Creating an idea habit

By Marc Littlemore
3 min read

If you're playing along at home, you'll know that I embarked on a 30-day writing habit challenge to myself.

I want to attempt to kickstart a habit, and feel like I was getting better at putting pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard. I don't think I'm a bad writer, but I've always struggled to get started with writing.

Once I start writing, I love it. But some days I hit a roadblock.

What should I write about?

I found a great Twitter thread from Mark Shpuntov which summarised a workshop where Ali Abdaal and David Perell discussed "building an idea factory". I thought this was a fantastic description of what your brain could become.

Very few people have 100% original ideas. You don't have to constantly come up with unique ideas to create good content. When you combine an idea with your voice and your knowledge and experience of somthing, it becomes original.

Ali Abdaal is a doctor and top YouTube creator in the productivity space. He suggests a some simple ways to generate new ideas.

  1. Find content creators that you watch regularly and consider them to be great in their area.
  2. Be inspired from their content and watch or read what they create.
  3. Create your own ideas and content based upon their work but give it a unique angle.
  4. Make sure you reference the original idea and creator.

You can ensure that you don't feel like you're just stealing their ideas by using more than just a single source to create your own. Read multiple articles or watch videos from different creators to gain the initial inspiration but apply your own thinking and experience, to enable you to make it different.

To be more creative you can diversify the content you consume. As Steve Jobs once said:

Take inspiration from different places, different fields of study, and different places. The more things you can connect, the better your ideas will become. Try to consume quality content and look for inspiration and ideas in unique books, documentaries, YouTube videos, podcasts, and blogs.

One thing that I'm trying to get better at is capturing the things I learn using Obsidian. Good ideas are everywhere but our brains can struggle to notice them. As with most things, I believe that this can be improved with practice. Having a reliable process for capturing ideas is a great way to let your brain think of the ideas and then dump them into a place that you can curate them. Pay attention to any ideas you may have and attempt to write each one down.

Telling others your ideas can help you to clarify your thinking and maybe allow you to see it in a new way. This could be writing it down in a blog post like this, tweeting it out on Twitter, or having a chat with others. Having a discussion allows people to ask more questions which will lead to new ideas and thinking.

The last thing I'm planning on doing before my next blog post is to brainstorm ideas. I have a lot of diverse interests and sometimes it's hard to slim down all of my thoughts into simple ideas. A 30-minute session where I concentrate on coming up with as many thoughts as possible will help me to consider options and ideas I'd not previously considered.

It's time to break out the mind mapping software before tomorrow's post.

Marc Littlemore avatar

I'm Marc Littlemore.

Iā€™m a Senior Software Engineering Manager who works with high performing development teams and loves to help to grow other software leaders and engineers.


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