Last week, a friend asked me where the ideas for my newsletters come from.
It's a good question... and it's the same one I asked prolific author and marketing guru Seth Godin more than a decade ago after hearing him speak at a conference.
By that point, I was already a huge Godin fan and was utterly fascinated by the fact that he somehow managed to publish a brilliant blog post every single day without fail. I wanted to know where he got all his ideas, and so when he finished his talk and the moderator asked if the audience had any questions, my hand shot up.
"Mr. Godin, I'm a big fan, and I've been following your work for a long time. You always have such great ideas... where do they come from?"
I suppose I was being naive at the time in hoping he'd say something like, "Oh, I read this publication every day, and it serves as a springboard for my blog posts." Or perhaps, "I have a group of friends, and we get together every week for brainstorming sessions."
If I'm being honest, I don't remember what he said that day; I remember only that it was a "non-answer" type of answer, where he effectively side-stepped the question completely. I left the auditorium that day somewhat disappointed, still not knowing how he did what he did so consistently.
But after writing fairly frequently for the past year, I can answer the question myself.
Ideas can be found everywhere.
They are reflections of the articles you read, videos you watch, conversations you have, and experiences you remember.
The trick is to train your brain to recognize potential content when you see it, and then remembering to file it away for future reference.
For this newsletter, I have a special email set-up. Whenever I think of a potential newsletter idea, I send an email to this special address, and all of those emails go to a special folder. Then, when it's time for me to write, I open up my folder and pick the idea I feel is best among the bunch.
It's training and preparation, not magic.
But with enough training and preparation, it can start to feel like the words magically appear each time you sit down to write.