People often ask me where I get writing ideas. Truth is a lot of the writing I do is prescribed—meaning I don’t have to generate ideas. These are things like technical proposals and reports, where I write according to certain guidelines.
Other times I’m assigned a story or editorial to write on a given topic, where I’m given an outline, directions and sources to interview.
But there are times when I need to get flat out creative and think up ideas of my own – either to pitch to a client or for my own personal blog.
Where do the ideas come from? Well, from everywhere actually.
It can be a casual conversation with someone in line at the bank or grocery store check-out line.
Or a friendly chat with a neighbour will inspire a great lead for a personal finance story. Yeah, I write about the neighbours!
Other times it’s something I heard on the radio while driving – or maybe a story I’ve suddenly recalled from years ago that’s relevant to something I’m writing about today.
For financially-related pieces, some of my obvious sources of information are various financial websites, TV news and BNN Bloomberg.
Essentially, content opportunities are everywhere. You just have to be receptive when they come your way.
An Unlikely Source
Lately, I’ve discovered another goldmine for story ideas in an unlikely source – daytime TV. Now, I don’t mean soap operas or Dr. Phil. I’m talking about those chat shows like The Social, the View and The Talk.
Now let me make clear the only time I watch TV in the daytime is when I’m eating my lunch (which I know I shouldn’t be doing), but with my recent discovery I can rationalize it as time productively spent.
I don’t watch any one show in particular – just channel surf to see which one is most interesting to me at that moment – especially when the topic turns to personal finance, something I write a lot about.
And, sometimes my TV watching efforts pays off – like the time I crafted and successfully pitched an article based on a story that was being discussed on The Talk. Thanks Sharon Osborne!
As a side benefit you can get some amazing practical tips for other aspects of your life. I learned the proper way to fold my sweaters, layer my clothes for winter and what to pack if I ever go to the Yukon! Not things I’d likely be writing about, but good for my own edification.
Speaking of which, it’s lunch time now so I must run and see what today’s daytime TV has to offer!