How to Write a Great Hub: Generating Article Ideas

“Your most brilliant ideas come in a flash, but the flash comes only after a lot of hard work. Nobody gets a big idea when he is not relaxed, and nobody gets a big idea when he is relaxed all the time.” Edward Blakeslee

I Have No Idea!

A few days ago, I happened to come across a couple of posts from new hubbers who said they didn’t know what to write about. New members of Toastmasters are often at a loss of what to speak about as well when faced with having to write speeches.

I am rarely at a loss for article or Hub ideas. Rather, my problem is a lack of time to write all I want (or need) to write, here on Hub Pages or elsewhere.

So where do ideas come from?

Our creative juices flow best when we don’t try so hard. You know how it is when you are desperately trying to remember where you placed an important paper? Finally you decide it’s hopelessly lost and give up. You’re busy doing other tasks when suddenly it pops into your head and – “Aha! So that’s where I put it!”

By letting go, unclenching the brain so to speak, you relax enough to let the info come to the forefront of your memory.

If you're stuck for ideas, trying drawing. Sometimes using a different method of communication can open our creativity.
If you're stuck for ideas, trying drawing. Sometimes using a different method of communication can open our creativity.

Idea Generators

So relax, open your mind and let the ideas flow. But if you do need some help generating some ideas, try one of these methods:

  • Keep a notebook – at your desk, in your car, in your pocket or purse. Get in the habit of jotting down ideas as they come to you. If you catch yourself beginning to wonder about something going on around you, take it as an opportunity to explore it as a hub idea. Irritated by someone in a restaurant who continually takes calls or texts and ignores the people around him or her? How about a hub on cell phone etiquette? The more often you recognize an idea when it comes to you, the more frequently they will come.

  • Brainstorm -- Without editing or censoring yourself, quickly write for 5 minutes, making a list of topics you could write about. Think about your family, your job, your goals, your childhood, the people you know.... All of these are sources for hub ideas. Now look at the list again. Can you use one of those on your list as a springboard for others? Try combining some into a “Top 10” list or “5 things I regret” list.

  • Zero in -- Let’s say you love cars and have decided that will be your niche. That’s a very broad topic so you need to find some subtopics. Since this is a subject you probably already know a lot about, start listing everything about cars that you can think of: American’s love affair with automobiles, fuel economy cars, car styles through the years, car ads (effective, funny, best), foreign cars, the most dangerous and safest cars, etc.

Creative Whacks

Phil Plasma wrote three hubs about generating ideas. Read them – it’s a great series with lots of tips for finding ideas.

My dad was a very creative person in an off-the-wall kind of way (and my younger son is like him). Years ago, my dad had a book called, “A whack on the side of the head: How you can be more creative” by Roger von Oech. He says there are two reasons to be creative. First, what worked a couple years ago may not work today so we need to find new solutions, new answer and new ideas. Second, because it’s fun.

He continues, “Ideas, like organisms, have a life cycle. They are born, they develop, they reach maturity, and they die. So we need a way to generate new ideas.”


The book has been lost but when my sister and I were cleaning out my dad’s home after he passed away, we found a companion deck of cards, “The Creative Whack Pack.”

The pack has 64 cards divided into four groups of different colors: blue, red, orange and green. Each group of 16 cards features different strategies that prompt us to look at the world with new eyes. The blue group – the Explorer – is for discovering resources you’ll use to create new ideas. Other cards provide techniques to generate ideas or give decision-making advice.

I’ll conclude this hub with some wisdom from Oech’s card #50:

“If you think you are creative, you’ll act that way – and vice versa. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. As you think, so you are.”

Read more....

Read more in my series for new Hubbers:

Do you see yourself as a creative person?

  • Yes, I'm always bubbling with ideas
  • No, I can never think of anything to write about
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Was this Hub helpful?

  • Yes
  • No
  • Some of it
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Comments 32 comments

lzlpio90 profile image

lzlpio90 5 years ago

i would say i could relate to this hub. there are really times when a bunch of ideas were crashing into your mind and when you try to recall it, bang!its gone!!!

nice advice, i'll took the first one.maybe i should try to keep notes of any ideas that come into my mind..

Thanks


Danette Watt profile image

Danette Watt 5 years ago from Illinois Author

Thanks for reading and commenting lzlplo90. Give the notebook tip a try. You want to be able to capture the idea has soon as you get it - they are like dreams, ephemeral and elusive if you don't grab them.


Phil Plasma profile image

Phil Plasma 5 years ago from Montreal, Quebec

Thanks for the link! The tip about being relaxed is a good one I hadn't thought of, I'll definitely keep it in mind. Voted-up and useful.


Danette Watt profile image

Danette Watt 5 years ago from Illinois Author

Thanks for the vote up. I included your link because I felt it was a great series for ideas.


pots 5 years ago

Danette, this was very helpful to me. Being a newbie and looking for advice, I find your post helpful in that I have the ideas flowing all the time, just not sure what to do with them. Putting them on paper and taking it from there....great advice - thank you, keep it coming!


Danette Watt profile image

Danette Watt 5 years ago from Illinois Author

Hi pots, I'm glad you found it useful. As I get more thoughts on how to expand on a particular idea, I just go back to that page and jot them down. Then when I'm ready to write it, I have notes on where to find more research, what I want to make sure gets mentioned and so on.

Check out my other hubs in my "for new hubbers" series. http://hubpages.com/community/How-to-write-a-great...


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 5 years ago from North Carolina

Danette-I loved the hub; rated up and interesting/useful. I think I may have the book on my shelf...but, forgot there was a deck of cards. I'm like you-too many ideas, never enough time.

