There comes a time in every writer’s career where he or she draws a total blank. Where inspiration is stopped dead in its tracks. Bloggers are not immune to this malady known as writer’s block, and in some ways we are more susceptible to it. The daily demands of cranking out new material make even the best blogger stay up late at night wondering if all the ideas spinning around in their head will one day simply dry up. Fear not! I have five proven ways to generate inspiration for articles. In fact, I used a couple of these to generate articles that appeared here on Frugal Dad just this past week.
Yahoo Has All the Answers
Well, not really. Yahoo does have a lot of questions, though. One of the best interactive features at the popular search portal is Yahoo!Answers. The idea is users sign up for a free Yahoo account and leave a question for other members. Those who submit questions review the answers and vote for the favorite. A point system was created to anoint power users, based on how many times they answered questions, and how many of those were voted as the “best answer.” How can Yahoo!Answers help you generate article ideas? By surfing the list of questions and answers related to your particular niche it is easy to see what people are interested to learn about. I recently saw a few questions asking about “credit card arbitrage.” People were curious to learn what it was, and if anyone was successful at it. It generated an article idea immediately and I was off to learn more about arbitrage myself.
Search Engine Query Results Are Your Friends
Most bloggers enjoy looking back through their site statistics to find out how people were referred to their site. I am no exception. It is often amusing to read the search terms people use to wind up at Frugal Dad. However, these logs are not just to be used for entertainment purposes. The real power from search engine query history is in helping us as writers determine what is popular at the moment, and what people are looking for on the internet. Armed with this knowledge we can begin to put together article ideas around those topics. This one recently worked for me as news of a possible economic stimulus package was being kicked around Washington. I started seeing some traffic on a tax related article with phrases like “is another tax rebate coming” and “will there be a 2008 economic stimulus package.” I quickly did some homework and published my own tax rebate story.
What Are Other People Writing About?
One of the greatest pages on any blog is the archives. Here you will find hundreds (sometimes thousands) of previously published articles on topics related to your niche. Look back at the previous month’s work – anything you could expand on? Anything you agree with or disagree with? Be sure to link back to their article and do your own homework, don’t just rip off their ideas. This technique also works well for your own blog. Look back at your own archives page for topics you could expand on, or plans you could update for your readers.
Listen to Talk Radio
Talk radio call-in shows can provide a ton of inspiration, particularly ones centered around your blog’s particular niche. I listen to The Dave Ramsey Show daily and frequently use a question from one his callers as the basis for an article. Even shows outside of your niche can generate ideas for peripheral topics. For instance, I was running an errand on Saturday morning and a local gardening show was on the radio. Someone called in to ask about square foot gardening. I had never heard of this concept, but was intrigued. I made a note to do some research when I got home. Weeks later, my How To Build a Square Foot Garden article is still by far the most popular article here at Frugal Dad.
Think Like a Blogger
Early in my writing career I read a great article at ProBlogger.net entitled “Learn to Think Like a Blogger.” The author wrote that one of the keys to coming up with ideas to write about was thinking like a blogger as you go about your every day life. When you start to think like a blogger you will find inspiration hits more and more frequently. One day I spotted some loose change in a parking lot and stopped to pick it up. A passerby made an interesting comment about my stopping to pick up money, and it motivated me to share the story with my readers.
Putting a combination of these tactics into practice on a regular basis may be the best preventive medicine available to avoid a case of writer’s block.