Searching for inspiration

There is a problem that I assume plagues more writers than just myself. The lack of things about which to write.

As a blogger I maintain multiple blogs online, or at least I attempt to, and it can be difficult at times to find the ideas on which to build a piece of writing for them all. Even the ones that have a defined topic can prove difficult at times to write anything simply because the ideas are not there for what could be written on that subject.

It is a problem for which I must find a solution if I am going to continue to call myself a writer of any kind, and so, with that in mind, I offer up my ideas for idea generation on any topic at any time and invite my readers to share their own methods in comments or link-backs.

Ideas on demand

Suppose you need to write a brief article on a set subject matter. Since I am a blogger we will go with a blog post. This post will need to certain criteria if you want it to be read, and that is the goal of writing blog posts, is to have them read. So, it must:

  • Be brief. The Internet is filled with short attention spans and with smaller internet ready devices comes a smaller attention span. People want to be told what they need to know as succinctly as possible. Anything over 500 words is too long, but be wary of having posts that look more like a Twitter post than a blog post.
  • Look around. Writers come up with ideas form a wide range of sources. Local newspapers might have items of interest to  wider audience, or might spark ideas for a article that would. Perhaps the headline of the local newspaper is about a shooting that occurred in a local neighborhood? Articles could be created that deal with the rise of violence in small towns, the need for a home security system even in rural areas,. the response time of police in some areas. Each of these will mean some level of research that might spark more ideas.
  • Research. No matter what idea you have selected, you need to do some level of research on it. Visit a search engine and run a search on the narrowest definition of your idea you can distill it down to. If you want to know more about birds in your area, try a search for "birds city state" For specific birds replace the 'birds' with the species that interests you. For example "Hummingbirds mycity mystate"
  • Ideas from nothing. It is all well and good to say grab and idea and research it, but I know all too well that sometimes, even when you have topics, you can fail at generating an ides. You need something to spark an idea when there is no spark and your kindling is wet driftwood. 
    • Start with a verb. Anything that comes to mind. The pen on your desk, a coffee mug, anything you can ask questions about and find answers to those questions.
    • Ask yourself:
      • What is that?
      • Where did it come from?
      • Why is it here?
      • What use does it serve?
      • How could it be made better?
      • Is there anything new and improved out that is worth telling people about?
    •  Once you have a question that you find interesting enough you want to know the answer to it, start researching to find the answer.
    • If you are interested, then odds someone else will be as well. Take your question and the answer you found for it and write an article that asks the question, then answers it. Add in some details about the item and maybe a prod to your reader to coax them to ask even more questions, just be certain you fully answer the question you posed that they read your article for
 By the time you have fully answered whatever question you asked, you should have a blog post worth of material, probably more than a blog post worth.