10+ Sure-Fire Ways to Find Blog Post Ideas

Are you ever stuck for what to write?
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I frequently am—until, of course, I start working on something else, like that novel, or a big medical writing project that due the next day. Something about facing a bigger, tougher piece of work makes blogging ideas flow like the Colorado River.

But that’s not the recommended strategy for coming up with blog post topics.

In fact, skipping from one project to another is an ineffective use of time. Plus it bears a remarkable resemblance to procrastination. So how do you come up with fresh content for a blog you’ve been writing for more than a week, a month, or a year? Read on for ideas….

Ten Sure-Fire Ways to Find Blog Post Ideas

  1. Read: other blogs, craft magazines, industry news can inspire you to share your thoughts on a topic, or point your readers to a great read. (Example: Strategies for Keeping Up Momentum When You Don’t Have Time to Write)
  2. Visit social media sites such as StumbleUpon and Digg to find interesting content to share with your readers. (Example: Handwriting Online?)
  3. Discuss current events: an awareness of what’s happening in your industry (or in the world) can inspire posts on current topics. (Example: Bad Boys—Girls Really Do Like Them Best)
  4. Address readers’ comments and questions: Are readers commenting on your posts? Show you care and continue the conversation! (Example: Do You Take Yourself Seriously?)
  5. Poll readers to learn interests, struggles, and questions. (I haven’t done this one in a while—obviously, it’s time!)
  6. Share an experience: Stories are a terrific way to introduce a topic or illustrate a point. What ideas do your recent experiences inspire? (Examples: Reasons to Love Writing: Manatees!, Society of Environmental Journalists Conference 2010: What Children’s Writers Can Learn From Journalists)
  7. Review a book that would interest your readers. (Examples: Why Stress Hurts Performance, How to Change: Love What You Hate)
  8. Identify a product that might help your readers. (Example: Fave iPad Apps for Writers)
  9. List resources that your readers will appreciate. (Example: 25 Inspiration Sources for the Discouraged Writer)
  10. Exercise: a long walk or run is a terrific way to let your subconscious chew on a problem. Be sure to 1) have a specific question or idea in mind when you begin, and 2) bring along a recording device (pen and notebook, index cards a la Anne Lamott, or voice recorder.) (Example: How To Change: Love What You Hate)
And from my great commenting peeps:
  1. Critique a manuscript: mooderino shares this great method for finding new perspectives to investigate
  2. Take a shower: Patrick Ross suggests “Listen to what your mind is telling you in the shower. I find that time of my morning–when I’m freed from conversation and my smart phone–is when my subconscious can finally reach me with whatever is literally “on my mind.” “

What about you? Where do you come up with ideas?

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In case you missed it, I’ve been writing about how writers can collaborate with others (writers, readers, spouses, fans) to supercharge their creative process. You can read previous posts here and here. If you’re working with other people, coordination is key   e_monk, Flickr There’s no question about it: collaboration has its downsides. It’s tough […]

Comments

  1. says

    Most of my ideas about writing come from critiques I do for other people. Approaches to writing vary so greatly there’s always a new perspective to investigate.

    mood

    • says

      Interesting–I hadn’t thought of this and it’s a terrific way to view topics from different perspectives. I’ll add it to the list!

  2. says

    I love your lists, Cheryl! THere are some good ideas here, with #1, Read, being perhaps the best of the list.

    I’d add a #11 that seems true for me: Listen to what your mind is telling you in the shower. I find that time of my morning–when I’m freed from conversation and my smart phone–is when my subconscious can finally reach me with whatever is literally “on my mind.” Sometimes it’s a good topic for a blog post, as often others have been pondering the same topic.

    • says

      Hi Patrick–That’s another great one. I’m feeling a bit of synchronicity, too: I learned yesterday that flowing water often symbolizes creativity and inspiration. Perhaps immersion in water triggers some deep part of one’s mind to be more creative.

  3. says

    I know this isn’t very helpful, but I’ve recently gone from blogging twice a week to three times a week because I couldn’t fit everything in I wanted to say and still keep my music posts. It probably won’t last, but I’m enjoying the flow while it does :-)

    • says

      I wonder if the creative flow arrives because you’re placing a *limit* on it. The muse can be contrary that way :)

  4. says

    Going for a walk is my saviour. And you’re right about walking out with a question in mind. I find after a brisk thirty minutes or so I usually have some answers.

    I tend to take some music out with me and find this really helps. ;-)

    • says

      Hi Maria! Do you use music with words or without? I’ve found that if I listen to music with words–which helps me to run–then I don’t do as much thinking. Music without words helps me, though.

  5. PrudenceLee says

    Reading some comments of the critics can give you more ideas on how to write a very effective blog. This 10 helpful ways really means a lot. Thanks for sharing it.

  6. says

    This is a great list. I haven’t tried polling readers yet, but it’s something I’ve been thinking about. Could be interesting to try it out!

    I’ve found that sometimes scrolling through my archives to see what I have and haven’t covered sometimes helps me come up with new blogging ideas. Aside from that, reading, as you mentioned, can be great for inspiration as well as answering blog in more detail.

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