I come up with ideas ALL THE TIME. Especially marketing ideas, mostly because people pay me to come up with marketing ideas. And also because I am obsessed with marketing.
I started reading James Altucher’s blog yesterday.
I found it a few months ago, and then I forgot about it, and yesterday I found it again.
And I am in awe at how good of a writer he is.
More importantly, I started taking his advice of writing down 10 ideas every day.
“B) Write down ten ideas. About anything. It doesn’t matter if they are business ideas, book ideas, ideas for surprising your spouse in bed, ideas for what you should do if you are arrested for shoplifting, ideas for how to make a better tennis racquet, anything you want. The key is that it has to be ten or more.
You want your brain to sweat.
To hurt to come up with more and more ideas. One possibility right now is to list ten ideas that are “too big for me” and what the next steps might be. For instance, one idea might be “launch solar panels into outerspace to more efficiently generate solar power”. Another idea might be, “genetically engineer a microbe that sucks the salt out of water”. I have no idea if that’s even possible. Another idea might be, “within one year I am going to write a book and give away a million copies for free”.
The first step would be to write the book. Then maybe I can crowd fund on kickstarter to give the book away for free. OR, I can maybe print up nano-sized copies of the book so that you can only read it with a microscope but it would only cost me a couple of sheets of paper to print up a million copies. And so on. With the solar panels, I can call up SpaceX and see how much it would cost to rent space. For the microbe that desalinates…I have no idea. Can you help me?
You don’t ever have to look at these ideas again. The purpose is not to come up with a good idea. The purpose is to have 1000s of ideas over time. To develop the idea muscle and turn it into a machine.”
I remember reading the same post a few months ago and thinking this idea muscle thing was a really good idea.
And then I didn’t do it. Which was dumb. But now I am.
Here is an idea for bloggers: Write down 10 ideas for blog posts before you sit down to write one. Then pick the best one.
On my list of 10 ideas this morning, one of them was “write a blog post about the 10 ideas concept.”
So here I am. Another idea was about doing webinars for free but then selling the recordings as front-end offers. Kind of like a digital ghetto-version of CreativeLive.
Another idea was about what to do if you are in a car chase.
The thing buzzing through my mind right now: “This is so cool.”
I can already tell how writing down random ideas every day is going to impact my life. Way cool.
Another reason this is cool is because a lot of these ideas are things that have been hiding inside your brain for a long time, and you just haven’t let them out.
Things just occur to you sometimes, and most of the time you just let them stay inside your head.
If you make it a habit of writing down ten or more ideas -- about anything -- every day, then eventually all of those things will make their way out of your head and onto paper. This does two things:
First, it clears up space in your awareness so you can fit in more ideas. Nature abhors a vacuum, and all that. You’ll become more creative.
Second, you actually get to put those ideas down on paper. Expressing and externalizing them helps to make them more clear, and now you can much more easily take them further. Strategize next steps, and so on.
Finally, if you’re not reading James’ blog, you probably should. It’s great.
Photo is something that came up on Google when I searched for "idea machine" and it seems fitting. Via some amazing person on DeviantArt.