I just finished reading Ayn Rand's The Art of Nonfiction for the second time this year. Although I don't have time to review it, I do have time to share some advice that Ayn Rand gives on the subject of acquiring ideas for writing:
Like everything else in the mind that seems automatic, this process must be started consciously. Once you condition your subconscious properly, it throws you ideas unexpectedly. It may feel as if the ideas come to you spontaneously, but to mention once again that good line from How to Think Creatively: accidents happen only to those who deserve them. So give yourself this standing order: "I am interested in certain subjects, and I am on the lookout for any relevant event, trend, statement, or theory--which I then want to understand and evaluate." Do this, and you will condition your mind in a truly productive way.
The abundance of such useful tips make The Art of Nonfiction one of my favorite books on writing. Have you read it yet? What is a useful tip you've discovered in its pages? Feel free to leave a comment below.