Last week I created a open Q&A thread inviting questions from our readership (yes, that means YOU). Curiously although we did not receive any answer on our blog yet, we did receive a pertinent question on Facebook. The question submitted by Stephen Murton is “How do you find inspiration to write blog posts continuously?”
This question made me smile as even I have moments when I’m at a loss and unsure what to write about. Thankfully I always end up finding something. What’s the secret, you ask?
Well, there are two ways you can look at this question. The first is about writing blog posts continuously regardless of the quality of the content. The second is about writing blog posts which differ from what can be found on the web by being genuine. Now, my advice and answer:
Don’t write unless you have something new or relevant to say
This first advice may sound harsh but consider this: Do you want to become a blogger that only recycles content, a blogger that has no opinion of its own? If you answer yes to this question, then you need only paraphrase someone else’s already written opinion. Fill your blog with unoriginal posts about popular topics. You may get visitors from it but you will always be “one of those” blogs, the topic of no conversation. You will be on no one’s mind and you certainly will not be helping your readers by providing them only with microwaved articles.
If your answer was a no, however, I can tell you from experience that finding new things to talk about isn’t always easy, but it is a fun challenge. If you want to have a good blog, you will need to sit down and think of new ways to approach topics which may have been tackled before. Take the time you need (so long you don’t leave your blog to rot) to develop a unique perspective on a subject which inspires you. Even if your topic is, for example, something as widely known as Facebook, a theme that is a bit tired in my opinion, if you can bring something new or relevant to the table, do it, in your own style.
Why do you write in the first place?
“When I get ready to talk to people, I spend two thirds of the time thinking what they want to hear and one third thinking about what I want to say.” – Abraham Lincoln
Why did you start writing? And for whom do you write? It’s easy to lose your focus and with it your inspiration when you forget the purpose of your blog. When we started the Veodesign blog, we did it because we believed we had something to say. We wanted to share our knowledge about topics such as design, art, technology, web and freelancing with our clients, fellow designers and supporters. Keeping this in mind, whenever I write a new blog post, I set the intention of who I am writing for. In fact, I will not write the same if I am producing an article for a prospect or client than if I am addressing a freelancer or designer like me. I take into consideration that both groups want different things and that their level of knowledge varies. Some topics can be appreciated by both demographics and when that is the case, I do my best to express myself in a general way which will be understandable to all who read.
When you know who you are writing for, you can more easily find topics which may interest your target audience. If you write for gamers, you will most obviously address other gaming enthusiasts. Ask yourself: What do they want to read about? What can I write that will excite them and/or help them? Is there something they should know which I can blog about?
In your own voice and from your unique perspective, write for them about topics which will benefit them. If you are not sure, simply ask them. There’s no shame in asking for feedback. The results might even surprise you sometimes.
Write down your thoughts
You are in the middle of doing something important and suddenly a great idea for a new blog post pops up in your mind. But you are busy and you cannot write it now, how frustrating. Rings a bell?
When ideas come up, write them down. I use Wunderlist to manage my daily tasks and blog post ideas so whenever I think of a genial article, I simply access Wunderlist, add a tentative title with quick notes, and then immediately go back to what I was previously doing. It’s painless, it takes 30 seconds and you make sure idea will not be forgotten.
If you use this method, you will accumulate a fair list of articles and whenever you feel inspiration has left you, you will be able to access that list and write about those topics patiently waiting to be transformed into real articles.
There is no secret, only commitment
There is no real secret to finding inspiration. As a blogger, I try to be unique by providing opinions which are my own, I seek new ways to help my readers and I never let an idea slip by noting down my thoughts as they come. I now can only hope you will be inspired by this answer and find your mojo.
If you have any tricks of your own about finding inspiration to write, I invite you to share them in the comments. The more the merrier!