As I mentioned yesterday, I didn’t jump into this decision to commit to 365 days of blogging lightly. This has been my year for learning that a little bit of preparation can go a long way, and it’s something I’ll be applying to my 365 days of blogging self-challenge.
I spent as much time as I could tear away from my deadlines last month to gather together blog post ideas. The best part, I’ve discovered, is that collecting blog post ideas is actually a whole lot of fun. Plus I don’t feel as worried about finding something to write about as I thought I’d be. (Well, okay, this is only Day 2, but still … )
These are the main components of my blog post ideas stash:
Brainstormed List of Ideas in My Bullet Journal
I’m trying to work in a new daily ritual which involves regular periods of brainstorming. Most of the brainstorming I’m doing is for my writing, both fiction and non-fiction, but I also set aside some time to quickly jot down blog post ideas. I have a dedicated “collection” of blog post ideas in my Bullet Journal, and I’ve been quite amazed at how quickly the ideas come, even during those times when I sit down to brainstorm but feel like I really don’t have any ideas at all.
My Online Reading
I have fallen in love with Flipboard, and spend time on the app most mornings before I start my day. I’ve also been making an effort to read through my feeds in the Feedly app. I have such fun adding articles to the different Flipboard magazines I’ve created.
But sometimes while I’m reading, an article will spark a blog post idea, in which case I’ll jot the idea down in my Bullet Journal. Sometimes, though, I think I might want to discuss the article. When that happens, I send it to myself. I have Gmail set to automatically filter these emails to a To-Do folder. This folder currently contains all the to-dos that occur to me as I’m surfing online, so eventually I may create a new filter specifically for blog post ideas.
My Read and To-Read Lists
Since I’ve mainly blogged about books here, these two are easy and no-brainers. I add books to my to-read lists all the time – all it takes is some book blog hopping and guaranteed, I’ll add a handful of books to the TBR. It’s easy enough keeping track of these. While I’ve done it digitally before, right now I have a books collection in my Bullet Journal. I would like to link to the reviews that put the books on my to-read list to begin with, though, so I’ve been toying with the idea of creating a TBR magazine at Flipboard. (The Bookish Life is the one I curate about all things to do with reading in general, but curating a specific TBR one would be a lot of fun, too.)
I do have to develop a new habit when it comes to books I’ve read, though. If I don’t write something down about the book immediately, I have a much harder time coming back to it to write about it, usually because in between finishing it and writing about it, I’ve normally read a few other books in between. I’m not sure what kind of system I’ll try out, but it will probably involve my Bullet Journal. (Sometimes I think of my Bullet Journal as my brain on paper.)
Lists are always so easy to write, so I dedicated some time to searching online for list prompts. Most of the ones I found were for journals and art journals, and could be easily adapted to blog posts. If you’re interested in list prompts, this list of 101 List Prompts for Art Journaling is a good one, and can definitely be utilized for blogging, not just art journaling.
I intend to use these prompts when the well is feeling particularly dry, so I wanted to add a more playful, random element to the prompts.
The yellow file box on the right (I bought a three-pack a while back from IKEA), holds the prompts. The box on the left is where I keep the little slips of paper I use for writing out short stories for my Short Story of the Day box. These papers definitely come in handy. When I come across a great list prompt idea, I just grab a blank piece, jot down the prompt, then toss it into the prompt box.
I even went so far as to purchase a blogging course whose only focus is on coming up with blogging ideas. The reviews sounded great, and it was on sale, so I thought, why not? It couldn’t hurt. I haven’t had a chance to look at it yet, but I’m hopeful it will be another source of good ideas. I also signed up for a few free email and online-type courses, and some ideas may come from these, as well.
A Continuing System
It’s nice to have a wealth of blog post ideas at hand, but 365 days is a lot, and I certainly don’t have 365 ideas stashed away right now. So I’m developing a continuing system that will hopefully keep the ideas stash at an optimum level at all times. I’m already adding to my stash every day just through those To-do emails when I’m reading things online, and when I go book blog hopping, but I’ll also be making time for brainstorming more ideas, probably once a week, and making good use of the courses I signed up for.
What idea generation methods do you use to come up with blog post topics?