When was the last time you got stuck on what to write about next?
Or (if you’re like me) stayed up until the wee hours of the morning with your fingers frozen on the keyboard because you’re supposed to have a blog post up in a matter of hours and you’ve got nothing?
This was me just a couple of weeks ago.
Well, I did end up with a post. In fact, the resulting post, Should Writers Blog About Writing?, turned out to be one of the most commented on and shared posts on the entire blog.
I also ended up generating a whole pile of awesome ideas for future blog posts.
Here’s what I did. The best part is that it only takes five to ten minutes.
0. Freaked out and ran around the room in circles because I had nothing important or unique to say.
1. Sat down again. I took a deep breath, and on the exhale, also released that annoying inner voice that always strikes down my ideas no matter what.
2. Asked myself: What should I blog about? (Or: what should I write about?)
3. For the next five minutes, I just wrote down WHATEVER idea popped into my head. It didn’t matter how wacky or stupid it sounded. I wrote it down.
(You never know when there’s a hidden gem inside your mind waiting to leap onto the paper or screen.)
I kept typing. Even if I had blogged about that topic before, I wrote it down. This especially worked when the flow of ideas would stop. My refusal to stop writing helped me break through an invisible barrier and get to those gems.
In about five minutes I had about fifteen ideas down. You can go as long as ten minutes or until you see a good-sized list.
4. I skimmed the list, immediately expanding on the juiciest ideas and writing down a few key phrases I didn’t want to forget. I also deleted a few ideas that were too vague or off topic. Others that showed potential I kept to work on later.
Don’t worry too much about an idea being too broad or specific. Broad ideas are great for a blog or novel series. Ideas that are really specific are great for short posts or short stories.
5. Picked the most exciting idea and starting working on the post.
Doing this exercise helped me find something unique and innovative to write about. I’m sure it can work for you too. What are you waiting for?
How’d this work for you? What methods do you use to spark ideas when you’re stuck?