Three Types of Universes

Your Universe

Many of us who wish to write struggle with where to get ideas from. A diverse and extensive pool of ideas is essential to create a backlog for topics for future content as well as to make the content deeper and richer.

The first, immediate source of ideas is your universe. Anything you see, notice, think of, take a moment to explore, or just pause to admire is a potential raw material for your content. Sometimes it will be the seed of a vast topic. Sometimes, it will be an anecdote or a metaphor that spices up your content. All you have to do is be mindful and aware of these little treasures that can be used to form ideas that have value for your audience.

When you stumble upon something interesting, something that makes you think even for a brief minute, take note of it. Don’t evaluate it in real time. Record it for future processing. The more raw material you have in your bag, the richer and more diverse your content is.

Adjacent Universes

Your universe is vast, but it is not the only universe out there. Any interaction with people and subjects is a portal to an adjacent universe. Listening to and exploring these universes yields great opportunities to understand your ideas in different contexts and form new ideas.

Adjacent universes are just around the corner. We interact with such universes all the time, but often we quickly return to the safety of our familiar universe. Taking a step into these universes is an experience that usually ends with new insights. Sometimes these insights reinforce our ideas, and sometimes they change them radically. As we evolve, so is our content. Visiting adjacent universes is probably the best and most common trigger for evolution.

New Universes

By being mindful and actively exploring your universe and adjacent universes, you can form infinite ideas, examples, case studies, and metaphors. With these building blocks, the content you create becomes limitless. But there is another, farther source of idea: entirely new universes.

Adjacent universes are the ones you come across as part of your interactions and exploration of the world. New universes, in contrast, must be intentionally created — you must imagine them. Like anything else, they are built using the raw material you have at hand: whatever you have collected from your universe and adjacent universes. But to create a new universe, you must take this raw material and use it to imagine and build something different.

When you imagine and write about a new universe, you challenge yourself and your audience. It is the least trivial content to create and consume. But when done effectively, it allows you not just to communicate an abstract idea but to portray a vivid vision of an alternate reality.

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yellow spice version: 2022.05.0017

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