Tag Archives: Idea Machine

Visiting an elementary school as a visiting author and Idea-Mating to come up with more ideas.

I was invited to visit and share my writing at Potomac elementary in November.  Thank you to Beverly Blue for the invite.  I also got to share the day with AJ Cosmo and Verlyn Tariton.)

There I am at the top giving lessons in the gym. Thanks again to Potomac Elementary.

There I am at the top giving lessons in the gym. Thanks again to Potomac Elementary.

I met with students from Kindergarten to 6th grade.  I met with seven different groups.  If that’s sounds intimidating, just remember teachers do that everyday.


Instead of me just reading from Kevin and the Seven Lions, although I did that, I talked mostly about generating ideas for writing.

I shared a lesson that I do in my classes at the start of every year.  First, one side of the paper you write all the different things you love.  Be it football, baseball, ponies, pizza, cars, Disney, doesn’t matter just put it down.  Now you have a list of things things you can write about about.

But we’re not done yet.

On the other side of the paper write down things you hate, or don’t like.  The loathe side of the list.  Homework, brussel sprouts, tests, whatever, put it down.  Now you have more things you can write about.

This what I call my Love it-Loathe it List.  All of my students have one at the beginning of their writing journals.

Now we take it a step further.  Take one thing from the love side of the paper and one from the loathe side of the paper and combine them.  Pizza and brussel sprouts, Football and spiders, now all of a sudden you have a third or more things to write about.

Idea mating, two ideas coming together and making more ideas.

With the sixth grade group we came up with football playing turtles.  (For some reason, someone hated turtles.  Turtles.)  We discussed that with turtles you combine turtles, ninjas, mutants, and your teenage years, and suddenly you have Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  Idea mating at it’s finest.

I taught the kids there should never be a day when you say I have nothing to write.

Never. Ever.

I don’t allow it my class.  When it happens I refer my students back to the Love-Loathe it list.

There is always something to write about.


(For more ideas on creating ideas.  Check out Claudia Azula-Altucher’s book Becoming an Idea Machine.  See my review of that book here.)



Become an Idea Machine-by Claudia Azula Altucher (and why you should)

What is an idea machine?

I’d like to be one.  I need to have my life change drastically in some ways.

I have written before about the importance of combining and creating ideas.  But her work takes it to another level.

Claudia Azula Altucher has written a book to help people become an Idea Machine.  Her work is based on her husband’s, James, work in Choose Yourself.


The premise of being an Idea Machine is that you should need to be able to present ideas in any situation to help yourself and those around you.  When things get difficult, if you’re an Idea Machine, then your life doesn’t remain difficult for long.  There will always be solutions available to you.

Here is the basic idea.

Write down 10 ideas.

Easy. Right?

Do it everyday.

Write down at least 10 ideas a day around one theme.

It take time, but that is how it works.  I have been practicing it awhile and can testify to it working.

Claudia has written a very well organized book.  The first 90 days are idea themes for yourself.  The second 90 days are themes of ideas that you giveaway.  There is where the magic really begins when you are an idea machine.

Claudia suggests if you are new to practicing  writing down ideas that you follow the themes in order as she presents them.

Since I’ve been practicing this seriously for about a year.  So I went went through the book to see the different prompts she suggests.  One of my favorites she suggests is Ten Apps You’d Like to Use.

When I practiced with that one I realized I need an app combines Evernote and One-Note.  I use both.  I need that.  Seriously someone get on that.

I like her introduction to the second 90 themes.  Because after 90 days your brain is getting stronger with idea creation.  So now is the time to begin really sharing your ideas with others.

There is a lot value in her suggestions on how to share your ideas with others.  That is my current area work.  Sending out ideas to people in a cold email.  I’ve never done it.  I give ideas away easily when people ask for them, but sending them to people who didn’t ask for them.  Well, I’m not there yet.

There’s my theme for writing tomorrow.  “How to get over this fear of sending out ideas.”

The introduction written by her husband James alone is worth the price of the.  James details why ideas are the currency of the 21st century.

The currency of the 21st century.

I absolutely love that imagine.  Suddenly currency goes from something that is scarce, to something that you can create on a daily basis.  That changes everything.

I have regularly tried to write down ideas.  For years my primary side business was wedding videography and photography.  I regularly write down different packages to present to clients and different ways to get clients.  What James and Claudia’s work added for me was coming up with ideas EVERYDAY with different themes.  When you do that, it gets easier for you to create ideas.

Claudia and James both say that your life changes when you do this.  I can attest this.

For me in the year or so since I have really been practicing this, here are some examples of what has happened to me:

  • Published five paperbacks, and 7 no 8 Kindle books.
  • Read one of my books on my  schools morning announcements.  Who else gets such a captive audience?
  • Created an audio book for my first book
  • Hired to create websites for several colleagues and got paid to do it.
  • Gotten several photography  clients without advertising
  • Interviewed other indie-children’s writers on my blog.  Including several Google Hangouts and Skype interviews.
  • Grew my mailing list from one (me) to over a 100 in about 6 weeks.
  • Had one of my books hit #14 on the Amazon Kindle children’s list.  Literally sitting on the same screen as Harry Potter.  And right next New York Times Best-Seller Wonder. Seriously, what’s that about?  (See the post complete with screen shot.)

That’s just what happened to me.  Read Claudia’s book to see the value in doing this daily practice, and help you create joy in your life.

Also read her husband’s book. I hear it’s pretty good.  (Actually here is my review of his book.)


P.S. If you are interested in getting free short stories and my next book for free before it hits Amazon join my Insider’s List.  You will also be entered to receive signed copies of my paperbacks.  Winner will be announced on February 1.