Accidental Genius: Using Writing to Generate Your Best Ideas, Insight, and Content, Second Edition

  • 2h 27m
  • Mark Levy
  • Berrett-Koehler Publishers
  • 2010

When it comes to creating ideas, we hold ourselves back. That’s because inside each of us is an internal editor whose job is to forever polish our thoughts, so we sound smart and in control, and so that we fit into society. But what happens when we encounter problems where such conventional thinking fails us? How to get unstuck?

For Mark Levy, the answer is freewriting, a technique he’s used for years to solve all types of business problems, and generate ideas for books, articles and blog posts.

Freewriting is deceptively simple: Start writing as fast as you can, for as long as you can, about a subject you care deeply about, while ignoring the standard rules of grammar and spelling. Your internal editor won’t be able to keep up with your output, and will be temporarily shunted into the background. You’ll now be able to think more honestly and resourcefully than before, and will generate breakthrough ideas and solutions that you couldn’t have created any other way.

Levy shares six freewriting secrets designed to knock out your editor and let your genius run free. He also includes fifteen problem-solving and creativity-stimulating principles you can use if you need more firepower—seven of which are new to this edition—and stories of problems he and others have solved through freewriting.

Also new to this edition: an extensive section on how to refine your freewriting into something you can share with the world. Although Levy originally taught freewriting as a private brainstorming technique, over the years he and his clients have found that, with some tweaking, it’s a great way to generate content for books, articles, and other thought leadership pieces.

About the Author

Mark Levy is the founder of the marketing strategy firm Levy Innovation ( Mark has written for the New York Times, has authored or co-created five books, and has taught writing at Rutgers University. He is also a magic illusion designer—his work has been performed off-Broadway, in Las Vegas, and on all the major television networks.

In this Book

  • Accidental Genius—Using Writing to Generate Your Best Ideas, Insight, and Content, Second Edition
  • Introduction—Your Mind Is Bigger Than You Think
  • Secret #1—Try Easy
  • Secret #2—Write Fast and Continuously
  • Secret #3—Work Against a Limit
  • Secret #4—Write the Way You Think
  • Secret #5—Go with the Thought
  • Secret #6—Redirect Your Attention
  • Idea as Product
  • Prompt Your Thinking
  • Open Up Words
  • Escape Your Own Intelligence
  • The Value in Disconnecting
  • Using Assumptions to Get Unstuck
  • Getting a Hundred Ideas Is Easier Than Getting One
  • Learn to Love Lying
  • Hold a Paper Conversation
  • Drop Your Mind on Paper
  • The Writing Marathon
  • Doubt Yourself
  • The Magic of Exact Writing
  • Extract Gold from a Business Book
  • You Are What You Focus On
  • Sharing Your Unfinished Thoughts
  • Help Others Do Their Best Thinking
  • Notice Stories Everywhere
  • Build an Inventory of Thoughts
  • Write Your Own Rules
  • The Fascination Method
  • Freewrite Your Way to Finished Prose
  • Notes


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