Do you ever sit down to create a blog post … and spend ages trying to decide what to write?
One solution is to write when you’re inspired. But sometimes, days might go by without an idea coming to mind and yet you want to keep up a steady flow of content on your blog.
There’s an easy fix: instead of waiting for those ideas to come to you, go after them:
Image from Flickr by Phillie Casablanca
#1: Make Time for Idea Generation
It’s easy to make the mistake of rushing the idea stage because you want to get on with writing (I know I’ve been guilty of this far more times than I’d like!)
So your ideas get the time they deserve, block out 20 or 30 minutes on your calendar once a week. When it comes to idea-generation time, set a timer (like Tick Tock Timer or Tomato Timer if you’re into the Pomodoro technique) and that way, you’re less likely to get distracted by Facebook part way through.
#2: Have an Easy Place to Store Ideas
Are your ideas usually jotted on Post It notes, scraps of paper, the backs of envelopes, old business cards, or whatever’s to hand? That’s OK once in a while … but you really want a more secure long-term solution for storing your ideas.
Your idea store could be almost anything that works for you: over the years, I’ve used physical notebooks, Word documents on my computer, spreadsheets on Google docs, and The Journal (which is where I record my daily to-do lists and any meetings and appointments).
#3: Learn From the Best
One easy source of great ideas (and, often, ready-made titles) is your inbox or RSS reader. It’s a safe bet that the blogs that you read daily are interesting and engaging and and their post titles might spark an idea for you.
Here’s an easy exercise:
- Head to the Daily Blog Tips site (if you’re reading this as an email or in your RSS reader).
- Look at the list of Popular Articles in the right-hand sidebar.
- Choose one of these and switch a few words to turn it into a title for your own site: for instance, for a hobby blogger, “28 Ways to Make Money with Your Website” could become “25 Ways to Make Money from Your Crafts.”
(If you give this a go, let us know what you come up with in the comments!)
#4: Don’t Judge Your Ideas
When you’re coming up with ideas, the key thing is to jot down as many as you can, without worrying about whether or not they’re any good.
Sure, some of your ideas will be ones that just won’t work, or that have been overdone and but these can often start a train of thought that leads you to much better ones. Don’t waste time editing or deleting them, just keep moving forward and getting more and more ideas down.
#5: Use Past Posts for Inspiration
Still stuck? Maybe it seems like you’ve already written about every idea you’ll ever have. Don’t despair: instead, turn to your archives and uncover some hidden ideas.
Let’s say you write about web design and last month, your post on “The 10 Worst Blog Logo Designs EVER” got a rush of traffic. How could you build on this post? Maybe you could write “What Logo Designers Often Get Wrong … and How You Can Get it Right.”
If your idea well is running dry, make sure you set aside time as soon as possible to refill it. If you’re struggling, pop a comment below and let us know how we can help!