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How to never run out of ideas, as per Isaac Asimov

Munira Rangwala
15th Mar 2017
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One of the most renowned writers that walked the face of this earth, Isaac Asimov wrote several novels and essays in his lifetime. All his writings reflected a fresh thought process and his ideas were never repetitive. In his autobiography, It's Been a Good Life, Asimov revealed that he wasn't writing eight hours a day, seven days a week for his entire life. He too faced dejection and failure. There were times when he got frustrated and tore up pages when he wasn't satisfied with his penmanship. Taking inspiration from his autobiography, we've compiled a list of the tactics and strategies to never run of ideas again. Here goes.

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Don't allow fear to dictate your life

Whether you're an artist or an entrepreneur, whatever you create will be subjected to the criticism of the public. If you fear rejection, you will never have the guts to think of something path-breaking. Asimov mentioned that sometimes after publishing his articles he would be so scared that he would avoid any interaction whatsoever with people around him. Self-doubt is one of the biggest deterrents to creativity. The fear of rejection can be so great that we discard potentially ideas even before completely thinking them through.

Always strive to learn something new

Your horizons begin to narrow the moment you feel that your learning process ends when you step out of college. In addition to being a science fiction writer, Asimov had a PhD in chemistry and he wrote on physics and ancient history as well. Unlike today's professionals, his learning process didn't end after he got a degree. He believed that in order to have good ideas, one needs to consume good ideas too. Following your curiosity and continuously reinventing yourself is the key to coming up with fresh ideas.

Create as much stuff as you can

When Asimov published one piece of writing, he would start working on a different piece almost immediately. This would help him to not get too consumed by the success or failure of the first piece. If you have a new product coming out every other week, you simply don't have the time to dwell on your failings. Diversity keeps the mind running like little else.

Move on instead of staying stuck

Just like every writer, Asimov too faced the infamous 'writer's block'. However, instead of staring at blank sheets of paper and cradling a head that is devoid of new ideas, he used to leave his current piece of writing and move on to other projects that required his attention. He realised with time that when he would return to the original piece, he would be able to write it with more ease. By taking a breather and finding new projects to work on, our subconscious creates space for new ideas to develop.

Instead of trying to get everything right in the first go, make a rough draft and see how you like it. By following the above tactics you're sure never to run out of ideas again.

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