Finding Something to Write About

Bulb – Trish

All discussion is the prequel to inference…

One of the biggest challenges that arrive with having a blog is finding meaningful content to write about. Previously, I wrote a short post that contained a timeline of potential blog post titles and in the time that it took to write it, about an hour and a half, I came up with many ideas. Some may flesh out and gain life on this blog, others may not, but it did provide a loaded springboard that could be used when the urge to write struck. In coming up with the ideas for the timeline I used two main questions; what do I want to learn more about and what am I interested in? Another possible question to ask yourself is; how can I help others? However, sometimes sitting in front of a screen is not the best method for extracting the creative juices. Many times I have sat down with  nothing more than a proverbial wall to smack my head against, get frustrated and give up, but there are ways around the problem of and idea drought.

To The CuckooRay Sadler

It is best to remember that ideas can occur at any time, and they usually occur when we are the least prepared, like driving or in the shower and so on. To capture these you need to have the tools at hand. If you are a dreamer have a pen and paper next to where you sleep; while driving have a voice recorder ready to go at all times; the shower is tricky, a water proof sharpie and write on the tiles? The point I’m getting at is you need to have some form of recording implement ready for when the muse slaps you on the back of the head and then darts back into her cave. Whatever your method, don’t rely on your memory as it will often not capture your passion when the idea first forms.

Other means of coming up with ideas include:

  • Reading the paper and highlighting particular stories that you feel you could comment on. This may take the form of criticism, comments, opinion or a more in depth look at a certain topic. Most newspapers are set out so that at least something on the page will appeal to the reader, skin through a select, then go back over it in more detail. Sometimes the smallest stories lead to a bigger one.
  • Facebook can be a gold mine for ideas. When someone makes a comment that is of particular interest to you instead of replying write your answer up as a blog post, but be sure to balance out you opinion so it doesn’t come across as too one sided. Recently I used this technique to write a story about saying ‘Happy Holidays’ at christmas. This is something I have strong ideas about and I didn’t wish to ‘unload’ at my mates on FB.
  • Twitter is another excellent source, probably more so than Facebook, for picking up blogging stems. Make sure you are following people that have similar interests and be ready to latch on to ideas and bust out that 140 characters into a sweet 1k blog post.
  • Study your interests and write about your experiences. I love reading YA (young adult genre) and I spend probably more than too much money on the procurement of books, but when it comes to finding a new author the world of the web can be some what lacking. Why wait for someone else to do it? Blogs are easy enough and the research is already being done when I go looking, why not help others that may be in a similar situation? The bonus is that I get something to blog about as well. Take your own hobby and explore it in more detail, you may be surprised what is out there.

One last resource is to have drafts ready that may be nothing more than a title and a brief description, something that can be built upon later. No one ever need to see drafts and you can add them or delete at anytime. It is a perfect tool to use when you have an idea but not enough time or research completed to fully flesh it out into a coherent post (currently I have seven stub drafts just waiting to get their wings).

I really hope this post has given you some new and interesting ways of finding ideas and subject to blog about, it was a part of a self learning exercise; if it any way helps others, then that’s awesome as well.

 

Using Categories and Tags in WordPress

It’s not the destination, but rather the experiences that we encounter…

A blog, or website is a location. It is one particular point on an ever expanding plane of information. How that information is navigated can be crucial. If the best and most powerful ideas are hidden in a maze of dead ends and false leads, or worse, trails of misinformation, will it ever be consumed and unpacked. It seems unlikely, after all the internet is not a rat maze leading to the juicy piece of cheese; most users get distracted on the way and start eating at the cardboard walls (we’ve all been sucked into the time vortex of YouTube). One way to solve the ever shrinking attention span of the user, is with the correct use of categories and tags. 

If a blog is thought of as a destination, then categories are the cities, towns and villages, and tags are the experiences that may be found.

A blog in itself can be as broad or as narrow themed as possible, and you may need many categories, or only a few, but that is all up to the writer. However if a blog becomes to broad it may be worthwhile to separate the content into different blogs, or countries to maintain the map analogy.

Let’s assume you are writing a blog about film, the categories could be the genres, such as animation, fantasy, action, and so on. The blog could be set up in such a way that the reader could navigate to the category that most interests them. A reader may only have one particular interest, such as science fiction, then they don’t want to be burdened by scrolling through other posts to look for content. Instead they would most likely see nothing of interest on the front page and bypass the blog all together as not being for them. One of the great things about categories is that they can be nested and a page can be placed in more than one, but overall it should fit into the general theme.

Tags operate in a different but equally important manner, they are used to find key words and ideas. In the film blog example, the name of a director could be a tag when the post is not purposefully about them; if it were, then it should be prudent to place the post under a director category. Tags are important especially if a user was researching a particular topic, it can help link pages that otherwise may not appear to be related. They are a second stage of sorting out blog posts and ideas. In the director example a reader may want to discover other works that they have made, in order to discover something new.

Categories and tags can be added to posts at any time. If you have already started a blog and if it is not too big then it is possible to start again and lay the ground work so your reader can divulge the content in a more user friendly way. It provides a mapping network and helps the reader focus their efforts and feel less lost in an unfamiliar territory.

The use of categories and tags can also be beneficial for the writer, as you may want to reflect on an older post or link back to a post or check to see what you have written about a certain topic before. There cant be something much more embarrassing and hurtful to your credibility than contradicting yourself in two separate posts. While it is true that over time a writer grows and develop and opinions may change it is best to be consistent in your writing. Doing this could potentially create a new post if you are stuck for something to write about, how had something changed your opinion. What a better way to show that you can be a trusted source, a learning writer is much better than one stuck on a treadmill.

For more information on how to change and set categories and tags:

NOTE: I haven’t exactly been following my own advice, but then we are all learning as we go…

 

Timeline of KAOSmedia Projects

Check it out! I used TimelineJS from KnightLab to create a list of all my KAOSmedia projects. Now calm down, I’m not saying I’ll do all of these; I’m certainly going to give it the good old college try!

Being an Aussie drone raised on US exports I actually have no idea what that means. Get drunk and stoned, but Daddy donates a wing so I graduate and then flash everyone at the ceremony? #80sFilmz