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Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

OPINION: How to come up with your ideas and develop them

Makenzie Miller

Thinking, organizing and creating ideas into a congruent structure can be difficult to execute. Whether it’s outlining a 10,000-word paper for an English class or writing a thought-provoking and moving speech to give to the public, coming up with an idea for a professional project can be dreadful, draining and sometimes riddled with uncertainties. There are a multitude of ways to come up with ideas and develop them in full, though.

The first thing to consider: What is the main focus of the piece? Do you have a prompt to work with or do you have to come up with one? If it is the latter, I feel that the best way to come up with any sort of idea is to take a step away from the brainstorming and then come back to it later. That way, the mind has cleared itself of the stresses the project has already dumped on it. While keeping distance from the project, it is crucial to carry a pencil and pad to write anything down that comes to mind — it’s best not to type any ideas down because when they are handwritten, they are easier to remember and are more clear-cut. Even if the idea itself seems insignificant, it can be developed into something stronger by the time of production. 

During this mind-clearing time, you should take advantage of the break to seek new things out or engage in new experiences. This can be going on a study abroad trip, listening to new music, learning a new craft, trying a new food, etc. This way, new things can be explored that the creator never thought of touching on before. 

When it is time to return to the project, take all the ideas written down and look through them and choose the one (or multiple) that speak to the project and/or your passions. Next, with your idea in hand, you should ask: What direction should this project be taken in? How many things need to be thought of and executed until everything feels complete? How will you know if the project is finished or if things need to be added to it? 

This is where research will take the lead, which will help formulate ideas, directions, biases and more to help you steer your project.

From here, the last job is organization and presentation of your research. To tackle this, the facts, notions, and elements of the research content need to be analyzed to see how well it all works together, how certain things work with one another, and how individual ideas work on their own. For instance, if the main topic covers a series of events, it can be written in either chronological order or from least important to most important. Another example is highlighting the flavorful aspects of a topic and how they add to the specialty of it. The creator needs to review and re-review what the best organization will be to bring the most out of the topics.  

To develop ideas further, it is always crucial to receive someone’s opinion, whether it is during the brainstorming process or developing ideas. New eyes offer new angles

Even if there will only be one name on the final project, conceptualizing ideas and developing them shouldn’t be a lone wolf’s process. It is about creating something dynamic and encompassing. It adds the creator’s flair, perspective, and bias to the subjects they are covering. It not only shows how something can be taken in a new direction, but how well it is executed and how it can be perceived. 

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About the Contributors
Tyler Guthrie, Columnist
Tyler Guthrie is a second-year columnist with The Sunflower. He is a creative writing major with a Spanish minor from El Dorado, Kansas. Guthrie uses he/him pronouns.
Makenzie Miller, Illustrator/Designer
Makenzie Miller is an animation major and a first-year illustrator on The Sunflower. She is from Eureka, Kansas, and enjoys not only art but also cartoons, video games, softball, and literally any type of animal. She hopes to one day be a storyboarder/concept artist for an animation company.

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