Writing and Building The Idea Muscle

Joel Brown
Oct 28, 2019 · 4 min read

Wouldn’t it be amazing as a writer if ideas just appeared on demand, like flies at a summer BBQ? Unfortunately though getting and having a good supply of ideas takes work.

The ability to develop an idea on-demand as you sit down to write about it sounds wonderful. I am sure that there are more than a few writers that are able to write in this way. However, for the vast majority of writers, it is a matter of recording ideas and later developing them into a written piece.

Here Is The Example

The post you are reading is one such example of an idea I had and have now developed into a written piece. Earlier this year I was listening to one of my favourite podcasts, Impact Theory. The guest for the episode was a guy I had never heard of before named, James Altucher.

One topic that he discussed which particularly caught my attention was about the idea of capturing 10 ideas per day. Each day you pick something such as article titles, a business, book titles or something. Then you come up with 10 ideas for that.

He looks at this as not a way to get good ideas, but a way to exercise your idea muscle. Explaining that the idea muscle is just like any other muscle. The more that you exercise that muscle the better it is going to get. Over time your idea muscle can become stronger and more reliable at giving you better ideas.

Back to this post being the example, of an idea becoming a written piece. I listened to the podcast mentioned back in March 2019 and took note of the idea. However, it is now nearly the end of October, nearly seven months later that I am fleshing the idea out into a post.

That is why it can be hugely important to find a way to record ideas. I would not be writing this post now if at some point I did not make a note of the idea. Ideas are going to take different timeframes to become posts or to be realised. Some might be hours or days others may never go beyond an idea on the page.

Building The Idea Muscle

Taking the time to just write out ten ideas a day does not sound like a big thing. But since I heard about this idea back in March and have not taken the initiative to write down ten ideas for a single day just yet.

While I am going to use the excuse of some challenging life situations over this period. The real reason is that I never took the time to make it a habit without some barriers. To establish a new habit like this in your life you need to make it as easy and accessible for yourself as possible.

There are two things that I have identified, which might make it easier to bring this habit into my life. Maybe they will help you as well if it is something that you would like to bring into your life as well.

  1. Have a specific notepad or notebook for recording your 10 ideas daily. In the podcast waiters notepads are mentioned. For me I have a stack of A5 ruled notepads, one of these will be perfect for me.
  2. Either schedule a specific time of day for your 10 ideas or stack it with another daily habit. I have nothing that specifically looks like a fixed schedule. So I will be stacking this with my morning coffee, which is something that I do every day.

There is a much higher likely hood of me following through with this habit with a specific notepad and time that I will record the ideas.

In the beginning, I absolutely expect that it might take me even half an hour to come up with 10 ideas at times. Over time though through exercising the idea muscle, I suspect it will become a lot quicker.

Growing Ideas

You might think that 10 ideas per day does not sound like a lot. But as you add up how many ideas that can become over time you quickly realise it is more than you think.

In a week that is 70 ideas.

In a month that is 300 ideas.

In a year that is 3,650 ideas.

In five years that is 18,250 ideas.

You will find that not all of those ideas are great ideas, many may not even be good ideas. But even if you have just one good idea per day, in the beginning, they still add up.

Many of the ideas will suck, or so it will seem in the beginning. But many ideas I have written down in the past seemed stupid or silly. It was only later when I revisited an idea that there was something more to it. So referring back to these lists I think is going to be an invaluable source of ideas.

How Do You Get Ideas

Exploring new ways to cultivate ideas is something that I enjoy. So feel free to leave a reply below and let me know what you think of this idea. Alternatively, I would also like to hear the way that you capture or develop ideas.

Originally published at https://www.simpledailynotes.com on October 28, 2019.

Joel Brown

Written by

Creator of Travel Explored — Topics I enjoy are Travel, Walking, Photography, Motivation, Business and Inspiration. http://www.travelexplored.com.au

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