The Idea Machine Needs You to Trust the Process
For many of us writers, coming up with content ideas can be the hardest thing about writing on this platform. We understand that the issue isn’t coming up with content ideas but rather coming up with good content ideas. With so many writers publishing their work simultaneously, the only way we can stand out is to publish content that is original, relevant, and uniquely us.
So what do we do? We put ideas on virtual paper and sent them out to our favorite publications. If a publication accepts our content, everything goes well, and the idea machine that lives in our head keeps running at full speed. We’re confident in our abilities because the external approval of having our work accepted keeps us assured that we’re on the right track.
However, if a publication sends our content back, the sting of rejection may cause us to doubt ourselves. That’s when the idea machine starts to stall. Having our content get rejected makes us lose that shiny confidence we once had, and we stop believing in our abilities. We forget that rejection is a part of the process, and suddenly, writing is harder than ever, simply because the ideas don’t seem to come.
As a result, we stop writing for days, weeks, months at a time. So what can we do about it?
Modify your expectations
It’s hard to come up with good content ideas if you expect every idea you think of to be perfect. And still, that’s what many writers do to themselves. They go to their desk, and unconsciously tell themselves, “nothing will be put on paper unless it’s absolutely perfect.” And… the ideas don’t come and nothing flows. Great.
This is why you need to modify your expectations. The idea machine won’t run if you expect it to provide you with nuggets of gold every time you use it. That’s an impossible goal that will only block your writing process. Instead, focus your energy on simply putting thoughts on paper.
No room for perfectionism here. If an idea crossed your mind, it’s good enough to put on paper. So leave your expectations behind, write your idea down, and give it a fair chance to shine.
Trust the creative process
Now that you’ve set realistic expectations for your idea machine, it’s time to rebuild your trust in the process.
What does trusting the process mean? It means learning to accept that there are ebbs and flows to your creative process. There will be periods of time where everything the idea machine gives you is gold. Where everything seems to flow beautifully. Similarly, there will be times where the idea machine is a little laggy and your ideas tend to flop.
Trusting the process means pushing through the difficult parts of the creative process, and holding on to the belief that you will come out on the other side.
It means resisting the negative thoughts that come with self-doubt. Self-doubt will only stop you from putting words on paper, which is exactly what you need to do to push through the difficult times. Trusting the process reminds you those down periods are normal. It means you continue to write, regardless of what the negative thoughts tell you.
Every piece we publish starts with the idea machine. It’s important to remember that ideas won’t come until you trust yourself to come up with nuggets of gold every now and then. Your idea machine needs you to trust the process. To accept the good ideas and the bad ideas equally. Both types can teach you to create better content.
If you don’t let go of unrealistic expectations and trust the process, writing your content will seem impossible, simply because ideas won’t flow. Nothing will flow and you’ll be left with a blank page.
When we let go of perfectionism and trust the process that provides us with our content ideas, we find peace within ourselves. We focus on what matters most: the words on paper and the audience who reads them.
Trust the process. Keep writing.