So maybe you’ve tried the whole brain dumping process and your experience was less than positive.
Or maybe you just don’t buy into the thought of sitting in front of a blank piece of paper with the hopes that you’ll magically begin producing high value ideas.
If this is you, no problem. There is another way to trigger your creative mindset to help generate some ideas with real potential.
More specifically, I’ll offer you two specific methods to utilize when you need to begin coming up with ideas for your next book and you really don’t feel like brain dumping.
The first approach is the Category approach. The idea is that we’re going to use books that are currently available on Amazon to get our creative mind active and then we’re going to prompt ourselves with guiding questions to enhance and improve upon these topics.
Category Idea Generator
1. Visit Amazon.com.
2. Click on Departments towards the top left.
3. Click on Kindle Books under Books & Audible.
4. Towards the left hand side you’ll see a bunch of categories with grey numbers next to them. These numbers indicate how many titles are available within that particuar category.
5. Click on a category that you may want to focus on.
6. Within that particular category will be subcategories (also towards the left). Again, click a subcategory that you may want to write about.
7. Click on a book that intrigues you.
8. Take a look inside the book and review the table of contents.
9. Record the book and the parts of the book if you believe it is something you may want to write about.
10. Repeat steps 1 – 9 for at least five more books.
Before moving onto the next strategy it is important to point out that the topics you’ve identified within a table of contents could be the sole topic of your book. In other words, just because a particular author chose to only offer one chapter of information for that topic it does not mean a further in depth look would not be helpful. Moreover, this indicates that there is a potential audience as well.
Secondly, we will discuss the Keyword Approach prior to discussing the prompting questions because both the Category and Keyword Approaches will bring us to the same guiding questions.
Keyword Idea Generator
1. Create a Google Keyword Planner account.
2. Click on “Search for new keywords using a phrase, website or category.”
3. In the box under “Your product or service” type in a few topics that you’re interested in. Then click “Get Ideas”
4. Under the “Keyword Ideas” you can begin recording keywords that are of interest to you. It would be helpful to note the monthly search volume as well. This number can serve as a quantitative way to differentiate your ideas if you later become stuck between multiple potential topics.
5. Repeat steps 1 – 4 for as many initial keywords that you can think of.
Between the two approaches you should have no problem coming up with a list of potential topics to write about. However, if you’re looking for a third option you can always do a combination of the two.
More specifically, you can begin taking the Keyword Idea Generator steps to come up with a bunch of keywords that have potential. Armed with these keywords you can begin searching these terms in the Amazon search bar (within the Kindle eBooks and/or books department) and follow the steps from the Category Idea Generator for books that come up that intrigue you.
Whichever method you choose you want to put it through a filtering process via the following prompts/actions:
- Highlight the top ten ideas/topics based on your level of interest. The rest can be discarded for now.
- Answer the following question for each of your highlighted ideas: On a scale of 1 to 5 how excited am I to write about this topic (5 being the most excited you can be)?
- Answer an additional question for each of your highlighted ideas: On a scale of 1 to 5 how knowledgeable are you within this topic (5 would indicate that you’re an expert).
- Average the two scores for each topic.
- Choose the topic with the highest average.
Note: if you’re feeling like your highest average topic isn’t the right one and there is another specific topic pulling you in another direction then follow your instinct.
Conversely, if you’re feeling like your highest average topic isn’t the right one but you don’t have any particular topic pulling you in any direction then accept that you need to commit. Choose your greatest average topic and move forward.
So there it is. A specific set of steps that can help you derive high value ideas without having to use your own mind to do a brain dump.
Do you have to make some subjective choices?
If you struggle with that thought then you need to ask yourself if your focus should be writing. In other words, if despite going through these two approaches you still find nothing that you want to focus on then maybe you should focus your goals on guest blog post writing.
Doing so can result in great networking opportunities, help you hone your writing skills, and validate whether or not you have a genuine interest in a particular topic. After a month or two of actively guest blogging (or writing on Quora.com or Medium.com) I believe you’ll know what focus you want to take as you establish yourself as an author.