Author Yvonne Russell, has started an interesting series on her site. She’s calling the series, “The Idea Catcher.” Yvonne’s first installment in the series is already in, and it looks like she has some good ideas on how to generate topic ideas.
Yvonne’s post got me thinking. Who determines what I write about? I thought about it and was able to identify the following sources of topics:
- The client. I would say that 75% of the time writing assignments come to me with the topic already determined. For example, right now I am writing a study guide and test on audit planning. This wasn’t a topic that I dreamed up on my own, but rather a need of my client that I am happy to fill. (This type of writing job can be found at the bidding sites as well as in job advertisements.)
- Both Myself and the Client. Sometimes the client has a list of topics and/or projects that they need to have written. I am able to look through the list of topics and select those projects that I find interesting. I would say that this scenario occurs about 10% of the time. (Submission sites often have this option.)
- Writing-related jobs. Some writing jobs that I get don’t actually require me to write at all. Rather, these clients are looking for someone to proofread or edit their work. The writing is already done and original writer selected the topic. I recently had the privilege of doing a developmental edit for a client. I would say that this scenario occurs about 10% of the time. (This type of writing job can be found at the bidding sites as well as in job advertisements.)
- Myself. In my self-examination I was surprised to learn that I write on topics of my own choosing only about 5% of the time. A good part of the reason that this is true is that I need to maintain a certain cash flow for my family each month. (This type of writing can be submitted websites set up for that purpose. Queries can also be sent to publications or publishers.)
I found this little bit of introspection useful. I am sure that one of the reasons that I am so full of half-baked topic ideas is that I rarely choose my own subjects to write about.
Despite the fact that I have dozens of ideas that I would like to write about floating around in my head, I found reading about Yvonne’s process helpful. I always find it fascinating to get a peek into how others think.
What about you? Where do your ideas come from?
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