5 No-Fail Ways to Come Up with a Blog Topic

You probably noticed that I took last Friday off from posting. I didn't have any posts scheduled and with a huge surge in business that had me running like crazy, I was thisclose to taking today off too.

Then it hit me.

This is the time to post, not the time to take a break!

In the busiest of times when work is going great, all’s smooth on the pond, it could be tempting to stop marketing. But keeping up with your marketing and connections is more important than ever when you’re busiest.

Why? Because you’re able to share what you’re learning in real time advice.

Your current experiences are timely, personal and that much easier to write because you’re so connected to the material. There’s going to be a healthy dose of passion behind your words.

I’ve struggled with keeping balance between my two writing worlds – blogging and writing fiction. When I’m killing it in one it seems like I run out of inspiration or time for the other.

And what I usually end up leaving in the dust is the blog. Why? Because the book only has one plot. I have to come up with creative and fresh posts every time.

I wanted to make sure I kept blogging even if I was at a lack of inspiration.

What worked for me was asking myself these 5 sure fire questions to come up with a post even when I’m running on empty. See if they'll work for you:

1. What have I done in the past few days aside from writing?

Even those of us who work from home do something every day outside of work. That might be nothing more than running 100 loads of laundry, cleaning up the kitchen, having dinner with your family or watching a favorite television show.

All of those personal errands can become a post. You just have to be creative in how you think about them.

Running laundry? Write a post on why a clean and organized house helps you focus so you can write with ease. Watching a show or movie? Write a review from the point of view of a writer – talk about the script, what you did and didn’t like.

2. What are my friends, family and connections up to online?

When I’m in an uninspired mood I find myself drawn to the Facebook black hole of time suckage. But instead of using it to play Farmville, I use it to farm inspiration. Among the vast number of articles and graphics out there, sooner or later I’m bound to read something that prompts a response.

The response is what I write. Connection to your passion about the topic will put passion behind your words and readers will be able to relate.

3. What’s my favorite thing about being self-employed?

I hate being forced out of bed and feel that alarm clocks should be put on a boat, sent to a remote island and destroyed. And that’s the best benefit of self-employment to me – rising when I naturally feel like it.

Which leads-in to writing about any number of topics - time management, self-employment schedule benefits, self-employment benefits in general...

Even if you aren’t full-time self-employed this trick can work. Just think in reverse – what are the things you don’t love about your full-time job that you would change when you’re self-employed? Write it out!

4. What’s something you’ve always wanted to know about but never learned?

Research is one of the most important skills any writer can have. Yes, even above and beyond the ability to write! So when things aren’t flowing you can use those research skills to explore an entirely new topic and share what you learn.

I love keeping my finger on the pulse of the Green industry. New products, services or other eco-options that companies can use to be more environmentally responsible are things I love to write about in down times.

If you’re a B2B writer you might want to study a specific company, product or service and write a non-biased overview of it. Even a fiction writer might discover a new skill for character development and post about the specifics.

5. What’s going on in my writer community?

We all get pressed for time. After all, life happens in addition to all that business related stuff.  During times like that I ask myself if there’s anyone I can promote, talk about or suggest to the readers of my blog.

The other bloggers I read, the writers I love and the classes that helped me become a better writer are always things that could help someone else too.

Promoting them with a short post can be a great way to keep a consistent schedule on your blog, help others and give a shout to someone you respect. Win-win-win!

If you’re anything like me you’re going to experience times where your words don’t seem to flow and that’s okay. Just ask yourself a few questions about what’s going on in your life outside of work and it will open up your eyes to a whole slew of new blog post ideas.

Image Courtesy Stuart Miles on FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Sign up for my monthly newsletter here for more fiction and self-publishing tips. You'll get a copy of my eBook Does My Book Suck? - a self-publisher’s guide to finishing your book - free just for signing up!

Without Visualization there can be no Persuasion

I keep finding these terrific topics that seem to apply to both fiction writers and bloggers who freelance for income. That’s so cool when it happens because I feel like my two writing worlds are giving each other a big, cozy hug.

What came to me today might seem like it wouldn’t apply to both but it does indeed make a huge difference when writing either. What’s the topic?

Without visualization there can be no persuasion.

You might be asking – how do I persuade in fiction? What makes this device necessary when creating a world from your imagination?

Encouraging the reader to care about the characters will mean they want to stick around for the outcome, AKA, The End.

Encouragement = persuasion because that’s the part where you add the flowery details that make your narrative resonate. That’s the stuff they can envision so they get drawn into the story.

In fiction we persuade through many devices – sentence length, use of adjectives, scene, structure of the story, structure of the page layout, the things our characters do...

Bloggers might think they don't build imaginative worlds.

But don't they?

In blogging we persuade through many devices in the writing – sentence length, use of adjectives, scene, structure of the story, structure of the page layout, the things our characters do…

Wait, isn’t that the same thing I just said about fiction? Yup. Because it’s true for both.

For bloggers, persuasive language is the key to writing posts that are enjoyable to read but help convert the reader to take action.

At the end of the post most if not all successful Bloggers generally make a sales pitch or share some other call to action they want their readers to take.

To get that click, you might add a story about someone you know who was able to take advantage of the benefits of whatever it is your post is selling – services, product, subscribers, etc.

To tell a complete and compelling story means you’re encouraging a reader to stick with you to the end and, just like in fiction, encouragement = persuasion.

Readers will devour blogs or fiction when they have a hook

Something that teaches, inspires, shocks a reader. But most important, answers their questions.

Fiction writers can do this by unveiling a character trait in such a way the reader can visualize the scene in their mind.

For example, a little old lady next door who seems sweet and innocent for the first ten chapters is seen by a neighbor repeatedly slapping her wheelchair-bound husband in chapter eleven. Whoa!

As the writer it’s your job to detail answers to the reader’s questions through the remainder of the narrative and dialogue. The ones you know they’ll have like:

  • Why did she do that?
  • When did it start?
  • Is there more to their story as a couple?
  • Is she evil or is he evil?
  • Just how deep do their problems go?

You unveil as the story goes on, bit-by-bit, and the reader is hooked right up until that little old lady’s final breath.

Bloggers have a little less space to craft the hook that has a reader sticking around to the end. But it’s still our job to build that 800-2000 word world where a reader is shocked, gets inspired, or comes away with more knowledge than they had coming in (welcome to the party!).

Sometimes we use flowery prose that makes or breaks a reader’s feelings about a particular product, service, etc. Plus, the piece needs to be organized well, flow with ease and have a particular voice.

When you write a blog the headline should be the shock factor – it’s the little old lady slapping her husband, and your reader is the husband. Through the rest of the piece share personal stories, quotes, shocking revelations you discovered in your research. All things that keep readers reading!

You structure the piece to answer one last question and then – boom! – right at the end you reveal the answer and wrap up the post quickly so your reader can comment and share.

Whether a reader longs to be whisked away into an imaginary world or learn how to make more money online, fiction writers and bloggers can use persuasion to send a reader wherever they want them to be.

Image courtesy Stuart Miles on freedigitalphotos.net

Sign up for my monthly newsletter here for more fiction and self-publishing tips. You'll get a copy of my eBook Does My Book Suck? - a self-publisher’s guide to finishing your book - free just for signing up!