Ten ideas to kick-start your writing

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Ten ideas to kick-start your article writing

Have you ever been sitting at the computer, raring to go, and suddenly you have no idea what to write about? If you write online articles, then the chances are that you have.

But there are hundreds of ideas out there and many of them are all around you.

Here are a few ideas to kick-start your writing work. The next time you think that your mind has gone blank, then call back to this page and find inspiration.

And if you have any great ideas for prompting writing ideas, please share them in the comments section below.

 

1

Have you read a good book lately? Of course you have. Obviously you could review that book and it’s a great idea to share your thoughts.But there’s more to it than that. I find that most books can give me plenty of ideas. Is there a funny story from a celebrity autobiography? Doesn’t that Sherlock Holmes story inspire you to write 400 words about how different policing was in times gone by?

Maybe you’re reading a book about home decor. Don’t just review it, make it into several articles (tips for the bedroom, for the bathroom, for the dining room etc.) Does the book have interesting concepts you can explore in a series of articles? Does an image in the book give you ideas? Are there lessons in the book that you’d like to discuss? Does that historical novel make you wonder about cooking/marriage/fashion/ in times gone by? One single book can give you lots of articles.

2Take a look at the calendar, but NOT for upcoming holidays and celebrations. (Although they too will inspire you). As I write I see that in the next week there are plenty of celebrity birthdays. Look too for special ‘days’. For example, today is National Bird Day. This suggests ‘Why I love birdwatching’, ‘I have a bird phobia’, ‘Birds in art’ etc.or even chicken soup recipes! Think around a subject and see what appears in your mind.

Look too for obscure anniversaries, such as ‘today in history,  India became a republic’. Indian food, travel, saris, books, art? Every day you’ll find inspiration for articles simply from the date. Be sure to jot down any dates you use. This means that you’ll be able to use that date in future to promote. If,for example, you write about John Lennon, jot down his dates. His birthdate, death date and other significant days gives you a good reason to promote your article in the future.

3Revisit articles you have already written. When you read them, do you have anything else to say about the subject? There’s a strong chance that you do. If so,make it into a new article and link through to your old one. put a link in your old article to your new one. This helps to make you an expert in your field as well as creating useful backlinks.

Do any of your older articles suggest a series? For instance, if you’ve written about a book, have you read others by the same author? Then write about them and link them. Look at your titles – if you’ve written an article on ‘great ideas for a St. Patrick’s Day party’ then write ideas for other parties in new articles. Use your existing work to breathe life into your new writing.

4Check for any issues that are current in your area. Although these might be local to you, the chances are that there will be people all over the world who are facing something similar. Recently, for example, I wrote about how my condo board won’t let me grow vegetables in the garden. That’s a very local issue but other people are thinking about urban gardening too.

Your local grocery store closed and now you have to drive five miles to shop. You’re having freak weather. Your state is uncertain about allowing gay marriage. A new business is selling organic produce. It’s apple blossom season.There is  a ‘buy local’ campaign. All these and more spark ideas. Remember too that most areas these days see themselves as hospitality  venues. Use your local knowledge to tell others about where you live.

5One of my favourites – talk radio. When you’re driving, cleaning the house, repairing the washing machine or doing anything that allows it, listen to talk radio. What are people talking about? I listen to BBC Radio (via the internet) and ideas are mentioned all the time. Here are some things I’ve heard recently that have started me wondering and are on my list of things to write. (But steal them by all means!)

The problems of autocorrect on computers and devices. You can’t judge a book by its cover (or can you?) Do you prefer the sunrise or the sunset? Blind dates. How old do you feel? How much should I tip when I’m on a cruise? Are people today richer or poorer than their parents?  Is artificial sweetener safe? Does tea taste differently when made with microwaved water? Is owning a pet good for your health? And so on. Remember too that humourous articles on these subjects are great.

6As you go about your daily life, be aware of article opportunities. Just last night I was cooking rice for dinner. I wondered why people think that cooking rice is so difficult  but I never have a problem. So there’s an ‘aha’ moment. Other people have problems with it, I don’t. So I should write an article about how I do it. Simple, mundane, domestic, but information people are looking for.

You’ll find opportunities every day. I recently wrote an article about’ how to start your car using jumper cables’. This was because my neighbour’s car had a flat battery and he had no idea how to  rectify it. Remember that you have knowledge about things that seem second nature to you but that others simply don’t know. (Not long ago I had to show a 28 year old how to hem a skirt). Even casual conversations can spark ideas.

7What do you want to know? Although it’s a great idea to establish yourself as an expert in your field, it’s impossible to know everything. Ask your readers. You can debate the pros and cons. For example,I grow herbs in pots but I can never keep cilantro alive. I could describe in the article what I’ve tried and then throw it open for debate.

People love to share their knowledge. When you ask a question, there’s a good chance that someone will come along with the answers. That way, you have the basis of another article and once again,you can link the two together. If you can contact the person who provided the solution, then do so – show them your article.They’ll be happy to share with their friends how they helped.

8Look at your stats. Which articles are the most popular? If it’s ‘how to make scented candles’ then that’s your cue to write ‘more ideas for making scented candles’.  Check to see which search terms have been used to find your website or blog. Did you answer their query? If not, this is an opportunity.

Here on JAQUO for example, I see search terms such as ‘craft magazine for kids’ or variations thereof. Click over to Amazon, find out about craft magazines that have ideas for children and write a review about the best three. And when you’re browsing Amazon, see what the ‘related products’ are. You might discover another publication or product to review.

9Check your comments. If you write on JAQUO or a site that permits readers to leave comments, then check them. Go back to old articles too. Has anyone asked a question or brought up a point that can be used for a new article? As before, link related articles, even if they are on different sites.

When you write an article,many sites give you the option of subscribing to comments.It’s a great ideat o do so. That way,you’ll be emailed and won’t miss what your readers have to say.

10Check or develop an online paper. Use a curation service or an online newspaper to present you with daily news that interests you. These services allow you to tailor-make your news. You’ll get lots of ideas. At JAQUO we use paper.li and I usually get at least three ideas every day.

If you don’t want to set up your own, or would like to see an example,you can see the JAQUO online newspaper here. If you click on ‘more’ on the top navigation, there’s an option to see all that day’s articles. It takes me less than five minutes to browse that section and there are always ideas to be had.

Do you have more ideas? Let me know below!


 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jackie Jackson, also known online as BritFlorida, is a highly experienced designer and writer. British born and now living in the USA, she specialises in lifestyle issues, design and quirky stories. You can see a wide range of articles here, or visit her website Tastes Magazine. See The Writer’s Door for more information.

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Author: Jackie Jackson

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2 Comments

  1. Thanks for these ideas Jackie. I have so many ideas – it’s time that is my worse enemy at the moment. Still I am writing every day so that’s something!

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  2. Excellent suggestions! It is wonderful how one idea sparks another. Another I’m finding is to check what’s scheduled in your home state There are so many interests and activities to write about. Enjoyed!

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