Generating ideas is the first step in writing, and in my opinion the hardest. Depending on the genre of ideas that one wants to think about, the general approach is to brainstorm. Some of my peers have spoken about making a list, walking away from it for some time and returning at a later time and giving those ideas new perspectives. Some people have mentioned to me that running helps them to generate ideas, and think about different ways to approach it. Although the method of producing ideas changes from person to person, one wins half the battle if they are able to navigate their thoughts and narrow down to one idea.
Exploring my personal habit of generating ideas, coming from a mindset that generally is cautious, I prefer ideas that have been studied already. The available research helps me in further confirming my thoughts. While this approach is helpful in creating papers that are well substantiated, I think this approach also makes me timid in going in a new direction.
I, generally, tend to not do very well with brainstorming and tend to get distracted from the main point. I rely on my conversations and experiences to come up with an idea. If I think some conversation or experience is interesting, I have it tucked in my brain and rely on memory to access it later. The disadvantage with this method is that the ideas that I am mostly attracted to fall into the same genre/category and I do not explore topics other than my general interest and comfort areas.
To diversify my genre of writing, I recently started a category in my blog called “Dinner Table Trivia”. I realized that I’ve had some of my best conversations over dinner, either with family members or with friends. I started making a list of these conversations, and I have been working on those ideas to create trivia blog entries. Most of the topics in this trivia section are tidbits of either historical occurrences or in the scientific genre, which I tend to forget if I do not list them out.
Alternatively, ideas can be generated by reading regularly and list out some interesting viewpoints. I think the comments section of articles contributes a great deal in providing different views, therefore adding to one’s list of ideas.
Whatever one’s method of generating ideas is, it is crucial, however, for the writer to stay on track. So adopting a technique that helps the writer to achieve this goal is vital.
Featured image: Photograph of the statue of liberty taken from the Liberty Island during the solar eclipse in 2017.