I'm at the airport right now-first flight was 'postponed' and delayed from 8:30 until 10:30 am which means I would miss my connection and am now arriving at 2:04 pm So...here I am on my computer, LOL

I see you have a trilogy going and that is great. Can'ty wait to read the other two. Great tips here, sister.


Danette Watt profile image

Danette Watt 5 years ago from Illinois Author

thanks Dee, actually going for more than 3 - LOL.


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 5 years ago from North Carolina

Good for you--I'll be looking forward to reading them. :)


DebSimmons profile image

DebSimmons 5 years ago from Campbell

Good point about trying too hard and the fact that it tends to more of a hinderance than a help and great analogy about not being able to find that paper you lost until you stop trying. I don't know a single soul who has not had that experience, no matter the object they have "lost". :-) Thanks for the advice and help. I will follow your hubs with interest. -- Deb Simmons


Danette Watt profile image

Danette Watt 5 years ago from Illinois Author

Thanks Deb. Thanks for stopping by to read and comment. With your ongoing schooling, I doubt you'll be at a loss of stuff to write about and I'm looking forward to reading them.


mothermonster profile image

mothermonster 5 years ago

Great advice here. I just began writing hubs myself, mostly because I seem to do much less writing now that I'm a mom and a teacher. And strangely enough, I probably have more than ever to write about now that my life is almost too busy for writing! I'm learning to make time to do writing for me.


Danette Watt profile image

Danette Watt 5 years ago from Illinois Author

Hi mothermonster, thanks for reading and commenting. It does seems the more full our lives, the more we have to write about. It is tough to find time for ourselves to write, especially when you have a young children. Welcome to Hub Pages!


MummyTales profile image

MummyTales 5 years ago from Australia

It is funny, some of the places you stop and think "That'll make a great hub!". I have a notepad and write down my ideas whenever they pop. I just have to find the time to write them :) Great article.


Danette Watt profile image

Danette Watt 5 years ago from Illinois Author

Thanks for reading, MummyTales and I agree -finding time to write the hubs for all the ideas is tough.


J Yoder 5 years ago

Another inspiring helpful hub, Danette! I especially like the quote about ideas being like organisms. That is very true! Thanks for the tips too.


Danette Watt profile image

Danette Watt 5 years ago from Illinois Author

Hi J Yoder, thanks for reading and commenting. I'm glad you found this hub to be helpful!


BradyBones profile image

BradyBones 5 years ago from Somewhere Between a Dream and Memory

Great hub here, Danette! It should also be pointed out that many people have smart phones with "Memo" apps. The phone is only as smart as you let it be, though. They haven't come up with a model yet that will come up with ideas for you. :)


Danette Watt profile image

Danette Watt 5 years ago from Illinois Author

Hi Brady, thanks for reading. I don't have a smart phone so I didn't even think of using any apps in this. But you're right, at least for now, it can't do the thinking for people.


vidhimayur profile image

vidhimayur 5 years ago

Danette your hub is very very useful to people like me who are new to hubpages. And when you talk about keeping notebook to jot down ideas is so much true.There are times when i get great ideas for hub topics but i fail to write it down at that point and in this process i lose great hub!!


Danette Watt profile image

Danette Watt 5 years ago from Illinois Author

Thanks for reading and commenting vidhimayur. Sometimes the ideas come fast and furious and sometimes there's a veritable drought. It's always useful to have a stash of ideas to fall back on then.


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 4 years ago from Nashville Tn.

I'm not smart enough to have a smart phone:) Danette this is a very good hub. I get some of my best ideas for writing a hub when I'm waiting....Doctor, Dentist, line after line in store after store. Thank you for these suggestions. Good and helpful. Will share.


Barbara Kay profile image

Barbara Kay 4 years ago from USA

This was an excellent article. I'm in kind of a drought of ideas, but I do have a lot written down. I need to get busy.


Danette Watt profile image

Danette Watt 4 years ago from Illinois Author

Thanks vocalcoach. Sometimes it pays to be bored in line or waiting for an appt. - it frees up our minds to daydream which can be very fruitful for our writing. Thanks for sharing!


Danette Watt profile image

Danette Watt 4 years ago from Illinois Author

Hi Barbara Kay! Sometimes when I look over my list of ideas or go through my folder of notes, I get inspired again. Good luck. I hope your drought ends soon!


tipstoretireearly profile image

tipstoretireearly 4 years ago from New York

The best ideas do come out of the blue when we aren't forcing them. Its just like trying to remember the title of a song ... its best to forget about the question for a little time and just let the answer pop into our minds. Keeping a notebook handy to jot down the ideas when they do arrive is a great tip!


Barbara Kay profile image

Barbara Kay 4 years ago from USA

Thanks Danette.


Danette Watt profile image

Danette Watt 4 years ago from Illinois Author

Hi tipstoretireearly! You're absolutely right, it's best to just let it go and not force ideas to come to mind. Thanks for reading and commenting.


Liz Walmoth 4 years ago

Thanks for the tips! I love the concept of the Creative Whack Pack. It shows that generating ideas can be a science that anyone can learn to do. Thanks for sharing!


Danette Watt profile image

Danette Watt 4 years ago from Illinois Author

Hi Liz! Glad you found the tips useful. I think (no, I KNOW) I'm a creative person, but I don't think I'm a 'whacky' kind of creative person. But it's a good thing we have people in this world like that. Happy Hubbing!


JYOTI KOTHARI profile image

JYOTI KOTHARI 2 years ago from Jaipur

Though several ideas generate in my mind and I used to write on those ideas, this hub is extremely helpful in organizing those. Tanks for a great article.

Rated up and beautiful.


Danette Watt profile image

Danette Watt 2 years ago from Illinois Author

Thanks Jyoti, I appreciate the feedback and compliment. Good luck in HubPages!

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