5 Tips to Keep Rolling in Post Ideas

Coming up with a good, creative idea is the first step to writing a fantastic blog post. But if you are like most writers—especially those that write articles for Internet publications on a regular basis—you know how difficult it can be to come up with creative ideas day after day.  Sometimes you sit down to your computer and the creative juices just start flowing and you bust out a well-written article in thirty minutes flat. Other times, it seems like you stare at your computer screen for two hours straight and only type a couple of sentences.

However, coming up with unique ideas on a continual basis is possible if you approach it in the correct way. Don’t expect to sit down at your desk and for great ideas to come right out of the blue. It takes a little work on your part to come with these ideas. Here are 5 helpful tips to help you get your creative juices flowing:

#1- Create An Inspiration File

Using pictures for inspiration!

It is common for artists to create an inspiration file as a brainstorming technique, but it can work for writers as well.  To get started, simply take out a few old magazines or books and browse for images, articles or graphics that inspire you. Cut these images out and keep them in a place that is easily accessible.

You can keep these images in a notebook, in an accordion file, on a bulletin board or in a file on your computer if your images are digital. Keep in mind that you will want to regularly update this file to keep it from getting stale.

When you are experience writer’s block, pull out your inspiration file and glance through it. Pick one image or article and study it. You will be amazed at how quickly an idea (or many ideas!) can come from a simple photograph or magazine article.

#2-Get Offline for Awhile

As a writer, you probably spend a large portion of your day at your computer.  And when you are not on your laptop, you are probably busy checking your email on your phone or surfing the Internet on your iPad. But this constant buzz of technological interaction can actually kill your creativity if you don’t take a break once in awhile.

If you are having trouble coming up with an idea, step away from your computer and take a break. Here are some activities that may help get your creative juices flowing:

  • Get out of the office —or your house if you work from home—and go for a walk.  If possible, get out of the city and go for a walk in nature. Can’t escape the concrete jungle? Go for a walk in a park or a botanical garden.
  • Call up a creative friend or family member or start up a conversation with a co-worker. Bouncing ideas off another person often helps you see something in a new light.
  • Go for a drive in a relatively unfamiliar area of town and take note of what you see as you drive. Just don’t get lost and keep your easy on the road as much as possible!
  • Take a quick cat nap.
  • Grab a nutritious bite to eat; it is incredibly difficult to think clearly if your stomach is growling.  However, this does not give you permission to grab a candy bar from the vending machine. Instead, opt for a piece of fruit or some type of lean protein.

#3- Get it Out On Paper

A writing technique that you probably haven’t tried since elementary school is free writing. Can’t recall what free writing entails? Luckily, it is pretty simply. Take out a clean piece of paper and write down whatever comes to your mind for a set period of time (usually from 1 to 5 minutes). Don’t worry about spelling, topic, or grammar. Just let your mind run wild and your hands go free. Much of what you produce will be unusable, but getting it out of the way will help you focus in on the good ideas.

#4- Do Productive Research

You probably read the word ‘research’ on this strategy and instantly starting rolling your eyes. But don’t be so quick to dismiss this idea. Research can be unproductive, but can also produce some great ideas. It all depends on how you go about it.

Start your research by looking through article directories. Search for articles that are written on similar topics to what you commonly write about.  How can you put a twist on these articles? How can you make them new, different or better?

Take a look through your back log of old articles that you never finished. That article you started six months ago but never finished might be more applicable now.  Have the introductory paragraph written to a half dozen articles? Finish the one that looks the most promising.

Also, take a look at what your competitors/colleagues are writing about. Great ideas often come from taking an interesting piece that someone has already written and adding to it in some way. Additionally, take a look at what is happening in the news.  News items can result in some great opinion pieces.

#5- Create a Work Space That Inspires Creativity

If your work space is cluttered and uninviting, it can be difficult to feel inspired. Turn your working environment into a place where you feel happy and relaxed. Put up pictures of family and friends or places that you hope to visit someday. Put up a piece of art that is bright and colorful and reflects your personality.  Invest in some candles or air fresheners in your favorite scent.  Chamomile, jasmine and lavender are all calming scents and can help you to relax.

You will also want to make sure that your space is clean and well organized. If your desk is covered with stacks of paper and old soda cans, you will likely be too worried about the mess to focus on writing. If your space is an absolute mess, invest a couple of hours in deep-cleaning the space and organizing your papers. And to keep the space looking clean, spend a couple of minutes at the end of every day tidying things up. That way your space will be clean and well-organized when you return in the morning.

  • Excellent tips. For me, I must jot down the idea when it strikes me which happens most when I walk…which I try to do every day. Then I send myself an e-mail. Got three cool ideas on my walk this morning!

    Great stuff in this post here!

  • I do find that going offline and doing something outside does help my mind, and I come back more energetic and with more ideas than ever before. Its amazing the affect that it has but whenever I go to a peaceful park around here, I really seem to brainstorm alot!

    -Jean

  • Lisa, All awesome tips. One thing I like to do is check out Yahoo News, and see what current trends are for my niche. There is also a cool site called http://www.stufftotweet.com. It shows you all the top stories going on in social media.

