Freelance Dilemma: Brainstorming New Ideas

For the past six or seven weeks, I’ve been participating in Freelance Success‘s Query Challenge.

The last time I participated, I broke into new markets and gained a whole lot of momentum in my freelance writing career. This time around, I’m floundering. A lot of that is due to the fact that I’m juggling so many different things right now: I work in NYC three days a week, have various copywriting gigs on my plate, and am in the midst of launching my career coaching practice/taking on practicum clients. For these reasons (and because I’m finding that–more and more often–work is coming to me), sending out queries is just a much smaller part of my freelance life at this point.

But the other reason I’m floundering–both in this query challenge and on my blog lately–is because I haven’t been generating new ideas.

ProBlogger ran a great post last week on feeling “blogged out.” It contained advice from 10 different pro bloggers on how to keep the well from running dry. I loved Laura Roeder‘s advice on creating long-term editorial calendars. It’s something I’ve tried in the past and then gotten lazy about. Because, um, I ran out of ideas. (You’ll have to read the rest of the post for all the other awesome advice. 🙂 I’ve also previously mentioned these idea-generating posts from Freelance Switch, Quips and Tips, and WordCount. I, personally, find my ideas in life experience, new interests, and unanswered questions. Perhaps I just need to be vigilant about keeping my mind and eyes open for story opportunities in my life?

How do you keep the well from running dry?

Related: How To Pitch: The Basics


  1. Hey Steph ~ I certainly relate! This fall, I had plenty of work coming my way (with little to no effort on my part) and I was focusing more on my creative writing. Then, post-holiday, the work suddenly dried up and I felt spent. I honestly couldn’t imagine how I could crack open the well to find marketing or writing ideas. After a month of struggling, I did something I don’t usually do. I updated my facebook status asking friends for ideas — and most of my friends aren’t freelancers or would-be clients. But that broke open the dam, and they were so generous with leads and support. Somehow, that was the magic I needed. So I guess my point is sometimes you have to do something in new area or in a new way to shake things up.

    It’s also okay to be focusing on everything you have going on now, too! You’ve got a deliciously full plate. Congratulations!

  2. There are four things. 1) I write a lot of lists. I jot ideas whenever I get them and even if I think they are stupid. If I don’t write them down in the moment, I forget them that quickly. 2) If I am desperate for an idea, I’ll do something relaxing like walk the dog, go for a run (that relaxes me; maybe not other people) or take a shower. I tell myself before I leave that I will have one good idea by the time I return. I always do. 3) Time off. Burn out is burn out. You can only suck so much juice out of your brain before your brain turns into sand. 4) I thought there was another one, but I can’t remember. See? Why I write lists!

  3. @Jesaka: Somehow, it never occurs to me to just ask for suggestions! (Is it any surprise that I also have trouble asking for help with other things, and delegating responsibilities?) But I decided to take this tip and ask for input on what I should include on my ebook! I only have two comments so far, but it’s already been so helpful!

    @Alisa: Oh lord. I’m always forgetting ideas, even though I do carry around a notebook. Time to start using it, I suppose.

Speak Your Mind