You’re a freelance writer. All writing is based on ideas. And all things being equal, the more ideas you have, the better ideas you’ll get. And the better your ideas become, the more money you will make.
Many years ago, I started a daily habit which has stood me in good stead: idea catching.
Become an idea catcher, and build your Idea Bank
Every day, 365 days a year, I force myself to come up with five ideas for my writing. This means that each year, I’ve come up with over 1,800 ideas.
From the Memories coaching workshop:
Here’s a little story to show you how useful this can be. Early in the 1990s, I was writing regularly for several computer magazines and women’s magazines. The editor of a mass market magazine asked me to come in to have a chat. This often happens when you write for a publication. It’s an opportunity for the editor to pick your brain, and to see what ideas you have that you could write for her.
The night before, I flipped through my files, and wrote up a couple of story ideas. I was sure the editor would find these ideas useful, but long story short, she didn’t.
We were chatting away about magazines and writers in general, and she asked me what I was working on. This is code for: “Pitch me.”
I did. She agreed they were great ideas. However, that was all – she made no indication that she was interested.
I was frustrated.
We kept on chatting, drinking coffee and nibbling on pastries. (It was a morning meeting.)
Although I was keeping my mind on the conversation with one half of my brain, the other half was frantically searching for other ideas I could pitch. Luckily, I had plenty of them — at this stage, I’d already been using my journal as an idea catcher for several years.
Casually, I tossed out three ideas. She bit.
I walked out of the building with a contract for three articles; it was a great morning’s work. I’m sure that if I hadn’t been in the habit of catching ideas every day, I would have left empty-handed.
These days, brain training exercises are hugely popular. You can even take drugs to make you smarter.
However, if you really want to train your brain, build your Idea Bank.
Commit to “catching” five ideas every day. You’ll quickly get into the habit of finding ideas which are perfect for you to write.
No, you don’t need to use all your ideas. 🙂
Idea catching is an exercise to train yourself to think like a writer. Over the years, I can trace my biggest successes to ideas I stored in my Idea Bank.
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