One of the big questions I get from young aspiring writers is,
How do you keep coming up with such thought-provoking topics? Like the ones that keep your readers glued?
Well for one, I ALWAYS jot down my ideas in my notes.
Whether I’m waiting for the taxi. Half-asleep. Talking with friends. Munching on food. Sitting on the plane for 12 hours.
There’s always something to write about when your mind is occupied with life. When you do things outside of your “writing corner.”
This, by the way, is the second (most effective) technique I do to create fresh, interesting topics.
Don’t write about stuff you don’t know about. Live it.
When I started becoming serious on Medium, I forced myself to write and write. And write. In 3–4 hour intervals. About topics that required me to do extensive research on. In a dark, little corner.
They weren’t topics I particularly enjoyed. But I wrote them anyways. Just to deliver content.
But then my heart sunk as soon as I saw my read ratio.
3 out of 4 people stopped reading my story. 3 out of 4 people left, because my topic wasn’t interesting enough.
Clearly, I lacked original perspective.
Eventually, I ran into a series of burnouts. Publishing everyday was just too mentally exhausting. So I did what most writers do when they’re drained and unfocused: I took time off from writing.
Slowly, my read ratio climbed up to 35%. Which sprouted from random moments, like folding laundry or waiting in line for food.
It grew even higher (over 40%) after I ditched my company’s office to work in Southeast Asia.
It was only then did I realize that taking a break from my “writing corner” to experience the simple, but fun specks of life, gave me fresher topics than those I’d forced out.
The science behind it is this:
Your brains reenergizes when you immerse yourself in an unfamiliar environment. When you run your daily to-dos. When you do things you feel excited about. When you’re just living life.
It’s the reason why so many writers suggest taking your mind (literally) off the screen whenever you get stuck. Because when you do things outside of your “writing corner,” your mind gets dazed with new experiences. And it’s these experiences that bring out the freshest, most enticing content one could read.
So don’t worry if you stop writing for a few hours. Or a few days. Because within this restful break, you’ll come up with something no one else can share.