A lot of authors these days are putting a strong focus on their online platform—and why not? Social media and websites can be cheap or free to run, have an extensive reach, and help you find a community of individuals who share your interests—including, hopefully, your books. Of course, the cheaper a source is to run, the more work you’re expected to put in to running it yourself. Scrolling through your twitter feed or blog hopping might give you the idea that everyone else is enjoying an effortless outpouring of fantastic ideas, but in reality, maintaining an online platform can be a lot of work—and one of the most challenging aspects can be finding ideas for blog posts.
Today we have a few tips to help you keep the ideas flowing.
1) Pay attention to yourself when you’re talking.
Hey, someone has to! But in all seriousness, the topics that you’re passionate about are most likely to be found in your own conversations. Every time you express an idea or share an opinion with a work colleague, friend, or relative, you could be generating fodder for a blog post. Don’t let those conversations go to waste! If you have to, write down the main points (luckily if you’ve already established yourself as the eccentric writer type, your conversational colleague might take it in stride).
2) Pay attention to other bloggers.
There are sure to be some hot topics out there, and you should get in on those online debates! Be sure to link to other bloggers you’re gleaning inspiration from; don’t steal ideas, but add to the melee with your own thoughts on the topic.
3) Pay attention to your audience.
If you write for a demographic that you don’t belong to (for instance, young adults), you need to keep a finger on the pulse of their own issues. Talk to people who do belong to that demographic, and watch out for the issues that matter to them.
4) Don’t ever let your readers see you’re scraping the bottom of your creative barrel.
Have you ever read a blog post that started with “I didn’t know what to write, so…”? It doesn’t generally instill you with hope that the rest of the post will be worth reading, if the author couldn’t even think of something worth writing about. You may feel like you’re recycling your ideas or blabbering on, but that doesn’t mean your audience sees it that way. They’re reading you for a reason—and new comers are being directed to your blog for a reason. Let yourself be the writer your audience thinks you are: creative, confident, and effortlessly verbose.
5) Make a list.
Lists are fun and tend to be easy reading, since readers know exactly what they’re getting into when they click on it—which means it’s easy to generate a clickbait-worthy title for your listy post as well. Top 10 Book Endings (spoiler alert!), 5 things every writer should avoid, 6 Bible characters you wish you knew…number it and get going!
6) Use a writing prompt.
Try pulling out a writing prompt, trying your hand at it, and share the results on your blog. Encourage your readers to get in on the action and compare notes. It doesn’t have to be amazing. If it isn’t fantastic, you can talk a bit about why it’s not fantastic (we have a writing prompt every other Friday, in case you’re looking for new material).
7) When all else fails, try blogging a:
b. Anecdote from your childhood
c. Excerpt from your latest story
Of course, if you’re hosting a literary blog, you’re likely to be able to work in some justification for including any of the above. But that doesn’t mean this advice is exclusive to specifically writing blogs. You host a food blog? Perfect. Write a devotion that’s food for the soul, an anecdote about the first time you ever tried cooking a meal, or pull out that excerpt of your manuscript where your heroine bakes a cake (Anne of Green Gables will approve—or at least, Diana Barry will).
Have your own tips for blog post generating? Share it in the comments section!
Amy Groening is a project manager at Word Alive Press. She is a passionate storyteller with experience in blogging, newspaper reportage, and creative writing. She holds an Honours degree in English Literature and is happy to be working in an industry where she can see other writers’ dreams come to life. She enjoys many creative pursuits, including sewing, sculpture and painting, and spends an embarrassingly large amount of time at home taking photos of her cat committing random acts of feline crime.