After 3 years of blogging each business day, I would have thought to be on the verge of selling my site and shifting to something else. What else can I say after writing more than 1,000 posts on The Financial Blogger alone? In fact, I have probably written more than that since I author for other financial blogs as well… Where do I find my creativity?…. right here:
Reading is a must
When you read, you have plenty of time to think about something else. You can start from what you have read about and then explore a ton of other possibilities. I read other blogs, newspapers, readers’ comments; they are all a great source of inspiration. The key is to read what is written and to understand what is not. Reading between the lines takes you to a whole different level of new possibilities when you are looking for more creativity.
I now drive 1 hour in the morning and another at the end of the day to get back home. My car is one of the places where I find several topics to write about. How come? Because I drive on the highway and leaves my brain to wander and wonder about whatever it wants. I follow the river of my thoughts until I feel it has gotten somewhere. This is where my ideas come from.
Working in the financial industry brings me tons of topics. While I never talk specifically about my clients, they give me tons of ideas. I usually start with their questions and then, answer them in my articles. Questions from John Doe are the best as I have realized that most people wonder the same but never ask anybody ;-).
The best trick; always take notes
The problem with ideas is that they come and go. They show up for a split second in your mind before disappearing in the mist of your brain. You need to be smart and fast to catch all of them. Most people will start developing their idea once they have one. I simply take a note of it on my Blackberry (you should see the amount of email I send to myself!) and start on something else. An idea can be expressed in a few words even though you can create a whole series of post on it. The key is to seize it, not to develop it right away. I have a word document (that was on my lost USB key!) where I store all my ideas. When I am looking for something to write, I open it and pick a topic. I can then develop my initial ideas properly in a productive environment at an appropriate time.
Don’t be difficult
Another thing I have observed over time is that most people start analyzing and criticizing their own or others’ ideas. I think that we should all be in a constant brainstorming mode. No censures allowed. Just pure expression. This is how creativity is born and will reward you for your “laisser-faire”. I actually delete several ideas when I go back to my word document to find a topic. There are always ideas that sound good at first but I have nothing to say about it. On the other hand, there are ideas that didn’t motivate me when I wrote them down and I have created a series of 5 articles out of them. Never underestimate the power of an idea ;-).
Finally, creativity comes with a rested brain
My final piece of advice if you can’t find the solution to a problem or a topic to write about; have a good rest. You don’t have to go to sleep, but do something that requires minimal effort by your brain (gardening, watching tv, playing video games, playing a sport, golf is my favorite battery charger!, play with your kids, etc.). Your brain is like any other machine, it needs to be cooled down once in a while
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