He’s right. Successful bloggers are always watching and listening—on the lookout for new ideas.
And the more you listen, the more you seem to find.
In fact, some bloggers have so many that they don’t know what to do with them. They collect them and put them in jars. And if they wilt and die? No worry, because there are a lot more where those came from.
Some people even sell their extra blog post ideas.
Not me. Used to be that every time I sat down to write a post, I would look at the screen and tell myself, “Okay. I used my last good idea in Tuesday’s post. I have no more left.”
After agonizing over each word, I would finally edit and hit “publish”.
And I would say, “All right. I came up with this one good idea, but I’ll never think of another one.”
And so it would go.
It was painful—not much fun and too much pressure. Until I realized one small thing.
Ideas are everywhere.
The tricky part is paying attention to them, because they don’t always smack you on the side of the head.
Now, in every interaction, in every mundane, everyday experience, I ask myself: is there a blog post in this?
8 Ways to Collect Enough Blog Post Ideas for the Next 100 Years
A while back, our own Danny Brown gave you 25 excellent tips for using the Web to find things to write about. I can’t top that post, but I can offer here a few ways you can take inspiration from everyday life to find unique blog post ideas.
And you may be surprised. Sometimes the posts that spring from personal experience and your everyday activities are the ones that will appeal most to your readers.
1. Turn the camera on yourself in everyday life.
At the bank, or the grocery store, or the hair salon, watch and listen as if you are holding a camera and recording what’s going on.
Earlier on in my blogging journey, I got an idea for a post on what good customer service is by simply stopping by a local grocery store for a box of cereal and a jar of marinara sauce.
2. Watch and listen during uncommon experiences.
I live on an island. Two winters ago, the underwater cable that brought power from the mainland broke. It took 6 weeks to repair and we lived on generators all that time.
As we pulled together and formed a circle of support, it occurred to me how much we islanders were functioning like a well-built online community. And there was my blog post: The Island Guide to Social Media: 5 Ways to Build Your Online Community.
3. Identify the activities and times of day when your ideas show up.
If you pay attention, you’ll learn when your best ideas come to you. Maybe it’s in the shower. Or driving. Or cleaning the sink. For me, it’s in those moments of semi-consciousness, just before sleep hits.
(I know, that really sucks. I keep a notebook on the nightstand.)
Get ready to capture those ideas—with a recording device, pen and paper, or something else. Because those Boys in the Basement, as Stephen King calls your most creative ideas, don’t stick around long.
Free, stream-of- consciousness (uncensored) writing brings me some of my most unique ideas. Try it for 15 minutes a day and see what happens.
Reading is a catalyst for new ideas. It almost doesn’t matter what you read. I read everything from 19th century classics and true crime to memoirs and children’s books. I can’t explain why it works. It just does.
During a time when I was reading a lot of Dr. Seuss, I came up with a post idea that became 7 Things Dr. Seuss Taught Me About Fearless Blogging.
They say that when you teach something to someone else, you find out how much you know (and don’t know) about it. You will also get many ideas for new posts.
I teach free blogging workshops at least once a month for that very reason. It keeps me on my toes and in touch with my readers’ needs. Many organizations—Chambers of Commerce, networking groups, etc.— are looking for teachers and speakers. Try it and see what happens.
7. Mine your family for good ideas.
Sometimes I think back on experiences raising my daughter to see if they can apply in story form to drive a point home in a post (often with humor because, well, it’s my family).
Don’t overlook your own family as a source of rich material for blog posts, as in this one I wrote on finding time to write.
8. And, finally, step up your blogging.
Like Steinbeck’s rabbits, the more you blog, the more those cool new ideas will appear. It’s as if it wakes your brain up and pretty soon, you won’t know what to do with all of them.
If you blog once a week, try two. If you blog twice a week, step it up to three. You will almost certainly notice that those unique ideas for posts will pop into your brain more often.
What about you?
When do you get your best ideas?
Has an everyday experience ever inspired an amazing blog post?