Keeping fresh and creative is always key in creating great post ideas.
Here are 5 ways to generate ideas from both online and offline resources:
Finding inspiration from other blogs and sites can be a great way to kick-start your ideas into action. I don’t mean swiping ideas directly or plagiarising – far from it – just taking a post that you enjoyed enough to share or comment on, and deconstructing it a little.
Browse through your RSS reader or blogroll and find a post that sticks with you.
Why did you enjoy it? What made you want to read, to share, to comment on it?
Can you tease out the strands that make it work? Is it the tone? The subject? The approach? The imagery? Try to identify key factors that make this a post you love and look for as many ways as possible to extract ideas from this information.
1. Could you do a post that is inspired by, or based on this one, like a meme?
2. Could you argue the opposite, or show a different point of view?
3. Could you take a strand from this and convert it to a ‘numerical hook’ post (10 ways to xyz or the Top 3 xyz), or a visual diary?
4. Visual social platforms like Pinterest and Instagram are great resources for idea generation. Take some time to browse and dip in, even if for 15 minutes only, and see what inspires you. The randomly generated images cause your brain to think in a different way to usual, which can have an idea stimulating effect.
5. Stumble Upon is not only good for those all important stats, but brilliant for bringing you a randomly selected article. Make the most of it and see what comes along, can you generate an idea based on some stumbled posts? Make a point of stumbling in a subject area you don’t usually read, to broaden your information capture.
1. Switch off! Nothing produces ideas from a media-frazzled mind better than some time out.
2. Take yourself on an “artist’s date”; the concept of an artists’ date comes from the very wonderful Artists Way by Julia Cameron. The idea is this: find space for yourself for one hour and indulge your inner artist. Have some fun – take yourself for a mooch to an art gallery. Make a moodboard by cutting and sticking lovely images. People watch and sketch in a café. Go and shoot some pictures for an hour. Watch an old French film noire. Hire a punt and sit and read in it. Do something for yourself that is purely fun, non work-related, and your creativity will thank you for it. What can you take from this “real world” experience that applies to a blog post? It can be as non-literal as the colours used in a painting that clash make you think of the subject of clashing – who do you clash with? What clashes with you? Does a book have a lovely line in it that makes you visualise a scene? Can you pick apart how the mechanics of the writing do that? Does the scene inspire you in any way? Does a piece of music make you feel a certain way? How do you feel? Can you write about it?
3. Find yourself a random word. Ideally this works best with an object, but other words can work well too. Find your word by either sticking your finger into a book and seeing where it lands (old school method), or use this Random Word Generator online. Using your word, set a timer for just 15 minutes and begin to pick out characteristics of the object the word describes. See if you can tease out any ideas using the nature of the word.
So, if my word is “tree” I can note the following:
• a tree has branches
• a tree has leaves and bark, so two different textures and elements
• a tree has a life cycle and seasons, it is different at different times of the year ( unless it is evergreen of course!)
• A tree grows from a seed
Do any of these concepts bring an idea to mind?
4. Phone a friend – lone working can be so constrictive for creativity. Just taking some time to chat to someone you get on well with can work wonders. Have a Skype cuppa with a buddy and see where it takes you or, even better GO OUT! I know…this is the blogging world we are talking about, but the outside world is a friendly place. I promise!
5. Do something slightly different everyday. I call this #newdiva365, a little personal project I began to do something, anything different each and every day. It doeesn’t have to be anything terribly adventurous or mind blowing (but it can be); just simple left turns when you usually go right will make all the difference. Order a different coffee or wine than you usually do. Get off at a different bus or tube stop. Listen to a different podcast, radio station or album. Cook something new. Try this everyday and those brain cells will fire up with new thoughts and ideas.
Happy idea generating!
(PS: for more idea generation ideas check out my e-course here)