I finally decided on a regular blog schedule back in September or October. This was a biggish step, because it means I have to work harder to stay on top of writing blog posts. It also means I’m writing a lot more. Writing more is proven to get your juices flowing — every single writer I follow touts writing every day as the best way to stay focused and get new ideas. Sometimes this is true for me. A lot of times I find myself with two or three ideas I really want to write about, which is good since I try to write and schedule several posts at once. But then there are those days (cough…like today) where I don’t have a ton of ideas and end up putting a post together the day of. (Not recommended.) So here’s what I do when that happens.
- Keep a running list of topics. I think of random blog topics all the time. Sometimes it’s just a shadow of an idea, and sometimes it’s fully formed with two or three points I know I want to make. I keep them all on a list on my phone, and usually scroll through it for inspiration every time I sit down to write. This post idea has been on my list for awhile, and today’s situation is definitely a perfect day to use it.
- I scroll through Twitter. I don’t write about current events a whole lot, but when I do there’s a good chance my thoughts stem from a news article I saw on Twitter. I also follow several authors, bloggers, and celebrities there too, so sometimes their tweets will give me an idea for a related post. (I’ve found that, for me, other social media is not so good for post ideas.)
- WordPress’s post prompts and blogging courses. The employees at WordPress know that we all struggle with post ideas, and that’s why we have the Daily Post. I’m not a huge fan of the daily one word prompts, but there are also weekly challenges and other prompts specifically for bloggers to look through when they have writer’s block. WordPress also hosts free blogging courses a few times a year, several of which I’ve participated in before. A couple times, I signed up knowing I wouldn’t be able to actively participate, but I can still go back through the lessons and challenges for even more inspiration now.
- Take a break and talk with friends. A lot of my post ideas come from conversations I’ve had with friends over coffee, or with my family while I’ve been home over the holidays. While online content is great for inspiration, I tend to subconsciously curate stuff I know I agree with. You can’t do that with actual people. Many of my more thoughtful discussion posts have stemmed from real-life conversations.
- I don’t post if I don’t have a pretty good idea. I know technically this isn’t a way to come up with ideas. But there have been a couple times where I’ve wanted something on my site so bad that I’ve posted something completely worthless. While I will try to push myself and get good posts up on time, I’d rather skip a day than post something subpar. Quality over quantity, people!
If you have a different way of coming up with ideas, feel free to share!