When I tell people I write a blog daily, their feedback is often first along the lines of “you’re crazy” and then evolves to “how do you find topics?”
In a past life, I wanted to be a writer, but I never got very far due to constant struggles with writers’ block. The first few times I tried to do a “30 days of blogging” challenge, I found myself grasping for ideas on a daily basis.
For a time, I actually wrote throwaway articles just to meet my quota. They were filler pieces and, honestly, watered down the content of the rest of the site.
When I embarked on my goal to blog every day for a year, a friend pointed out this habit and questioned whether or not I could keep it up. Well, it’s day 54, and I’m still going strong!
Today, I wanted to share some tips for picking article topics when you’re otherwise faced with writers’ block.
1) Answer your email
If you’ve got a contact form on your site, you undoubtedly get the occasional “how do I do this?” question in your inbox. Rather than writing back immediately, draft an article answering the question instead – then respond to the email with a link to your site.
2) Watch the news
Just turn on the news (or open a browser) for 10 minutes and pick a topic that interests you. It could be an issue about which your passionate, or an issue about which you think there’s unnecessary coverage. Whichever direction you lean, you will likely have an opinion about what you see. Write it up.
3) Document common knowledge
You tomorrow will always curse you today for taking information for granted. Whether it’s how to configure Varnish on Ubuntu, create a paged layout in InDesign, or create a gap-free dovetail joint, you possess some knowledge today that you’ll want to recall tomorrow – but be unable to. Don’t write a tutorial for a stranger, write a tutorial today about something you know how to do that future you will be able to reference later.
4) Provide critical feedback
You use something every day – be it a car, a television, a computer, or a piece of software. Since you use it every day, you’ve likely got an opinion about pain points it fails to satisfy. You don’t necessarily need to know how to fix this deficiency, but you can certainly document it for someone else.
5) Lift up someone else
Rather than talk about your own work or ideas, talk about someone else’s. It could be a cool new idea they’ve posted about. It could be a new product they’ve recently shipped. It could be a feature on their character or inspiring individuality. Just pick someone who inspires you and explain to the world why.
What other tools would you use to combat daily writers’ block?