Now that content is a part of every brand’s marketing arsenal; it’s getting harder to find topics that haven’t been covered before. This isn’t a problem of budget, staff, or expertise. It’s a problem of finding ways to generate content ideas. At nDash, we’re helping brands solve this problem by enabling some of the world’s best freelance writers to pitch them unique ideas, but there are other ways to drum up compelling content topics.
In this post, we wanted to highlight five books (remember books?) that can help you and your team find unique angles that will draw the reader’s attention. Take a look:
The War of Art – Steven Pressfield @SPressfield
The reason so many people struggle with idea generation and creativity, in general, is that there are forces actively working against your creative success. In his short book, author Steve Pressfield discusses how to “Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles.” He calls these blocks “Resistance.” The book serves as a manual for getting into a creative state, but each 1-2 pages can also serve as an individual lesson to give you a daily kick in the pants. Here’s one quote I appreciated:
“Resistance knows that the amateur composer will never write his symphony because he is overly invested in its success and overterrified of its failure.”
A Technique for Producing Ideas – James Webb Young
I discussed this book and the process outlined in it in more detail in our recent blog post; Idea Generation is a Process: The Science Behind Creative Ideas. Even though this book is 50 years old, the five-step process Young outlines is just as relevant and applicable today. He demystifies the idea of creativity by turning it into a process that anyone can follow. Yes, even you.
Borrowing Brilliance – David Kord Murray
Murray probably followed his own advice and borrowed some of the brilliance from Young’s book for his. Borrowing Brilliance outlines a similar idea generation process – this time in six steps – with a greater emphasis on the argument that ideas are generated from other ideas. His book offers some good advice and excellent examples from his slightly more modern career. He also draws from various seemingly unrelated fields such as science, entertainment, and philosophy:
“People are made out of other people just as ideas are made out of other ideas. This is why ideas give birth to one another and why I can say that brilliance is borrowed and always has been.”
Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative – Austin Kleon @AustinKleon
This concept of ideas coming from other ideas isn’t unique or unpopular. Austin Kleon takes a more specific spin on the idea of stealing creative ideas and applies it directly to writers and other artists. This is another really short book that you can use as creative inspiration when you are struggling to get the brain juices flowing.
Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention – Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
In his first book, psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi talks about the idea of flow – the state you enter when you are “in the zone,” and all of your knowledge, practice, and ideas combine to work perfectly together. The concept has such an important relation to idea generation he followed that book up with one dedicated solely to how to use the concept of flow to enter a creative state. Then discover new, innovative ideas. Both are really interesting reads but if you want to get right to the point, choose Creativity.
Final Thoughts: How to Generate Content Ideas
There are five books I’ve found helpful in generating ideas and pushing through the creative battle. What books or sources have helped you? Let us know in the comment section.