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The Art of Nurturing Your Writing Ideas

The Art of Nurturing Your Writing Ideas

 

    Photo credit: J. Paxon Reyes (CC BY-NC 2.0)

    In my previous post at Lifehack, I wrote about the different means of finding writing ideas. But what if you already have a lot of great ideas? How will you nurture these ideas so that they will blossom into a fantastic blog post or great content?

    The key here is you need to know how to organize disparate ideas to write useful and well-written pieces.

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    1. Store and classify your ideas:

    There are so many ways to gather ideas – books, blog posts, newsletters, suggestions from friends. With so many ideas swirling around, you need to find a way to file them and classify them based on categories and themes.

    I highly recommend tools such as Evernote where you can store all your ideas and put tags on them for reference and/or inspiration for writing.

    2. Draft an outline

    Some writers don’t recommend this method as it is too linear – which doesn’t reflect how the human brain works.

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    That said, as a journalist who needs to beat the daily deadlines, I have to write quick and to the point. Hence, I draft an outline as a guide. I usually start with a thesis statement – the lead – to sum up the most important point of my story. I will then write down sub-leads – statements that will support the thesis and gather evidence (data, research papers and interviews with analysts) to put some meat in the sub-leads.

    3. Use mind maps

    Our ideas don’t usually come in a sequential patterns. Sometimes as we get insights they may or may not be related to the topic at hand. To see connections of what seem to be diverse collections of ideas, try using a mind map.

    Get a paper and pencil and draw a box at the center of the page. This box will serve as a starting point. Write down any idea inside this box and then link the “center” to other ideas come to mind. You will gradually see a pattern emerging, allowing you to see the connections clearly.

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    4. Gather some index cards

    Or yellow sticky notes if you prefer. I recommend this method for longer writing projects like books which have several chapters and can be overwhelming to write. Just remember to have a clean floor so you can out lay out all your index cards and re-arrange them to fit your theme.

    Write down your ideas on your card. Keep them short – just one to two sentences per card. After that lay them down and analyze the connections -can you string then together to form a coherent whole? Are they arranged in sequence or do you need to rearrange them? This is a great way to put order to your to a longer writing piece.

    5. Put a call to action

    Unless you are writing in your journal, you are writing something to address a particular audience. So what do you want your readers to do after reading your article post or book? Do you want them to buy your product or book a consultation with you? Do you want them to click through a link or donate to your favorite charity?

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    Whatever it is, be sure to ask for it. You don’t even need to put the call to action at the end of your post. You can put it in your introduction or write your post to revolve around a specific call to action.

    And in the case of this blog post, this is my call to action: apply one tip that you got from this post in developing a writing idea. Afterwards, contribute comments below on how that tip helped you in writing a post or book.

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    Last Updated on February 13, 2019

    10 Things Happy People Do Differently

    10 Things Happy People Do Differently

    Think being happy is something that happens as a result of luck, circumstance, having money, etc.? Think again.

    Happiness is a mindset. And if you’re looking to improve your ability to find happiness, then check out these 10 things happy people do differently.

    Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions. -Dalai Lama

    1. Happy people find balance in their lives.

    Folks who are happy have this in common: they’re content with what they have, and don’t waste a whole lot of time worrying and stressing over things they don’t. Unhappy people do the opposite: they spend too much time thinking about what they don’t have. Happy people lead balanced lives. This means they make time for all the things that are important to them, whether it’s family, friends, career, health, religion, etc.

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    2. Happy people abide by the golden rule.

    You know that saying you heard when you were a kid, “Do unto others as you would have them do to you.” Well, happy people truly embody this principle. They treat others with respect. They’re sensitive to the thoughts and feelings of other people. They’re compassionate. And they get treated this way (most of the time) in return.

    3. Happy people don’t sweat the small stuff.

    One of the biggest things happy people do differently compared to unhappy people is they let stuff go. Bad things happen to good people sometimes. Happy people realize this, are able to take things in stride, and move on. Unhappy people tend to dwell on minor inconveniences and issues, which can perpetuate feelings of sadness, guilt, resentment, greed, and anger.

    4. Happy people take responsibility for their actions.

    Happy people aren’t perfect, and they’re well aware of that. When they screw up, they admit it. They recognize their faults and work to improve on them. Unhappy people tend to blame others and always find an excuse why things aren’t going their way. Happy people, on the other hand, live by the mantra:

    “There are two types of people in the world: those that do and those that make excuses why they don’t.”

    5. Happy people surround themselves with other happy people.

    happiness surrounding

      One defining characteristic of happy people is they tend to hang out with other happy people. Misery loves company, and unhappy people gravitate toward others who share their negative sentiments. If you’re struggling with a bout of sadness, depression, worry, or anger, spend more time with your happiest friends or family members. Chances are, you’ll find that their positive attitude rubs off on you.

      6. Happy people are honest with themselves and others.

      People who are happy often exhibit the virtues of honesty and trustworthiness. They would rather give you candid feedback, even when the truth hurts, and they expect the same in return. Happy people respect people who give them an honest opinion.

      7. Happy people show signs of happiness.

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      smile

        This one may sound obvious but it’s a key differentiator between happy and unhappy people. Think about your happiest friends. Chances are, the mental image you form is of them smiling, laughing, and appearing genuinely happy. On the flip side, those who aren’t happy tend to look the part. Their posture may be slouched and you may perceive a lack of confidence.

        8. Happy people are passionate.

        Another thing happy people have in common is their ability to find their passions in life and pursue those passions to the fullest. Happy people have found what they’re looking for, and they spend their time doing what they love.

        9. Happy people see challenges as opportunities.

        Folks who are happy accept challenges and use them as opportunities to learn and grow. They turn negatives into positives and make the best out of seemingly bad situations. They don’t dwell on things that are out of their control; rather, they seek solutions and creative ways of overcoming obstacles.

        10. Happy people live in the present.

        While unhappy people tend to dwell on the past and worry about the future, happy people live in the moment. They are grateful for “the now” and focus their efforts on living life to the fullest in the present. Their philosophy is:

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        There’s a reason it’s called “the present.” Because life is a gift.

        So if you’d like to bring a little more happiness into your life, think about the 10 principles above and how you can use them to make yourself better.

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