An Easy, Permanent Fix to Never Run Out of Writing Ideas


How to become a blogging machine by getting out of your own way

Do you fear that you’ll run out of ideas to write about? I know I do. But I don’t want to admit it.

There’s always a constant feeling that there are not enough things I can talk about — while the reality is completely opposite.

Sure, some weeks are amazing. Ideas come flooding. Drafts ready to be vomited on the screen. Notebooks and spreadsheets filled with headlines. It seems I’ll never run out of them. But some days I’m in the trough of sorrow. I’m not able to write as much. I get upset about it which makes me curl back into bed.

This continues for a while. I fear that I’ll run out. I struggle to come up with new titles, new angles, and new perspectives. No idea seems good enough. And the negative self-talk sure isn’t helpful. I go through such ups and downs for weeks sometimes. Some days I felt great, other days I question if I’m a writer at all.

But every setback has taught me a different lesson. I finally turned these setbacks into lessons to ensure I never run out again.

First things first — why does this happen?

To tackle any problem you need to first change your beliefs. You need to approach it the right way.

You don’t get most things in life because you feel that you are not worthy of them. It’s a classic case of the ‘Scarcity Mindset’ vs ‘Abundance Mindset’. You have to make the shift to the latter. The best things in life that you’re looking for — money, happiness, ideas, success — are abundant. It’s not a finite supply that extinguishes.

This took me some time to realize:

Even if you write every day till you die, you’ll only scratch the surface of all that can be written

There are a million things that you can write about. You just don’t know yet. Being a writer requires tons of consistent effort for years before you can design a life that you want. You need bucket-loads of ideas to go on for years.

Look at Tim Denning, Niklas Göke, Nicolas Cole, Shannon Ashley, and many others. They publish a lot! If they can do it, you can too.

By changing your underlying beliefs, you open yourself up. Your mind goes from “I’m facing a writer’s block” to “Ideas are all around me, I just have to explore.” To get ideas, you need to be willing to receive them.

You can’t put water in a cup that’s turned upside down. Your only job is to turn the cup.

Prepare yourself way in advance

If you look at the way successful founders have had their ideas, it’s generally the result of some external stimulus hitting a prepared mind — Paul Graham

If your life depends on writing, you better prepare yourself every day to come up with new ideas.

The best way to do this? Write 10 ideas every day right after you wake up. This Idea Machine ritual, first proposed by James Altucher, finds a perfect place in a writer’s routine.

God is not sprinkling ideas on your head. Ideas and thoughts are universally rooted. You attract them according to how prepared you are.

The more ideas you’ll generate the more ideas you’ll have. It’s about practice. And most people have zero practice.

When asked for a restaurant recommendation, the common reply is “Whatever’s comfortable.” You see, we can’t even think of good restaurants to eat out. This is how bad our idea muscle is. James says it takes 6 months to build it up. Put in the work and stop fretting about how you don’t have anything to write about.

The best writers punch the keys every day — regardless of how inspired they are.

Don’t be too obsessed with yourself

If there’s one thing I realized after writing, it’s this:

Everything is Material

So what’s the problem? We don’t notice it.

Most of us live ruminating about the past or the future. Or we’re too absorbed with ourselves to see what’s going on around. During conversations, we’re thinking about what to say next. During the commute, we’re scrolling through social media. While walking we’re listening to music.

There’s a constant stream of input that leaves no time to produce anything.

The amount of escapism today is massive. But living, instead of escaping is the root of all ideas, especially for the writer. By always being into yourself, you close off the doors of inspiration. Most ideas come from living life and noticing what’s happening around you.

Here are a few situations that gave me ideas for stories:

  • Conversation with friends and coworkers

  • Something that happened in a meeting

  • The news on TV

  • Reactions and expressions of people around me

  • Books, podcasts, ted talks, documentaries, and other productive media inputs

You can get inspiration from all sorts of weird places. Only if you look close enough.

Water the roots and the tree will grow

Once you do this, you’ll realize that life has suddenly become easier.

Yes, I can give you a listicle with 100 tips to get ideas. But that’s been already said and you know it.

  • Go for a run

  • Repurpose your previous posts

  • Write about a personal experience

  • Write about something you agree/disagree with

  • Look for what’s trending

  • Write about not being able to write

….and much more.

Yes, these are good — but only when you’re open and receptive to notice the needle in the haystack. A good writer can pick a line from a song and turn it into an article. It’s a skill that you have to develop.

I don’t want one-off tricks, I want something to fix the problem for life.

Implementing these 2 things will ensure that you never run out of gas. Even in your lowest moments, you’ll have things to write about

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Written on June 23, 2020