How to Come Up With Ideas

A question I get asked often is how do I come up with ideas to write about.

Before I started writing, I had the same question.

The secret to coming up with ideas is to simply start creating. As soon as I started writing every day I realized there were no shortage of ideas out there.

Morgan Housel expresses a similar opinion in his piece, Selfish Writing.

But where do good writers get perspective”? Where does context” come from?

Most of it comes from the process of writing.

Good writers don’t walk around all day with 100,000 words of eloquent wisdom in their heads. No one can do that. They take some vague feeling they’ve been thinking about, dig into a bunch, write down what they’ve discovered, realize half of it doesn’t make sense, delete most of it, write some more, realize the new stuff contradicts itself, panic when they realize they don’t understand the topic as well as they thought they did, talk to other smart people about why that is, learn something new that reminds them of this other thing that might tie into the second paragraph, discover that this thing they believed before they started writing isn’t actually true, realize that if that thing isn’t true then this other thing is probably really important, and so on endlessly. Grinding through this process reveals bits of context that are hopefully new discoveries to the reader. More importantly, they were likely new discoveries to the writer before they set out writing.
December 15, 2020

Previous:A Few Thoughts on Reading
Next:Light at the End of the Tunnel