There is a lot of talk in the writing and blogging world about writer’s block. It seems to affect all writers, bloggers and content creators at some point in time.
Yet this whole writer’s block conundrum has got me thinking about another sort of block that might be holding you back or at least slowing you down.
Have you ever suffered from ‘I have a lot of ideas and I don’t know which one to choose’ block?
It’s a different beast to writer’s block. You aren’t sitting in front of your laptop agonizing over what to write.
Instead, your mind is bubbling over with ideas and the words are flowing out.
The problem is you can’t decide which idea to run with.
What happens if we invest all of our time, energy (and perhaps money) in the wrong idea? Sometimes it’s not about the writing itself, it’s about what idea to pick in the first place.
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Here are some of my thoughts on this topic. I’m still trying to work this stuff out myself so I’m not an expert on this one, so I’ll make sure I include links from people who are pretty damn good a picking the right idea.
I do a lot of brainstorming.
Come to think of it, that isn’t quite accurate. It’s not like I sit down regularly to just brainstorm. Most of the time, ideas and thoughts pop into my head and I have my trusty A4 notebook next to me to write everything down.
Later I go over my notes to make sense of them all.
I have brainstorming files for blog posts, short stories, feature articles, a novel or two – you name it.
For me personally, the best brainstorming ideas, however, are the ones that are fleshed out.
The post ideas where I write one line in my notebook take a lot more time and effort to get into an actual post. It’s not that I don’t run with them, I do, but I always need to work on my original idea more first.
Add as much substance as possible to your initial idea. Jot down a few relevant bullet points or write out a few sentences. I find this helps me with picking which ideas to follow through on.
It helps me decide which ideas have merit.
If you are trying to work out what lead magnet to create Meera Kothand’s post – Does Your Opt-In Freebie suck? Here’s How to Create One That Converts like Crazy can help.
Meera also has a blog post (complete with its own free opt-in) on What Digital Product You Should Create? Here’s How to Nail an Idea That Sells.
Meera also has a fabulous book – The One Hour Content Plan: The Solopreneur’s Guide to a Year’s Worth of Blog Post Ideas in 60 Minutes which can help you work out what you need to be working on.
Let go of the fear of everything not being awesome
You hear it a lot around the Internet – be awesome, write epic sh*t and the like.
While I definitely agree that you should produce your best work, the thought of always having to be awesome can be a bit intimidating.
Let’s face it, even the best bloggers write a less than stellar post every now and again.
You should aim to be awesome and unique but don’t let that critical voice in your head stop you from actually sending out your work. If you are looking at your ideas and constantly thinking this isn’t good enough, isn’t awesome enough, you probably won’t get very far.
You might have no problems with the writing aspect, but a BIG problem with having confidence in your idea.
Don’t let your fear of not being constantly brilliant, stop you from even trying.
The truth is sometimes you don’t know what ideas will resonate with people (though knowing your audience helps a lot in this regard). What one person considers awesome, another might think is mediocre. Do your best but don’t let doubt or indecision cripple you all together.
Just a point here. I’m not saying that you should send out everything either. Some ideas need more work before seeing the light of day. That’s fine, put the task aside and work on something else. Head back later to work on improvements.
Pat Flynn from Smart Passive Income ramps things up in his book – Will it Fly? How to Test Your Next Business Idea So You Don’t Waste Your Time and Money.
Allow for spontaneity without being indecisive
Recently I wrote about having an editorial calendar. I have a confession to make, this post wasn’t on the calendar. Come to think of it, it wasn’t even an idea when I last looked at my calendar yesterday. Last night I was commenting on another blog and it triggered this idea.
The irony of having the editorial calendar is that I am coming up with a lot of new ideas that simply aren’t scheduled. I’m not sure if the calendar is helping me be more creative or I am simply thinking more out of the box.
While it is a good idea to have a structural tool in place to track what you will be working on, it is also important to factor in some level of flexibility. Be flexible but make sure a decision gets made in a timely manner.
Clever decision-making is vital to companies, small businesses, sole traders, bloggers, and writers every day.
Making decisions on what idea is going to work or what idea you should be working on is a big key to success.
Do you struggle with picking an idea more than writing and creating the product?
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A helpful article. This is a good help for us, freelance writer. I used to have that case, but I’ve taken it as a challenge for me to pursue my craft in writing. Will try this tips of yours, thanks!