How is it that at the very moment you decide you are going to write something – like a blog post or an article or even a book – that your mind goes blank? It’s as if your brain is playing a little joke: “Oooh, she wants an idea, let’s hide them from her! Hee, hee!”
It’s good old blank page syndrome and there is no cure. Or is there? I have just committed myself to 365 days of blogging and my Well of Inspiration and Great Blogging Ideas appears to be dry. I’m looking but there are no zingy ideas popping up to meet me as I sit down to write this, my very first post in the series. This is not good.
The 365 Day Blogging Challenge
As a little aside, let me put you in the picture…I am embarking on the 365 days of blogging following a gentle challenge from small business coach Judith Morgan (www.judithmorgan.com) . I had an exploratory session with her yesterday and we agreed that along with a couple of other tasks, I would get blogging. That’s some exploratory session when you come away with a game plan!
So, in order to honour Judith’s commitment to me, I need to make this work and being a girl who likes a plan and a strategy, I am going to put one in place. I am determined to blog daily for a year and if I’m
You can’t just wait for inspiration to come alonggoing to do that, I need to crack this inspiration issue.
The truth is that I know that I can’t wait for inspiration to turn up before I begin writing. And I know that inspiration often turns up after the writing begins. However, I may not have time to free-write my way to inspiration every day, so I need to have a plan for getting ideas when none seem to be available.
- My first port of call for ideas is my email in-box. Yes, there is a purpose to all those emails after all. I get sent articles, newsletters and all sorts of interesting little snippets of information throughout the day so I’m going to start reading them (well, skim-reading them) to see if there are any little nuggets of gold waiting for me. When that happens, I am going to jot them down so when the time comes to write my blog I can use these little snippets to get my mind working.
- My next source is going to be the books I read. I read quite a lot, and I have lots of ideas when I read so that makes reading a perfect source of ideas. I can pick up on things that enlighten or simply entertain me. Easy.
- My third source of ideas is my own knowledge and expertise around publishing and writing. This is pretty extensive but I tend to find it difficult to remember what I know (more on this below). However, I already have a lot of material about publishing. I think of it as my off-cuts – the bits I write but decide not to use. I have quite a lot of off-cuts and they make perfect for blog posts because they are short and very focused.
Great sources of inspiration
Of course, there are lots of other sources of blog post ideas, too. When you get thinking, you’d be amazed at how many come up. Here are some more sources you might like to consider:
- The News (national, local, worldwide – it’s all a great source of stories and ideas)
- Life and what we learn from it
- Questions we get asked (by anyone from our kids to our clients)
- Sporting events
- Random thoughts (you need a notebook or recording device to capture these)
- Stuff you’ve already written that you’ve changed your mind about or want to add to
- Journalism (I find online magazines such as Entrepreneur and The Huffington Post a fabulous source of ideas)
- Feedback on stuff you’ve bought or used
- What you know
This list only scratches the surface. I’m sure your mind is already working and that you’re beginning to come up with your own ideas for where you might get some inspiration.
My advice is to get a notebook or other kind of recording instrument and start making a note of your ideas when they happen. That will give you a little library of ideas you can dip into when you are short on time or you need to write a lot of posts to cover a holiday or other commitment. You’ll be surprised by how many ideas you’ll have when you’re not trying to think of them.
Use what you know
If you know a lot about a specific subject, you need to find a way to access that knowledge. It isn’t always easy to do this but I have found asking yourself some questions about what you know gets your mind moving. Imagine meeting someone who is unfamiliar with your work or your field of expertise. Imagine what questions they would ask you about a specific topic you know about. For example, let’s take the task of editing. If I just jot down some simple questions, like these below, all sorts of bits of knowledge spring out. Who would have known?
- What is that?
- How do you do that?
- Who does it?
- Why do you need to do it like that?
- Are there other ways of doing it?
- When is the best time to do it?
- How can you do it faster?
- How much does it cost?
- Do I need that?
All you need to do is choose a topic and as many questions as you can come up with and you’ll have the perfect recipe for all the blog posts you could ever need.
I have never found blogging easy so the 365 days of blogging is truly going to be a challenge for me. I hope I can use my blogging to connect with my inner wisdom and share that with you. I will be using every single one of the inspiration-discovery strategies possible so I can write 365 great blog posts!
Keep reading and you’ll find out whether it works! Have fun finding your own hidden muse and enjoy the bounty she bestows on you. Happy writing.