Ideas – The starting point of every writing project

How do you generate and capture your ideas? How do you manage them? Do you have a flood of ideas or do you feel like sometimes the well is dry? I encourage you to try treating your ideas like little treasures that you are collecting. I am not always sure where or when I will use them, but I have created a space where they are easily accessible, searchable and honoured. Since I have started this practise of capturing all of my ideas, I have found that ideas come more readily, and I am generating more of them or maybe just noticing more of them. By generating and capturing your ideas you effectively eliminate the blank page as you always have somewhere to start.

Here are some strategies for generating ideas:

  • Consume –Scientific papers, podcasts, programs. Include consumption that is outside of your regular programming.
  • Interact – Talk to your colleague and talk to people outside of your field.
  • Create – Doing experiments and generating data.

Here are some strategies for capturing ideas:

  • Do a mind dump. When you are starting a writing project, or you are getting a lot of ideas all at once, it can become overwhelming. It’s time to consider a mind dump i.e. write down all of your ideas in one place, for example, on a piece of paper, or a whiteboard.
  • Treat every idea as neutral and write them ALL down. We are trained to evaluate and criticize ideas automatically, so this can be a challenge for scientists. If you practise being neutral about your ideas and being open to receiving all of your ideas, more ideas will inevitably be generated and statistically this results in more useable ideas.
  • Create an ongoing Universal Capture List (see Getting Things Done by David Allen). For example, a notebook or app on your phone (I use that is with you at all times so that you may capture your ideas whenever they strike.

If generating your ideas is your strength you may get stuck here in the writing process and have something common with Da Vinci. If you are overwhelmed by all of your ideas and you are not sure where to start, I invite you to email me for a complimentary Discovery Call at We will have a powerful coaching conversation and discuss next steps.

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