One of the first challenges almost any writer faces is some sort of writer’s block. We start a blog or even writing a book full of enthusiasm but soon face the fear of not knowing what to write.
I’ve been there as well, and I know how much it sucks. The (digital) blank page and not knowing what to write about are the scariest things for any content creator. But good news: There are some quite easy ways to generate tons of writing ideas.
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I’ve been using these strategies since I first started writing around two years ago. In the meantime, I published a book of more than 400 pages and more than 300 blog posts on various platforms, so they definitely work well for me, and I’m convinced they can help any writer to get rid of the virtual blank paper and find joy in creating great stuff.
What do you talk about on a Saturday night?
Or: what could you literally talk about forever?
If you can talk about something for a long time, you can also write about it. And more importantly: If you’re often talking about something, the odds are big that you actually have something to say about that topic.
Simon Sinek once said the following:
“Working hard for something we don’t care about is called stress. Working hard for something we love is called passion.”
And I sincerely believe this quote particularly applies to writing. I hate writing about topics I’m not passionate about.
Sometimes, I have an idea that I think is great, and I start writing a post, but soon I realize that I actually don’t like the topic I’m writing about. In that case, you have two options: Keep fighting through the post, or ignoring the sunk cost and writing a new post that you’re more passionate about. In my experience, the latter is more effective and leads to better results.
What are you excited, angry, upset, or inspired about?
A good writer can actually turn any emotion into a written piece. You had a fight with your partner or a discussion on Facebook? Great! Turn your feelings into a valuable blog post that will help your readers to deal better with similar situations.
Share your emotions, be vulnerable, tell what you did wrong and how one can do it better.
You saw a quote that deeply inspired you, but you don’t know what to do with that spark of inspiration? Sit down and write. What’s the core of the epiphany you read? How can it help you live a better life? What lessons can you take from these words?
Which books do you read?
If you’re serious about writing, you can actually write about anything.
Summarizing key lessons of books you’ve read is a simple yet effective way to come up with writing ideas. Not only will you refresh your own mind by going over previously read books, but this process might lead to tons of new ideas. This is actually how some of my most popular pieces on Medium originated.
However, you can also write about the movies you watch, the products you use, podcasts you listen to, etc.
One of the most common mistakes new writers make is believing they need to write something nobody has ever written before. That’s cute and optimistic, but it’s not realistic.
Unless you do scientifically research, you’ll barely come up with ideas and knowledge nobody ever shared before you. But you know what? That’s absolutely okay. It’s actually excellent because nobody can write a piece the way you can.
We all made different experiences in life, we come from different backgrounds and cultures, we read different books, watch different movies, and experience different emotions. Every life is unique, and so is every piece you will ever write.
As Michael Thompson said in a fantastic post:
“Stop Trying to Reinvent the Wheel — Rotate It Instead.”
What’s something you find easy that others find difficult?
That’s an idea I grasped from Ayodeji Awosika some time ago, and I love it.
Whenever you’re trying to define a niche, come up with a USP, or with an idea for a blog post, ask yourself:
What’s something people ask me about frequently?
For example, people ask me about how to blog on Medium successfully, how to run a business with your partner without ruining your relationship, how to build self-love, or about book recommendations.
As a result, these are the topics I chose to write about.
Once you pay attention to the questions of those around you, you’ll realize that you have some unique skills and knowledge that others would love to learn more about.
As long as you have your reader and the benefit in mind, you can write about almost anything
I actually believe most new bloggers and writers worry too much about what to write. It would be way more effective to sit down and write a lot because that’s the best way to learn a) what you love writing about and b) what your readers enjoy.
If you want to take writing seriously and build some sort of career out of it, you’ll need to write a lot anyway, so why not start right away?
In fact, the most crucial writing lesson I learned over the past years is to always have your reader in mind. Most new writers (me included) make the mistake of writing about themselves.
Let’s be honest: We’re all a little egoistic and like talking about ourselves, but that’s not what anyone wants to read.
However, that doesn’t mean you can’t write about yourself. You can indeed do so, but make sure to still have your reader in mind, because when we see a new post, we all ask ourselves the same question:
What’s in it for me?
And if the headline doesn’t sound as if the post will deliver some sort of value, we will skip it.
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