Blogversation 2012: How do you get ideas for blog posts?

Throughout this year, several bloggers will engage in a conversation here and on their blogs — asking questions of each other and responding. Others are absolutely welcome to join the conversation, as well. Learn more about the ladies of Blogversation 2012.

I’m a journalist by training so I feel like I’m always gathering stories ideas, whether I want to or not.

When a friend posts something on Facebook or I read something in an email newsletter or a magazine, it can all prompt ideas for blog posts.

What I’m not as good at is keeping hold of those ideas until I act on them. Since I’m blogging part time as a hobby, it’s not like I’m typically going to drop everything and write a post when I get inspired. So I try a variety of tricks, including:

  • Saving interesting web reading via Instapaper
  • Emailing myself if an article or website has an “email this” function, and putting “for my blog” in the subject line
  • Tearing out articles and stuffing them in a “to blog” folder

I also love doing interviews with people about their personal experiences of life transformation and living life intentionally. I get those ideas by talking to friends about their experiences, and through old-fashioned journalism, approaching people whose stories interest me. I have a wish list of some people I’d like to interview, and last year I sent a whole batch of hand written notes asking for interviews. None panned out, but I’m still hopeful.

How do you get your ideas for blog posts? What do you do when you’re stuck or just out of ideas?

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Categories: creativity

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5 replies

  1. I run. Went for one yesterday … must be why I feel so inspired today! 🙂

  2. Here’s how it goes over at Creative Times:

    1. I see an interesting person on tv, in a magazine, or in the newspaper and I think “I gotta meet this person!” So I ring them up and talk to them or to their people and see what I can do. This is how I got to meet design legend Eva Zeisel. I saw her on a tv show, then I learned she lived not too far away, and I called her. It can be nerve-wracking and also take persistance, but I always go forward based on the thought “Wouldn’t it be great if my readers and I got to know this person a bit better?”

    2. I skim lots of different publications – newspapers and magazines, mostly. I look at everything from Fast Company to Ebony to Travel&Leisure to Transworld Skateboarding to local newspapers from different New York neighborhoods. I keep my eyes peeled for interesting arts and cultural people, trends, venues, and launches.

    3. When I walk down the street, in a shop, in a museum, I am looking at everyone and everything. What’s interesting? What’s new? What’s been there a while already but now needs some attention?

  3. I feel much the same as Maria. I have always had more ideas rolling around in my head then I know what to do with. My biggest problem is that sometimes these ideas are disjointed and I must find a way to contain them long enough to get them in print.

    That isn’t to say that I’m not constantly reading. I’m fairly certain that some tidbit of information, a word or a phrase, or even a topic doesn’t go rolling through my head like the marble in a pinball machine – causing all sorts of bells and whistles to go off in my head. I had mentioned to Colleen that I sometimes feel a compulsion to write. For years I allowed these thoughts to muddle up my thinking and once I found an outlet for letting them out some of my sanity returned.

    Since you are asking for how one gets ideas – I have my own fallback technique. I take a few moments to really look at the world around me. I absorb the sounds, the sights, and the people that surround me. I find amusement in some of the simplest things – but that is mainly because I am looking for the inane and funny in this world. I write about what interests me – good and bad. I have tried to push myself to write on a daily basis but that isn’t always the best for either myself or my readers.

    Lastly, I use social media far more than is probably good for a person. However, it is through little comments or points of interest that my attention is directed and I am off and running.

    Speaking of which.. I now have an idea…

  4. I get more ideas for posts than I have the time and energy to write. And since I often get ideas when I’m showering or driving in the car — when it’s not convenient to write them down — I forget quite a few, too.

    I am always thinking, always processing, always connecting thoughts and dots. Maybe everyone does the same thing, but I, of course, think I am different and I take great pleasure in my mental gymnastics.

    When my ideas are tied to things a lot of people are or will be talking about, I try to write as quickly as possible, striking while the iron is hot and all that. Things move at such speed on the Internet that posts out of sync fall flat. For example, I got great response to a post I wrote furiously during last year’s Super Bowl, my quick, gut reaction to the Eminem/Chrysler ad. http://open.salon.com/blog/maria_stuart/2011/02/07/imported_from_detroit_ad_rocks_super_bowl. The post hit before conversation around it peaked and it got a lot of eyeballs.

    Had I posted the piece even a few hours later, I am not sure it would have fared as well.
    I don’t fish for ideas. I don’t mean to sound all New-Agey mystical, but I open myself up and let the ideas find me — and they always do. That’s not to say the ideas are always good or that I always handle them well. But they’re always there.

    Sometimes, I let the ideas stew a bit before I write. Sometimes I write and file; sometimes I write and post; and sometimes I don’t write at all.

    My favorite thing is when I get a great idea, start writing and then find myself writing about something else altogether. It’s like this big, cosmic surprise. The idea wasn’t what I was supposed to write about at all; the idea was instead a trigger, a mechanism of sorts to push my butt down a road I wasn’t considering. When this happens, almost always the piece I write delights me.

    Those are the days when I am sure there’s a literary angel watching over me.

Trackbacks

  1. Blogversation 2012: Some highlights so far « Newvine Growing — exploring evolution, revolution and living life intentionally

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