A guest post by @saraharrow
Lateral thinking is the most amazing tool for content creation. It helps you write fresh and unique blog postings.
The greatest thing I learnt in formal education was about Lateral Thinking.
The phrases was coined by Edward de Bono in the late 50’s/early 60’s. I won’t go into the history of how Lateral Thinking came about, I suggest you Google it and see for yourself (if you are interested). It’s a worthwhile exercise if you are serious about getting a constant stream of creative ideas for your blog.
You have some options before we carry on with my take on the Lateral Thinking Tools, bookmark this post or memorise it. I suggest you do both. I will make it easy for you to recall them as you go along. If you remember the tools, you will start to apply them in your blogging and it is where the real value of this post will be.
The Lateral Thinking Content toolkit.
Think of this post as a toolkit, each tool have a process that will make your content, stronger, fresher and original. In the original thoughts you will find more readers, more commenters and more subscribers. You become remarkable, worthy of being remarked upon.
Memorise by remembering you are ‘wrench”ing the idea to an alternative point of view.
My daughter is studying Macbeth at school and she is planning her essay. To demonstrate her understanding of the story she is considering “wrenching” around to another point of view. Perhaps Lady Macbeth was not mad, perhaps everyone around her was mad and she behaved was a reaction to them? If the storyteller was ‘one of them’ it becomes quite plausible, quite remarkable that perhaps Lady Macbeth was surrounded by madmen.
Of course the idea needs more work on it and that is just one example of a lateral thinking tool giving you a new angle on an old story, of which many interpretations exist already. She could also look at the the other use for the wrench. It’s a tool for extraction as well as a tool for alternatives.
How does Macbeth do as a story if you remove a fundamental part of it?
- What happens if Lady Macbeth is extracted from the story?
- Does Macbeth behave in the same way?
- Would his actions still be the same?
- Would the outcomes be the same?
‘Wrench‘ing an alternative angle or extracting something can give you a whole new take on an existing idea.
Memorise by remembering to magnify one aspect of your content by focusing on it.
Back to Macbeth, how would the story look from a minor character being magnified?
- How does the story play out if it is told from Ross the messengers point of view?
- What if Ross is magnified so Macbeth is his story and his take on what happens?
- How much of the story do we miss?
- What aspects do we gain?
By focusing on Ross the story of Macbeth becomes unrecognisable, a different story entirely. Regicide is no longer the main focus when you magnify different characters. It’s a completely new story.
If you see a blog post that you really like is there one angle you can focus on? Magnify it so that becomes a new post in its own right.
Memorise by thinking of using a axe to challenge, wielding it to chop or to deter.
Ok, I guess I am going to stick with Macbeth for the examples…
How does the tale fair if we chop the witches from it? What if we chop the beginning or saw out Banquo’s ghost. How does Macbeth look then?
- Are they sitting enjoying the meal and his conscience is speaking instead of the ghost?
- Is the conversation the same if the voice is not Banquo’s
- If you chop the main characters out, what fills their place?
- How does your post look if you take the saw to parts of it?
Memorise by remembering the light is shone in dark places to help make random connections
Random entry is to introduce a picture, photo, image or sound to an unseemingly related event. It then relies on the mind to connect the the unrelated objects. You know how the mind sees faces when there isn’t one? That’s how random entry works.
Go over to Flickr and start randomly collecting some images and see where they lead you. Thinking randomly has lead Macbeth originally a play becoming an opera, a film, comic books and a novel. And now a tool in describing lateral thinking for blog creation. How random is that?
Memorise by remembering the crowbar can help you get out of the box!
Ever been told to ‘think outside the box’ but have no idea exactly what that means or how to do it? Boy are you going to love the crowbar! Start with a deliberately unreasonable idea and see where it leads you.
Yes start with the most outrageous idea you can imagine and see where it goes. Exaggeration is your friend here and the more exaggerated you are the fresher your content becomes. An example of this would be Lady Macbeth is a transsexual. Pretty unheard of in Shakespeare’s day. Pretty outrageous to suggest it but looking at it further, could it explain certain behaviors of Lady Macbeth? Crowbar your thoughts from the box and into new places. Use your blog to explore these ideas. See from the comments you gain whether you have hit the mark or not.
These 5 tools will help you create really fresh content, some will be hits and some will be misses but all will be uniquely yours.
This is by no means a complete toolkit for lateral thinking for content creation, I have other tools up my sleeve and in my toolkit. These form part of a fantastic blogging e-course that I am working on with Nikki and Barbara Saul. It will be released in 2011.
Macbeth? The Scottish connection? Happy St Andrews day.
Sarah Arrow is the author of Advanced Blogging, managing editor of Birds on the Blog, co author of the best blogging e-course on the web, available 2011 (of course, she would say that). She can be found as @saraharrow on Twitter.
Image credits – toolbelt (C)toolventures.co.uk
Fair Use Notice
This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to encourage creative thought and educate.
We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.
If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.