Ever think you are all out of ideas? Yeah, me too.

by Michael Haberman on September 4, 2014 · 0 comments


Ideas can come from many sources.

Ideas can come from many sources.

As a writer who posts at least six times per week I have many times thought “What the heck am I going to write on? I have no original ideas.” Many of us have the same problem even if we don’t write. Just around the office someone will ask us “What do you think?” and suddenly we find ourselves at a loss. So what do you do? How do you get beyond this?

Fight the your brain

Courtney Seiter, writing in FastCompany, says there are six ways your brain tries to kill your ideas. You can find all six here. One of the ones that resonated with me was that you focus too much on other peoples stuff. Like Courtney I read a lot of other people’s material. It is where I look for “inspiration” for my blog posts. As a result I end up with the thought that I have no original ideas. All the good stuff has been taken. She calls it a content version of the impostor syndrome. (A malady I think many HR people suffer from on a continual basis.) So you to may think you have no original ideas.

How to fix this

You need to remember that in reality there is not all that much original thought. Most of take an idea from something we read, saw or heard. Great literature today is based on ideas from classical literature. Even Shakespeare, credited with being a very inventive fellow, borrowed from Greek and Roman literature. Many great music composers borrowed from other composers and even folk music. If you turn to Hollywood today there are very few original ideas.

Seiter said something in her article that made me feel better:

There’s always going to be space for reading, curating and cheering on others’ work. But there should also be a space for building on it and creating stuff of one’s own. Each of us has something to say, and we have the responsibility and privilege of adding to the discourse. It’s up to us to find and nurture the right balance and feel inspired by–not intimidated by-–the work that others do. After all, everything is a remix.

Realize there is no shame in borrowing ideas and things that work in other places. Just give them your twist or interpretation. Remember though, make sure you give credit where credit is due.


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