
5 Expect the Unexpected
This last one is about mindfulness.
The universe bombards us with ideas without a break.
When two bits or two pieces, or a bit and a piece collide magic happens.
Which means: don’t put your notebook away when you go to bed, or leave your cell phone out of reach, or forget to carry it with you.
It means staying open to the possibility that the best idea of your life is a nanosecond away from blowing your brain apart.
Stay excited about the possibilities.
Hone these skills.
Use a combination of these 5 actions to generate an endless stream of tantalizing bits and pieces.
Instill the discipline to do these things everyday.
Otherwise the fleeting moments you fail to capture will break your heart and leave you, just like the Dave Clark Five, in bits and pieces.
What other ways do you have for generating ideas.?