This blog was featured on 02/03/2020
Waiting for a Good Idea Before You Write? Try This.
Written by
Alissa Johnson
February 2020
Written by
Alissa Johnson
February 2020

*This post was originally published in November 2017.


Are you stuck waiting on an idea before you can begin? Or are you trying to decide which of your many ideas is the one you should write?

If so, we need to talk.

The urge to wait for the right idea is totally understandable. You want to make sure your time is worthwhile, that you write something people can read and understand, that you’re not wasting your time, or that you’re not going to embarrass yourself with what you create.

But there's a risk in waiting. To learn what that risk is (and how to write today), you can watch my latest video or keep reading below!

When you wait for the right idea before you start to write, you might wait so long that you never get started.

And if you’re not writing as much as you wish you were, then you probably know exactly what I mean.

Here's the truth about writing: if you sit down, simply begin, and let things unfold, you will discover ideas, stories, essays, and new perspectives that you could never have thought up.

This might sound a little far fetched, so let me describe what I mean.

I write five days a week and sometimes on the weekend. Most of the time, when I sit down I have no idea what I’m going to write. I might have a starting point or something I want to focus on, but for the most part I start writing and see what happens.

The result is that I discover characters, stories, and ideas that I didn’t know were there. I’m surprised and delighted, and when I can be surprised and delighted, that means my readers can be too.

When you learn how to let go and just start writing, you create pieces that are more enjoyable for your readers.

If that sounds nice, but you’re not quite sure how you’d actually pull it off, I want to give you an easy place to start.

For the next five days, I want you to set ten minutes on a timer and sit down with a spiral bound notebook. Write about the possibilities.

I could write about…

It would be fun to write…

See what comes up if you let yourself explore your ideas.

What happens for me, and a lot of the writers I work with, when we do this regularly is that gradually something starts to catch our attention. Maybe it’s a spark of an idea. A thought. An image. A character. You don’t necessarily know where it’s going to lead, but when you follow it there’s more there. Like pulling on a thread. The more you pull at it, the more that comes.

If you give yourself permission to start writing before you know where your writing is headed, you get to discover a whole new world.

Of course, I never want to be anything but real with you. In just five days you might not find your next novel idea. But you might find the beginning of something and be excited to see where it goes.

At the very least you’ll have done something you haven’t been doing now: show up for your writing regularly and consistently. There’s nothing else that will do more to make you feel better about being a writer.

Give it a try. Let me know how it goes in the comments below or on the Facebook page. I always love to hear from you.

P.S. Ready for a writing breakthrough? Break free from writing rules that don't work and find your way with my FREE three-part series: Inside the Writers Mind. The first insight (and writing prompt) could be yours today.

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