Coming up with new blog ideas can be difficult. We long to write something profound but, we just don’t know what on earth to write about.
You’re either one of two people.
- Those who find the writing part easy but spend most of their time trying to come up with new ideas to write about.
- Those who find the writing part difficult and laborsome but you’re full of great ideas that you’d just love to write about… when you get around to it.
If you’re reading this, then I assume you’re probably the first one. You love writing, enjoy putting a piece together fairly easily, however, you’re out of blog ideas or feel that you need inspiration.
I’d say that “we’ve all been there” which is true, however, “been” (past tense) is probably the wrong word because writer’s block or having difficulty coming up with blog ideas is not a one-off experience. It’s somewhere we’ll all end up again and again throughout our lives. It’s not simply a problem that, once you solve, you’re cured for life. Ideas and inspiration are often elusive, and it can be incredibly difficult to sustain a steady stream of ideas and even harder to conjure the inspiration and motivation to get the job done.
THE WRITERS MYTH
The myth is that writing is some creative, lofty and spiritual experience. Something where you’ve got to be feeling inspired to start. A craft that’s best done out of a charismatic attic in Paris overlooking the Moulon Rouge, from a room in an Italian village overlooking the Adriatic sea, or even in Starbucks so that other people can see you ‘writing’ of course.
The reality is that writing is a job and like any job you just need to get it done. I’m sure you may indeed get it done quicker if you’re writing from Paris or overlooking the ocean but, the truth is, it’s all about putting words on paper and getting through it.
When I first started writing, I always used to wait until I felt inspired. I longed for that feeling of creativity and a great idea… a moment when my inner muse awoke and inspiration poured from my brilliant mind down to my fingertips and onto the keyboard, creating a masterpiece. I didn’t write very much back then.
JUST START WRITING
What I’ve now realised is that sometimes the act of writing can itself bring about the motivation and inspiration. At times, all it takes it to start something, begin writing, and what you find is that the words start to flow and the inspiration builds as you start to structure a piece. I find it like exercise. At first, it can feel horrible, you feel heavy but, as you go on, you find your groove, the adrenaline pumps through you, and you get inspired to push yourself further.
It doesn’t have to be MOTIVATION -> INSPIRATION -> ACTION. It can also work in reverse.
This topic was covered brilliantly in a book I read recently called ‘The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck’ by Mark Manson. I highly recommend reading it to calibrate yourself on what exactly you should and should not be giving a fuck about in life and I’m sure this will lead to better writing!
Without a doubt, travel is by far the most inspiring activity. It thrusts you outside your comfort zone into to the foreign and unfamiliar. This has the beneficial effect of changing your perception to see the world objectively again. No longer are things the same old boring way they always are, now you’re suddenly surrounded by new stimuli, and everything seems fresh and exciting again. I always do the most writing when I’m travelling, usually sitting in a bar people watching.
I love Ted Talks. They get some of the most inspiring and successful people on that program and the amount of talks and topics available now is huge and diverse. Start with the ‘Top Talks‘ then search for specific topics you’re interested in. Hearing someone’s passionate point of view on an interesting topic really gets your mind working and generates ideas.
Ideas don’t just come from TED talks. I also find it inspiring to watch science and nature documentaries on channels like Discovery, National Geographic and more. I especially enjoy programs on the universe, physics or anything that makes us realise just how little we understand about the world. When I get into the mindset of understanding how insignificant I am and how incredible the universe is, my mind begins to tick over and think about all sorts of ideas and how they apply to life. One of my favourites at the moment is ‘Cosmos’ presented by Neil DeGrasse Tyson.
One of my favourite past times has to be people watching. Sitting in a bar somewhere on a busy street and observing people passing by. Just by seeing different types of characters we can begin to develop stories in our mind. Where are they from? What’s their background? What’s their story?
GO TO THE BEACH
Ok, so I know I said that you don’t have to be overlooking the ocean to be inspired. However, even scientists have now proven that being on the beach or by the ocean has a profound positive psychological effect on us. It centres us, grounds us and makes us happy. It makes us feel small, and we feel wonder and awe at the beauty of nature and the sheer scale of the deep blue ocean. This has the effect of calming and clearing our minds which creates more room for original and creative thought.
Ok, this one may seem obvious. But, it is arguably the most important. Most of my ideas have come from reading. Now, what you read, depends on your genre. It depends on what topics you usually blog about. For me, I read non-fiction. I read a lot of books about psychology, human behaviour, motivation and self-help. Typically, I find that I come up with ideas as I’m reading something. Someone else’s thoughts or arguments on a topic will get me thinking about something and that usually gives me an original idea. The key here is to write down your idea as soon as it happens. Don’t keep reading and assume you’ll remember your idea at the end because you won’t!
Everyone’s different and different things inspire different people. For me, these activities get my brain lubricated and usually result in rapid fingers on keyboards at some point, generating new blog ideas.
When in doubt, just start writing and trust that inspiration will follow. Good luck and happy writing!
Do you have your own tips about where to get blog ideas from? Share them with us in the comments below.