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.
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.