Great Ways to Generate Ideas

So how do you get article ideas? Where do they come from? There are numerous ways to find usable, salable ideas. I would like sharing about the great ways to generate ideas. Explore these and find some of your own as well.
1. Take a lot of showers.
Ask twenty successful freelance writers where they get their best ideas, and it’s safe to bet nineteen of them will say, ‘‘in the shower.’’ There’s even some science to back them up—possibly something about negative ions. But who cares, as long as it works?
2. Put your subconscious to work.
 Remember that one writer in twenty who doesn’t get ideas in the shower? Odds are he would tell you that the best ideas seem to bubble up out of nowhere. That, some say, is the subconscious mind at work. But you don’t have to sit back and wait for your subconscious to start bubbling. You can give it an assignment. Once, Napoleon Hill, one of the founders of Success magazine, was trying to come up with a title for a new book. He had a talk with his subconscious before he went to bed. ‘‘I’ve got to have a million-dollar title, and I’ve got to have it tonight,’’ he said (and he said it out loud). ‘‘Do you understand that?’’  Apparently his subconscious got the message, because at 2 A.M., Hill woke up, bounded to his typewriter, and banged out the title. Hill’s book, Think and Grow Rich, went on to sell more than twenty million copies.
If you try Hill’s technique, the results may be mixed. Some mornings you may wake up with an idea you’ve asked for. Other days you’ll wake up with a good idea but on an entirely different subject. The rest of the time you’ll just wake up.
3. Read everything you can get your hands or eyes on.
The best writers not only try to keep up with the fields they cover but read just about anything in sight. Few of the things you read will pay off in an immediate story, but they all help feed that mysterious idea machine in your head. Such as: Books, Magazines, Newspaper, Online, and Junk mail.
4. Listen up.
Some of the best story ideas come from listening to your friends, neighbors, and co-workers talk about their concerns of the moment. Magazines pay a lot of money to convene focus groups of everyday people who sit around for an hour talking about their likes, dislikes, and whatever else they’re asked to discuss. You can accomplish much the same thing for free by paying attention when someone starts griping about X, singing the praises of Y, or asking why no magazine has ever told the truth about Z.
5. Tap into your own experience.                                        
Forget for a moment that you’re a writer. What’s on your mind, just as a human being? If you’ve wondered about something, chances are other people have, too. The difference is you are a writer and can go out, investigate the matter, and maybe even get paid for coming back with the answer. Have a baby, and you’ll find yourself jotting down child-related story ideas. Switch jobs, move to a new home, get a divorce, get a disease, win a trip for two to exotic Bora Bora—all of life’s amazing twists and turns can supply you with fresh ideas. For instance, writer Steve Fishman turned a brain hemorrhage into an award-winning magazine article, then into a widely acclaimed book called A Bomb in the Brain. But you don’t have to lust after any misfortune.
Just remember that the events of your life—the good ones and the bad ones—are all part of your material as a writer.
6. Get to know some PR people.
Public relations professionals often have great story ideas before anybody else. Many of them are former magazine or newspaper writers themselves. The trouble, of course, is that it’s their job to put a spin on the idea that benefits their clients. The other trouble is that they’re out to get their clients as much positive publicity as possible, so if you received a story tip from them, a few dozen other writers probably did, too. That said, you’ll find PR people are worth paying attention to. If nothing else, they can sometimes get you access
to key experts and provide background information that you’d otherwise spend a lot of time digging up on your own. Just remember that their agendas and yours aren’t identical.
7. Keep a notebook handy.
As you go through your day, you cannot even begin to anticipate everything and everyone that will cross your path. Nor can you anticipate every thought that will enter your brain. That’s why you should always have a notebook with you—so you are ready to jot down any idea that might present itself. Don’t trust your brain to store these ideas until you have time to write them down. Put them on paper immediately.
These are not the only ways to find good article ideas, but they are a good start if you’re stumped. Remember there is no right or wrong way to find an idea. Always be open to receiving ideas. They are all around you.

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