How I Come Up With Post Ideas

I finally decided on a regular blog schedule back in September or October. This was a biggish step, because it means I have to work harder to stay on top of writing blog posts. It also means I’m writing a lot more. Writing more is proven to get your juices flowing — every single writer I follow touts writing every day as the best way to stay focused and get new ideas. Sometimes this is true for me. A lot of times I find myself with two or three ideas I really want to write about, which is good since I try to write and schedule several posts at once. But then there are those days (cough…like today) where I don’t have a ton of ideas and end up putting a post together the day of. (Not recommended.) So here’s what I do when that happens. 

  1. Keep a running list of topics. I think of random blog topics all the time. Sometimes it’s just a shadow of an idea, and sometimes it’s fully formed with two or three points I know I want to make. I keep them all on a list on my phone, and usually scroll through it for inspiration every time I sit down to write.  This post idea has been on my list for awhile, and today’s situation is definitely a perfect day to use it. 
  2. I scroll through Twitter. I don’t write about current events a whole lot, but when I do there’s a good chance my thoughts stem from a news article I saw on Twitter. I also follow several authors, bloggers, and celebrities there too, so sometimes their tweets will give me an idea for a related post. (I’ve found that, for me, other social media is not so good for post ideas.)
  3. WordPress’s post prompts and blogging courses. The employees at WordPress know that we all struggle with post ideas, and that’s why we have the Daily Post. I’m not a huge fan of the daily one word prompts, but there are also weekly challenges and other prompts specifically for bloggers to look through when they have writer’s block. WordPress also hosts free blogging courses a few times a year, several of which I’ve participated in before. A couple times, I signed up knowing I wouldn’t be able to actively participate, but I can still go back through the lessons and challenges for even more inspiration now. 
  4. Take a break and talk with friends. A lot of my post ideas come from conversations I’ve had with friends over coffee, or with my family while I’ve been home over the holidays. While online content is great for inspiration, I tend to subconsciously curate stuff I know I agree with. You can’t do that with actual people. Many of my more thoughtful discussion posts have stemmed from real-life conversations. 
  5. I don’t post if I don’t have a pretty good idea. I know technically this isn’t a way to come up with ideas. But there have been a couple times where I’ve wanted something on my site so bad that I’ve posted something completely worthless. While I will try to push myself and get good posts up on time, I’d rather skip a day than post something subpar. Quality over quantity, people!

If you have a different way of coming up with ideas, feel free to share!

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9 thoughts on “How I Come Up With Post Ideas

  1. I have.. *checks Drafts folder* 769 post ideas at the moment, and I’m sure there are some I haven’t scribbled down yet. I have sooooo many ideas, but my problem is finding the time/energy/motivation to actually sit down and write about them! I’m either incredibly busy, or incredibly depressed and stressed with no ability to really focus long enough to write something coherent and interesting. Basically every time I get a new idea for a blog post, I create a new draft with a makeshift title telling me what the post will (probably) be about, and then I jot down a couple of quick notes in the body of the post to remind me of other points I want to discuss. Top ten lists, book reviews, random posts about my life, etc… it’s all there in my drafts! I’ve never ever had a problem with coming up with ideas, but sometimes I wish I do because it’s so easy to get overwhelmed by all the ideas I DO have, since I can’t seem to work through them fast enough! Some of those drafts are several years old and I still want to write those posts…

  2. I have to say I like some of these ideas and use them myself. Others can be distracting. As a writer, it’d be worse for me not to write or post anything than it would taking a stab in the dark. Even if the piece fails, I can say I tried. Social media can be a great hub for like minds and quick ideas, but if one isn’t careful, they could fall into a rabbit hole. Taking a break is a smart idea whether you have an idea or not just to keep your blood pumping and your mind spinning. WordPress does have some wonderful ways to get ideas such as the Daily Prompt and the Community Pool, so those are great as regulars or backups.
    Overall, you have a lovely post here that can be edited to add more ideas to keep them regenerating. When in doubt, just write!
    -Author S

  3. NWB – I found this interesting, thanks for writing about this. When my motivation to write is to post something, it never winds up being very good. My better posts always start with a topic nagging at me that I need to explore further. These introspective pieces are where I find my best writing (IMO). Luckily, if I ever enter a dry spell and want to get something posted, I have my prior blog to steal from.

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