  • LOL, I look at google trends every morning to get an idea of what’s hot. Technorati had a cool feature also, was called WTF for what’s the fire, dunno if they still have it though.

  • My biggest mistake was not carrying a notepad where ever I go, ideas coming in an instant and usually I don’t remember them. So lesson learned, always equip yourself with notepad 🙂

  • When I don’t have any new topics to write about and am completely uncreative, I just do sports. Running works best for me. Just get your mp3player and run for your life. I get the craziest ideas that way. But don’t forget to write them down somewhere.

  • This are genuine. Having Productive Research is one of the best strategy ever.

  • Personally, my experience with writing has come from a very pleasurable source.

    My company sells wallpaper, and I was hired as the staff writer for copy on the site and keeping their blog, along with guest blogging. It just happens to work out that the most popular category is the children’s wallpaper.

    Since my kids happen to LOVE airplanes, their room has airplane wallpaper in it, so when I ask them how they like it, or what they would use it for, I get plenty of information. I wrote a blog post about how easy it would be for you to hide crayon marks on the wall with wallpaper scraps after I found one of them doing just that!

  • When I lack ideas, no matter the niche, I just visit yahoo answers and look around at people’s questions. Soon enough I’ll get plenty ideas for blog posts.

    • great suggestion, thanks for your input Cristian!

  • I guess the most efficient tip for me is taking a day off from my computer. It is really a big help to sometimes not see my desktop and enjoy the world.

  • As above, taking a day off from the computer has worked wonders for me. Sometimes, though, you can’t allow yourself such a luxury. Of the tips you offered in the main article, I’ve found that getting it down on paper is extremely useful. While it may seem like a low-tech solution, sometimes the act of actually physically writing, as opposed to typing on the computer, can (for reasons I don’t fully have my mind around) really be a great kick-starter to creativity.

  • Following the news may actually help and trigger some new ideas as well

  • To keep my postings rolling, I read the newspapers, watch the news and magazine. And I still can’t, I let somebody to take over like a guest post.

  • Theres nothing worse than having a mind block where you try so hard to find inspiration and end up thinking of nothing at all. You have great advice here on keeping the ideas flowing. I like to take a step back, go and do something outside to clear the mind then step back into the virtual world. I often find myself going through Twitter and find a lot of inspiration on what to talk about by what is trending on there…It always sparks a good conversation by talking about what is on everyones mind at the time.

  • Writing blog posts consistently is plenty of hard work. It is more than just sitting at a desk, or at a coffee shop all day. I find that the times when I am more productive are after a brisk walk, or doing something else that takes my mind away from writing. Another tip, and one that I always tell my writers to do, is to plan a day off each week. It is funny how this day off energizes you for getting back into the writing flow. Productivity is best when the mind is engaged after a little bit of a break.

  • Tip no.3 is one of the effective things to carry out by most writers. Good ideas comes instantly while you’re out somewhere. Environment is a good source of remarkable ideas to write. Just explore and have fun.

  • Great tips Lisa!
    I actually use #1 all the time. I have a simple folder on my desktop full of images, famous quotes and articles that have given me ideas for new posts.

    I keep adding to that folder, every time I come across an image, article or a quotes.

    Whenever, I need ideas, I simply open up the folder and I will be ready t write after a few minuets.

  • When I don’t get any ideas, I listen music or read poems. I always have a notepad with me. Because I usually forget things easily so when I find any topic interesting I just write it in notepad.This makes my problems easy and simple.

  • Sam

    Amazing tips. Definitely research is one of the key to get more ideas.
    Ideas can also come to an individual when he reads similar niche blogs.

  • There are 5 helpful tips to help you to get creative juices flowing on here 🙂 So, i would like to say thanks for given up here 🙂

  • nice post Lisa. I would like to add my 2 cents here .

    People are not at their creative best all the time , so it is a good idea to write down or post a draft in thier blog , any post idea they get .

  • Excellent tips, Lisa. I am sure this 5 tips will inspire us to have more blogging ideas… I am not sure the ideas will keep rolling in or not, but at least will not run out of them so soon! Thanks!

  • Hi Lisa!

    You know, I really need this idea! I feel like I am running out of blogging ideas lol…

    Getting it out on paper is my favorite idea, but I would replace “paper” on a tablet nowadays, because it’s much faster than writing especially if we want to write a few sentences.

    But yes, paper is still important too, I am practicing it often, usually writing my keywords on it.

    Because I will simply forget it if I don’t write them down

    Thanks

  • Your tips give me more inspiration. Actually i am trying to carry a notebook everytime. Whenever an interesting thing come to my mind i feel to need for writing. This is the best choice for me.

  • I like your advice on creating an inspiration file, since I do this all the time. I’m a collector of old magazines and publications, and they are always a good source of ideas… Just one image, certain phrase or a particular title can generate good ideas which you can use in your contents.

  • Excellent post!!
    Explained precisely
    These 5 steps will help bloggers to get new ideas for sure!!

  • rnd technologies

    Nice blog.