A Guest Post by Frank McKinley
Creativity is not always as smooth as we want it to be. We have all faced these creative blocks - when you are just hitting a wall and you feel like the beautiful wrinkles of your brain have
gone as smooth as a silver mirror.
In today's guest post my friend Frank McKinley is sharing some of his wisdom how to overcome this uncomfortable state and generate as many as 1000 ideas in just 1 hour! No, he is not exaggerating or joking!
Are you curious to find out more?
Have you ever sat down at your writing space and waited eagerly for the words to come - and they didn't?
And it sucks.
There's reams of material about how to summon the muse.
You know the Muse. She's that mythical creature that pours ideas into your head with a sweet whisper.
What Blocks Your Creativity?
Maybe you're drinking the wrong coffee.
Maybe you're reading the wrong books.
Maybe you're not getting up early enough.
Honestly, is it really any of these things?
We Don't Know How to Summon the Muse
All this stuff is surface material.
You can't force creativity by manipulating your writing space.
Coffee is great. I use it. But after a cup or two, all it does it make me go to the bathroom.
Then there's that intimidatingly huge blank page.
What's a writer to do?
Change Your Mindset
Much of what we do when we sit down to write is procrastination:
- Getting our computer files in order
- Brewing a pot of coffee
- Reading an article about the latest writing technique
All of these may be helpful, but they're not writing.
Are you guilty of any of these?
Find a time to do them.
But when you sit down to write, just write.
The 2-Step Method That Will Generate 1000 Ideas in an Hour - or Less!
You're probably thinking, "Frank, there's no way I can generate 10 ideas in an hour, much less 1000."
Sure, if you're doing it the way you always have.
Now let's get down to business.
Step #1 - Write 10 Fill-in-the-Blank Sentences
When you were in school, you had test questions like this. And you had to fill in the blanks within a given time.
Now you're going to do it for fun.
You'll need a few things to do this:
- a pencil or pen
- 10 sheets of paper
- a kitchen timer
First, set the timer for 5 minutes. As soon as it starts, grab your pencil and start writing.
Write one fill-in-the-blank sentence per page.
When the timer stops, you stop.
Why the time pressure?
For one, you're always constrained by time.
If you want to get anything done, you need a deadline.
Otherwise, you'll just piddle away until you get bored.
And then you'll move to the next thrilling thing.
Second, time pressure forces you to dig deep.
What do you do when a train is roaring toward you and your shoe is stuck in the tracks?
If you want to live, you dig deep to figure out how to get out of the way.
Your best ideas are served up in the steam of pressure.
Third, you need a deadline to get anything done.
This week I set an appointment to interview my CPA. I could have just dropped in sometime, but will he be there at 7PM?
He will if I tell him I'm coming at that time.
Step #2 - Fill in the blanks 100 times for every sentence.
By now you can do the maths. When you're done with every page, you'll have 1000 ideas!
Here's how to do the second step:
- Set the timer for 5 minutes.
- Write down 100 words to fill in the blank in the sentence at the top of the page.
If the timer stops before you do, stop. If it doesn't, keep writing answers until it does.
Bonus: if you want more words, go another five minutes!
What if you keep going and have 150 answers for one blank?
That's great! Because for another sentence, you might have 50.
The idea is to write as much as you can as fast as you can.
Don't worry that it's stupid. You'll have so many ideas when you're done, you can:
- keep some
- join some together
- throw some away
How I Discovered This
If you haven't read Mark Levy's book, Accidental Genius, you should. It's all about using freewriting to solve business problems.
Each chapter is filled with a new idea you can use. One of them is "Write 100 Ideas"
The premise is that it's easier to think of 100 ideas than it is to think of one. You might have to throw some away, but probably not all of them.
What's left should leave you plenty to start with.
Three Ways to Sort Your Ideas
You've now got ten sheets of paper full of ideas.
Now you need to sort through them.
Get some scissors and cut out each idea. You'll put them in three containers:
- Ready to use
- Maybe later
- No way ever
This may take another hour. If you line up the containers, you can cut and sort each idea right away.
Then you can get down to work.
Do This Now!
Set aside a couple hours every Monday to generate and sort 1000 ideas.
Do this every week and you'll laugh when you hear the words "Writer's Block".
Do this every week for a year and you'll have a habit that will serve you well for the rest of your life.
Isn't your writing career worth it?
About Frank McKinley
Frank McKinley is a published author who has sold over 25,000 books. He's been writing since he could pick up a pen.
His mission is to help writers engage readers, sell their ideas, and build their tribes. Frank is the Founder of the Tribe Builder's Network, a place where writers can get the attention they deserve.
He lives in the Southern United States with his family and a dog named Jake.
For more great articles like this please visit his official website.
You can reach Frank via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Head image source: HERE
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