When I was younger, my brother and I always got into a challenge about who could peel an orange or tangerine in one peel. I was always tensed rather than excited, and most times when I lost, the orange somehow tasted less sweet. It wasn't until I started peeling it the way I wanted that I enjoyed oranges.

You see, change always makes a difference.

Are you done with a project and you’re struggling to get new ideas for the next? As an Author, it’s not uncommon to have days you’re up against a brick wall. The wall wouldn’t move and feels like a weapon fashioned against you.

The truth you don’t hear often is that not every writer has ideas like jets of water shooting skywards. But what if I told you you could be that writer with non-stop ideas? How? Because I know it so well. I’ve moved from facing brick walls to having so many ideas I can barely record them, and my new challenge has become working on a pile of ideas with no end in near view.

How did I do it? To create yards of ideas, change is vital. You need to dance to a different rhythm than the one in your head.

Here are some ideation techniques that work;

  • Connect with your environment:

The universe provides you and I with stories every day and the best way to access this is by connecting with the immediate world around you. Pause for a moment, and observe things from a creative lens. Watch people interact and note down their expressions. If you spot someone annoyed, remember what tipped you off. Continuously train your mind to imagine scenarios. 

That stubborn sibling of yours comes around, and is requesting to pass the night. 

'Who's the intruder at hers?' 

It could also be the world in your device. For instance, there’s a newsletter that bores you to slumber, but what would it take for you to fancy it? Let your imagination run wild. 

  • Set your mind free:

Do you confine your thoughts to a certain location? ‘Oh, I could only get ideas from this and that content.’ You need to change that, and be reminded every time that you can get ideas from anywhere you want. 

The title of a movie, or a sentence in a novel or blog could become your inspiration. Your ideas could come from a conversation with a nosy aunt or a conflict somewhere. Set your mind free.  

Your intuition knows what to write, so get out of the way – Ray Bradbury. 

  • Ditch the chronological order style and start writing:

 Your ideas don't necessarily have to be for the first page. Develop the art of journaling as an Author, and note down your ideas as they come. Then you connect the dots that fit. This doesn’t require you to outline your ideas unless you’re a plotter. You could have an ending, 'When I returned, I never saw the world the same.' 

If it resonates with you, hold on to your idea while you fill in your story with time. Stop stalling or dismissing your ideas because they don't fit the front page. 

  •  Write about personal experiences:

Don't neglect your experiences while brainstorming ideas. Most Authors write based on their personal experiences. You can decide to look inward and seek the truth and present the truth or you could seek the truth and spin off the lies from them. 

  • Get to writing:

 Having yards of ideas isn’t as fulfilling as bringing these ideas to life. Brainstorm ideas but do so with your goal in mind. You’ve got an idea that resonates with you? Get your creativity to work immediately. Don’t wander off in the sea of brainstorming. 

  • Read and Read again

Reading is one effective means to getting ideas. Read novels, poetry, inspirational books, and more. The best writers are good readers. Are you too busy to read? A quote from Stephen King’s book On Writing says, ‘If you don’t  have the time to read, you don’t have the time of the tools to write. 

Bonus technique - Be optimistic. Brainstorming ideas is not always a walk in Cinderella's glass slippers. Not all your ideas would work but stay optimistic because this process works. 

In conclusion, getting ideas isn’t rocket science. I think often as Authors, we feel the need to stay locked up in our thoughts spinning off ideas from our imagination. 

But  we fail to realize that there are several activities and techniques that help simulate our imagination.   

The first step is welcoming change. As much as you get some results dancing to the same rhythm in your head, it's okay to step out and do things differently. It’s okay to try all of those techniques above, just like it's totally okay to flip your orange and peel from another angle.

IDEATION TECHNIQUES: YOUR JOURNEY TO CREATING YARDS OF IDEAS AS AN AUTHOR written by Moyo J. Bassey in association with Beauty & the Beast Publishing for Writer's Block.  Image: Ketut Subiyanto 

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