Ideas are all around. Sounds cheesy but it’s true. I’ve written about where to get writing ideas here but, today, I want to talk more about my brainstorm process when I actively try to come up with new ideas. Here are my steps.
- Open up the website of the magazine I intend to pitch (this can definitely change as I come up with ideas) and browse around. Read a few recent articles.
- Open a blank email, note on my phone or Google doc and just jot down ideas that come to mind. It helps that I also keep one or all of the above with running lists of article ideas and I’ll cross check these as well.
- See if I can think of any spin-off ideas to what I have listed. For example. I was once trying to come up with ideas for Heart month and I started with the idea that flossing and heart disease (or lack thereof) have a surprising link. As I flushed out this idea, it became ‘several surprising heart healthy habits’ and, eventually, it became this article on SELF.com: 4 Things You’re Already Doing to Protect Your Heart Without Even Knowing it.
- Pick one idea that jumps out to me and seems to fit that site or publication and start writing the sub heading and intro paragraph. If it’s going nowhere, skip that one and move on to another idea.
- Clean it up, format with heading, subhead, intro and a little more detail about what else I would include and pitch! (I also often combine more than one idea in a pitch email but more on that another time.)