Bonjour. (Yes, I’ve started to learn French.)
I want to tell you something important. It will help you become an idea machine. A content generation mechanism.
Here it goes.
Your brain is not a storage facility. In fact, it’s the opposite.
It’s a factory.
Simplified for dummies (like me), a factory has the following three-step procedure:
Input – you put something in.
Processing – the machines make weird noises, something is working, thumping, squeaking, clicking, and dripping.
Output – voilà! (I told you) You get a ready product.
The brain of a content creator works exactly the same way.
Unless you have inputs, you can’t have outputs. Unless there’s a process, the inputs can’t turn into ready-to-use outputs that you can own (it’s called plagiarism). And unless you have this three-step-process, in this exact order, there can’t be anything done.
Let’s break it down.
Step one is the inputs.
Inputs can be the following:
Other people’s content. This is not plagiarism, this is inspiration. Read blogs and books, watch YouTube videos, listen to podcasts. It doesn’t matter what you consume as long as it’s interesting to you. Follow your curiosity. Go nuts. But beware: the quality of your outputs depends on the quality of inputs.
Your life. Which is why it’s important to live life (and have a job!) outside of writing.
Your “journey”. You can’t teach others unless you go on a journey. Otherwise, there’s nothing to teach! It can be a physical journey: “travel the world” in the style of most video and Instagram bloggers. Or it can be a metaphorical journey: do something new. (Learn French?)
Whatever you do, you need inputs.
Step two is processing.
It’s a stage in which your brain’s gears and cogs start turning, while the inputs are being processed. Scientists say that for every hour of input (external stimulation), we need ten minutes of reflection. The best way to process new information is to go on walks.
Step three is output.
Finally, when you’ve got your inputs processed, it’s time to create outputs.
Write. Record. Speak. Create content.
Notice that writing is step two. Too many writers – me included – forget steps one and two and, as a result, suffer from redundancy or low-quality material. In short, they end up saying the same things, just in different ways, so that nobody will notice.
I’ve got bad news for you. People notice. I mean, I do. And I assume that other people do too when they read my content.
The truth is, if you’re repeating yourself – you’re lazy.
But I get it. It’s impossible to write 365 posts in a year about yourself. What are you going to talk about? You don’t have that many stories in your life, no matter how diligently you mine it.
The solution: have quality inputs. Think of your brain as a factory. Have inputs. Have a process. Have outputs. Make it a routine. Build a process around your content creation. Dedicate time, several hours, each day to it.
After all, it’s your working instrument.
Honestly, this has been a game-changer for my creativity.
And if you’re thinking that it’s too much work, remember a quote by James Brown (an extraordinary jazz musician):
“You can’t teach others if you’re living the same way.”
P.S. I should write a Medium post on this subject.