How to Think New Thoughts and Get Unstuck in Your Writing // Need an idea? (photo courtesy of scottchan,
Need an idea? (photo courtesy of scottchan,

Suppose you have a general idea, but don’t know what to write — you  might start brainstorming a list of possible topics, or create a mind map, or freewrite for 5 minutes to see what emerges. Or thanks to this tip I received from Laurenzana Press, you might use this clever Content Idea Generator.

When I popped in the general idea of “creative thinking,” here’s what I got:

  • 20 Problems With Creative Thinking
  • 14 Surprising Ways that Creative Thinking is More Refreshing than New Socks
  • Darth Vader’s Guide to Creative Thinking
  • 6 Reasons Creative Thinking is the Weakest Link
  • How Creative Thinking Could Get You Blacklisted
  • 17 Things You Don’t Want to Hear About Creative Thinking
  • What Jezebel Would Write About Creative Thinking
  • 16 Movies with Unbelievable Scenes About Creative Thinking
  • Why Creative Thinking is the Secret Ingredient
  • How Nostradamus Predicted Creative Thinking. No Really.
  • Homer Simpson’s Guide to Creative Thinking
  • The Evolution of Creative Thinking
  • How Twitter Can Teach You About Creative Thinking
  • The Dummies’ Guide to Creative Thinking
  • The 13 Best Resources for Creative Thinking
  • 14 Facts About Creative Thinking That Will Impress Your Friends.

Not every result is complete—“6 Reasons Creative Thinking is the Weakest Link” begs the question, the weakest link of what?—and all need further development. I’d need to think more about just how Twitter can teach me about creative thinking and just what would be important to include in the dummies’ guide.

That’s exactly the point of this tool — to help me or you or anyone generate our own ideas.

To this end, the tool gives some helpful tips, further questions, random facts, and funny comments along the way:

“Have the courage to write badly. Then fix it.”

“Did you know Sherpas climbed up and down Everest long before Sir Edmund Hilary?”

On “20 Problems With Creative Thinking,” the tool adds “If you use a small number like 3, the problems better be big or explained in-depth.”

Next to “Darth Vader’s Guide to Creativity” is the comment “He is not my father.”

As an aside to “The Evolution of Creativity,” the tool asks: “What about evolution vs. creationism? How can you use that debate to your advantage?”

Along with the movie-related idea: “Movies are awesome and easily relatable to any topic.”  “Don’t stop at movies. Try tv shows too.”

Along with the Twitter-related idea: “What’s the latest tool you’ve heard of but not used? Investigate before anyone else does.”

The Content Idea Generator seems to lean toward titles starting with numbers and is perhaps more suitable for generating ideas for blog posts than full-length books. And it’s clearly no substitute for your own imagination and creativity, but it’s a fun tool to try the next time you get stuck on what to write.

Writing/Reflection Prompt: Try the idea generator for yourself, and write a few paragraphs in response.


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2 thoughts on “How to Think New Thoughts and Get Unstuck in Your Writing

  1. April:

    I had some immediate thoughts to your entry today. When I taught senior H.S. back in the late 60’s and early 70’s. One Gr.12 class I was asked to develop and teach (for three years) was “Creative Writing”, because it was deemed that I had the skill. This experience was foundational for me—I had to learn to motivate the students to write—correctly–. Hence, your entry resonated. Thanks.Bill

    1. Thanks, Bill. I used to teach writing to college students, both basic English grammar and composition, so I have memories of being in the classroom with students too. This would have been a fun tool to share with them.

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