When I talk to people about starting a blog, they often state they don’t have anything to write about. They ask how I come up with ideas, especially when I’ve been blogging so long. As I approach my ninth anniversary of starting this blog, I feel like I have more to write about than I did after one year. I get stuck on writing sometimes, just like everyone else, but I’ve figured out ways to work through those blocks.
I have a long list of blog topics to help me when I’m in a rut. My ideas for posts come from several sources.
- Reading: I write about things I’m reading and learning about. When you read an interesting article and want to share and comment, that can be a blog post. If you’re struggling with a problem and learning new skills along the way, that can be great blog fodder–even if you don’t come up with a perfect solution.
- Online Discussions: When someone asks a good question in a forum (LinkedIn group discussions, eLearning Heroes, etc.), that shows interest in a topic. If you see several people commenting on a topic, that’s a sign people are interested in learning more.
- Questions: I get a lot of questions via email from blog readers and clients. When you explain something to a client or another ID (especially if that question has come up repeatedly), that’s a potential topic to write about.
Sometimes I save time by recycling content. If I take 15 minutes to write a good response in a forum or email, I’m probably 30-40% done with a blog post, maybe more. I usually rework it and flesh it out more on my blog, but it’s still faster than writing from scratch. In fact, part of the content for this post came from a question someone asked me on LinkedIn.
It also helps to sit down sometimes and just brainstorm topic ideas or potential post titles. Not all of those will become posts, but it’s another place to start when I’m feeling stuck. Series of posts like my four-post series on voice over scripts also give me momentum and a direction for writing.
This year, I created a posting schedule and planned to post every two weeks. I have a tentative plan for topics which helps me stay on track. I didn’t completely hold myself to that posting schedule, but it’s easier to sit down and write when I have an inkling what I’m writing about than looking at a blank screen.
If you have thought about starting a blog but weren’t sure what you’d write about, I recommend you just start writing. Every lifelong learner has something interesting to share.
Image Credit: Idea! by Cristian Carrara