It happens to the best of us, myself included. You go to get a drink at the Idea Fountain only to find somebody didn’t pay the water bill!


Or the fountain is still running but instead of clean, crisp water brimming with wonderful ideas it’s a stagnant trickle filled with bug legs and only provides mediocre ideas.

BOTH happened to me recently.

The second happened in the title of my teleseminar. Everything else was clear and easy: all the benefits, snappy sales copy, email strings, pain points that had ME shivering.

But the title: uninspiring at best. NOT awesome for somebody who is teaching an entire module about how to craft killer titles. I didn’t have any choice except to run with what I had but, ewww, it was bad.

Enter a mentor:

I was on a VIP coaching call and mentioned the launch. It was going well, I was ecstatic with the signups but… There was something missing. She asked what I was calling it – and started to laugh.

“That’s a TERRIBLE title, Kim!” she said between giggles. “Who helped you?”

Pause. The line crackled.

“I came up with it myself,” I muttered.

“And THAT’S why you need a mentor!” In a matter of moments, she helped me tease out a terrific title AND she used the exact same process I use with my clients!

The difference? I can’t see my own nose – I’m too close to it. Having a mentor look at the idea, the title, the flow from OUTSIDE the creation and launch process is key!

By the way, the title of the class is:
The ‘Client Magnet’ Book Builder Bootcamp: 5 Easy Steps To Write A Book To Promote Your Business & Attract More Clients NOW!

About a thousand times stronger than what I had created.

And the other time when I went to the Idea Fountain and found it dry?

I’ve agreed to co-write a book of short stories with Karl Bosselman. He’s got five slightly-twisted stories about bugs and I’ll write five bug stories of my own.

For WEEKS I’ve been mulling this over and coming up dry. I couldn’t even decide which bugs I wanted to write about, let alone come up with colorful plot ideas.

Then today, I was working on a totally unrelated project. I wrote a direct-response sales letter and the client didn’t like the greeting line. This is where you say,

Dear {pain-filled-person}

I had originally provided Dear Clutter-Bug (the page is selling a course that helps people deal with clutter) but that got x-nayed.

I spent a good solid half-hour coming up with SIXTY-ONE new openings. Some are okay, others are crap, some are completely tongue-in-cheek. (And I discovered you can only dance around the word “clutter” so long…)

But here’s what happened:

By sipping at the Idea Fountain for something completely unrelated to ANYTHING I am personally invested in, my ideas about the BUG stories started to flow. But the ideas weren’t what I expected (spiders, mosquitos, centipedes.) Instead I’m thinking of writing about a clutter bug and a jitterbug and a humbug…

Moral of the story: when you’re started but then get stuck, and it happens to the best of us, reach out for help from a trusted mentor. Sometimes you can’t see your own nose!

And if the Idea Fountain has completely dried up, try using it for something else and maybe an idea will float to the surface!


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Kimberly Eldredge

Kimberly is an author, illustrator, and entrepreneur. She helps coaches, speakers, and authors take the content they already have and FINALLY get their book written and published.
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8 Responses to When The Idea Fountain Runs Dry…

  • I think that is such good advice but it is so hard to reach out to others for help, at least for me! A couple of times I actually did in a group and got nothing in response and felt totally rejected, so now I have to fight the feat that will happen again. So what I do is try to help as many people as I can along the way, no matter how small knowing and trusting that when it is my turn, help will come!
    christine alejandro recently posted…Nutrition Counseling DefinedMy Profile

  • This is great, practical advice. In addition to my own coach, because I believe we all need a coach, I have cultivated a short list of people to bounce ideas off of and start ideas flowing. With each of them it is a mutual exchange. Some of them do what I do, others something totally different. The diversity of the list allows me outstanding feedback. It is so true that we cannot see our own nose. Groups often don’t work for me either, Christine, but the list works great. One of them calls it my ‘phone-a-friend list’ and she is right!

  • This is very helpful as I sit down to write the sales copy for my new retreat today. It reminds me of a talk I heard by Stephen Shapiro I heard a few years ago, whose idea of brainstorming is much like what you did. He got us to talk about uses for a brick. That’s right, seemingly related to nothing. The things that came out of it were amazing because we weren’t trying to walk the same path in minds over and over. It opened up and whole new creative path because of starting with something totally unrelated.
    We all have an idea fountain, we just need to look in different places for it rather than expecting it show up in the same way and same place every day.

  • Yup, the idea fountain does run dry for all of us from time to time! What great suggestions and how true that we sometimes need someone from the outside to tease an idea out of us. Also, changing things up and thinking about something unrelated can release the creative flow again! So good to know. I sometimes find it helpful to go take a walk or to mop the floor (or whatever unrelated, mindless task) to help those creative juice flow again! Thanks for sharing!

  • Kim, what a wonderful post! I love the title of your class. I have so many ideas I don’t know what to do first. That’s part of my problem. Marketing isn’t my specialty so developing copy that works is difficult and I always find myself questioning what I come up with. I want it ‘perfect’ yet realize there is no such thing. It’s good enough for now…
    Tandy Elisala recently posted…5 Proven Tips to Manage DepressionMy Profile

  • Thanks for the suggestions, Kim. It certainly does happen to the best of us. Titles are so important, and tricky. Focusing on something else for awhile is a great idea. Otherwise we can end up just spinning our wheels and digging ourselves into a mindset trap. And it isn’t interesting how … at least for me … easy it is to write for others yet often challenging when it comes to your own stuff. I’m keeping this post handy!
    Elaine Wellman recently posted…How Getting Out of My Own Way Set Me FreeMy Profile

  • Ha! Yes, distraction can sometimes be used to our advantage. Stepping away and letting go of the bone we’re gnawing on frees our minds to go wander. What do I do when I’m stuck? I go wash dishes. I do something mindless and let things rattle around and they fall into place with a satisfying click all on their own.
    Deb Dorchak recently posted…What Would You Do If Facebook Went Poof?My Profile

  • Brainstorming is the bomb! Love it, my fountain usually overfloweth instead of running dry. Sucky ideas a-plenty, but a few good ones in there. But I love the idea of coming at it from a fresh angle, tricking your brain into free association rather than trying to develop something hard-hitting, or wonderful, or – dare I say it – PERFECT in the next 5 minutes. Inspiration takes time. Your two top strategies for finding inspiration are – well, frankly rather inspiring, so well done! I particularly love the bug-hunt story.
    Juliet recently posted…One small step for a leader, a giant leap for a lurker!My Profile