I wrote an article on how to utilise your writer’s notebook to the fullest. One of the things that I couldn’t stop thinking about was idea dumps. I began to explore how they fit into my writing habit and why I continued to put my mass stupid, crazy thoughts onto paper.
P.S. Yes, I do know ‘idea dump’ is an unfortunate term, I’m going to keep using it because poop makes me laugh!
The principle behind taking an idea dump is that you sit down with your notebook, or laptop or whatever device you use for a period of time and write down ideas that might be interesting to explore in the future.
Whether it’s a title a topic or a theme it doesn’t matter. The important thing is sitting down and focusing your thoughts to allow these interests to get the brain space required for deciding if they are good or not! Ultimately writers get inspiration from so many different sources and unfortunately, that means that a lot of those ideas – that might have had potential – slip through the cracks and get lost.
Whenever I need new ideas for my blog I always sit down with my notebook, my pen and my highlighter. I search for questions that people are asking or topics that I would like to explore for myself. After having come up with a few title ideas I try to think about the content I would assign to each article if it doesn’t hit the mark or interest me it gets scratched from the list.
You can also use this method when outlining a novel to establish plot points, or to come up with whole ideas for a new book or a work in progress! I personally use it for outlining, poetry and article writing.
The good thing about making these lists once a month is that I already know the topics I will write about well in advance. I have a list of great ideas to choose from instead of having to come up with new material every day. It also means that I can spend one day writing more articles without having to juggle writing, editing and publishing all on the same day because I already have my whole month planned out. It helps with scheduling, it means that I’m ahead of the game, so even if I have to take time off I know that I can take a few days before I begin to put myself under pressure with my schedule.
Often writers get so caught up working on their ongoing projects that they can feel down about lack of inspiration or creativity.
The other benefit of taking the time to come up with new ideas is letting yourself know that you are still creative. Coming up with these ideas and setting aside the time to get your thoughts onto paper allows you to get out of that slump. All of a sudden you’ve got umpteen topics to choose from and explore with your writing. This can be an encouraging exercise. It also could mean that you have something to look forward to starting when you are done with your current project. As always, I cannot wait to see you on the bookshelf!