Generating and Eliminating Bad Ideas

ice cream badHere’s the problem with blogs: most of the content on any given blog is pretty mediocre. This is somewhat unavoidable if you’re generating the content on your own. You need to keep writing in order to get to a level where you can generate good blog posts, and even once you’re up to snuff, you’re still going to be producing more “pretty good” posts than great ones.

Hiring a writer to turn your ideas into posts is smart, but… sometimes a blog post is flawed down to the idea itself. You might hire a writer to produce a post, and even though they’ve proven themselves in the past as being able to create engaging content, this one just turned out to be a waste of time and money.

So here’s a way to produce fewer lame blog posts: produce more lame ideas.

Hear us out here. Not-so-great blog post ideas are inevitable, so the trick is to get them down on paper or in a word file or on whatever app you use on your phone for taking memos, and then just don’t waste time developing the stinkers into blog posts.

To put it another way, try this: write down ten ideas, and discard the nine of them that you don’t think are all that interesting.

Stephen King is a writer who subscribes to the philosophy that a second draft really involves removing more than revising. You take out the boring parts of the novel, you speed up the slow parts. You might remove an entire character who isn’t that interesting. If Stephen King practiced this philosophy when developing ideas for books, he might not have so many lousy ones to pad out his classics.

Identifying a good idea isn’t always easy, of course. You don’t want to get attached to any of your ideas just because you came up with them. You want to look at your list and ask yourself “if I was just surfing the web and these headlines came up in a Google search or on my Facebook feed, which one would I click on?”

Optimization is frequently about reducing your efforts and creating a more efficient, effective workflow, engaging the user in a more direct way. Part of that is acknowledging that not every idea is going to be a winner, and simply scrapping the ones that don’t seem that compelling.

gilbert sGilbert S is a writer and artist who lives in New Mexico with his wife, and his dog, Sir Kay.

 


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