During our weekend workshops with an ambitious numeric goal to reach—100 article ideas matched to magazines at our recent IdeaFest, for instance—there is always a hesitation in the air on the first day and even the morning of the second about whether each writer will reach the goal.

For IdeaFest, we had several group sessions on what an idea really is, what editors need from us, and how to make sure your idea is a good fit for a magazine before I handed out pages marked one through 100.

But when they first went out, they felt like a sentence. Something ominous.

A blank page that’s meant to be filled with a large number of things that you’re not sure you can even do a few of.

And as I continually checked in with everyone’s “white pages” as we called them (as opposed to other colors of pages of worksheets for generating ideas and polishing the matches to magazines), they stayed largely white for a good 24 hours as the writers familiarized themselves with magazines, tried to find multiple homes for the ideas that they were just in love with from their recent trips, and investigated whether the ideas they had were actually a fit for the magazines they were interested in.

As I urged them to upgrade everything that was a clear fit from their blue brainstorming pages to their white pages, at first there was resistance to make that leap. During our one-on-ones, we would plow through blue pages, crossing things out and rewriting them on white pages, often with additional related ideas that came up as we discussed the ideas.

But then, around lunch time on Sunday, a curious thing happened.

White “100 Ideas” sheets that had only held 20 odd entries when I last looked at them suddenly had 40, 60, even 80 ideas recorded.

Everyone had broken past the ideas that they loved and held on to closely and started reaching out for the ideas floating in front of them all the time. Story ideas that magazines are looking for that they already have the background to write.

Because the thing about coming up with article ideas—like leads and other types of writing that feel like you’re staring at a blank page waiting for inspiration to strike—is that they work best when they don’t come out of nowhere, but rather when you draft them off of things that already exist and are already successful.

In today’s webinar at 3:30 pm EST / 12:30 pm PST, Don’t Create Ideas Out of Nowhere: How to Always Find Them When You Need Them, I’ll work in detail through three different ways to generate ideas from magazines and three different ways to come up with ideas “from thin air” so that you are never worried about *what* to pitch again. Register now.

If you aren’t able to make it to the webinar live and want to watch it later, make sure you register to get the replay via email after the call. The replay is available to registrants for one week, at which point it becomes available to members of our coaching programs or for purchase on demand in our webinar library!

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