Getting Article Ideas
Writers, we’ve all been there. There are the good days when the words just come naturally, and you can churn out an article in an hour without any problems. Alternatively, there are the bad days – you sit there for hours, staring at a blank screen with eyebrows furrowed, trying but unable to come up with even one idea.
As frustrating and hopeless as these situations may be, Bolt has found 6 tips and practices that could just help to get those gears turning and those creative juices flowing with ease.
1. Make journal logging a habit
It’s safe to say that everyone has tried, and failed, to finish a journal. Normally, you’d get into the first few pages, before deciding that it is too much commitment for you, and then abandon ship. However, the habit of dedicating 10 minutes of your day to your journal can actually lead to a much higher writing efficiency.
For just 10 minutes, sit yourself down and scribble down whatever thoughts you have in your head. These could be things that you’ve observed during the day, or even a puzzling dream you had a night before – regardless of whether it may seem like a dumb idea. If you feel like pushing yourself even further, try setting a daily word quota for your journal writing.
Keeping a journal with all your free thoughts can really prove to be useful for future brainstorming sessions, especially when you’re stuck. Your best idea could come from what you thought was a casual observation at the park. Who knows?
2. Over-ask questions
If you have ever been discouraged by anyone who said that your query was a ‘dumb question’, don’t be ashamed by your curiosity! In fact, always over-ask questions.
Make full use of each interview you have with an expert. Take the interview as an opportunity to ask them about the latest trends and their opinions.
In fact, don’t limit yourself to just the experts. Feel free to ask the everyday people in your life about your topic too, even if they are not the most knowledgeable people about the subject. Always being inquisitive could lead you to the next topic worth writing about, and the best part is that you’ll also get your quote and contact.
3. Subscribe to daily news sites and apps
Keeping up to date with what’s happening in the industry is another way to draw inspiration for your next article. Doing this will also help make sure that your article is timely and relevant to readers.
Apart from finding out what’s the latest buzz in your industry, it’s always good to give other sections you may not be familiar with a look too. For example, a tech writer might find that interesting angle he or she has been looking for in the food section.
Google Alerts is a convenient option for those who don’t want to sift through tens of news articles a day. By simply selecting which category of news you’re interested in, Google notifies you via email with any news updates in that category.
With 2/3 of people today owning smartphones, checking the news has become all that more convenient. Some good news apps that have our stamp of approval are Yahoo News Digest, CNN App and NewsLoop, which are available on both iTunes and the Google Play store.
4. Try some online idea generators
Sometimes, you might need more than the human touch to inspire you. If you’re game, maybe you’d like to give online idea generators a try, where keying in a simple topic keyword could give you an article idea.
Here are 3 online generators that you might want to try out:
Your Problem: I have an idea, but I don’t know much about it!
How Site Works: Submit your question to get feedback and responses not only from the community but from experts as well!
Portent’s Content Idea Generator
Your Problem: I have no clue as to how to angle my story.
How Site Works: Enter your topic keyword and hit ‘enter’ to generate some ideas!
Your Problem: I don’t even have a topic to write about!
How Site Works: Click the refresh button to get new topic ideas, then hit ‘next’ to get your story angle.
Some of you may have just let out a huge groan, but we’re not kidding with this tip.
An article on The Telegraph in 2013 revealed that exercise has been proven to make your brain more active, and thus results in more creative ideas flowing. Not only can a good jog help lower stress, it also increases the rate of blood flowing to your brain, and releases endorphins that make you feel happier.
If this works for best-selling writer Haruki Murakami, a seasoned marathoner, then it might just work for you too.
6. Review your past works
From time to time, do take some time to revisit your past work, no matter how bad you think it was. Reading through your old stuff is not just a good way for you to identify your mistakes and improve your writing, it also helps to re-inspire you.
Perhaps you might want to do a follow-up on something you had talked about years back, or maybe you realised that you’re really good at writing interesting ‘How-To’ guides, and want to do more of them.
With just a bit more discipline, initiative, and better understanding of how your skills and your limits, you’ll be able to get out of that bind whenever it comes around.
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