This is a guest post by Karol K from Online Business Design blog.
A couple of months ago I wrote a post on how to kill writer’s block. Of course, it’s much easier said than done, so I figured that another follow-up post is in place here.
Last time the main 3 ways of fighting writer’s block was to:
- have a bank of ideas,
- relaxation and exercise,
- fixed schedule.
If you want to find out what the basic principles behind each are I invite you to visit the original post that’s been published here on SmartBloggerz – 3 Easily Applicable Ideas to Not Only Fight, but KILL Writer’s Block.
What I want to do today is focus a bit on the first item on the list – the bank of ideas.
In my opinion this is the #1 writer’s block killing tool. That is, once you have such a thing and it’s full of great ideas. But first, you have to somehow create it.
Just in case you haven’t read the original post here’s a quick definition of a bank of ideas. Basically, it’s just a fancy term for a mindmap that contains all of your ideas for new blog posts.
OK, moving on to the important stuff.
How To Create Your Bank Of Ideas
I have 6 main methods of creating mine. Here they are.
1. Write Down Every Idea You Have
This is obvious, I know, but bear with me. Sometimes the most obvious stuff is the most overlooked at the same time.
Human brain can process thousands of pieces of information at the same time (most of it subconsciously) and it’s really REALLY easy to forget about something you were thinking of just a minute ago.
Tell me if this sounds familiar. You’re doing something, whatever, let’s say, going to a gym. And then an idea for a new article strikes your mind – a nice interesting idea. So you think “OK I’ll start working on this when I get home, I’m good, I will remember.” But then you start doing something else, focus your mind and your body on working out at the gym, then a friend calls, so you talk for a while, and so on. Finally, when you get back home a couple of hours later the idea is gone, like, FOREVER, and there’s nothing you can do.
You need to create a new habit in your life – a habit of writing stuff down. If you don’t have a smart phone of any kind (like an iPhone) then make sure to have a small notepad on you at all times. Keep it in your handbag, or in your jacket.
Writing something down has one more really big benefit. It frees your mind. Just like GTD teaches you to do, use your mind to think about things not to remember about things. Once you write an idea down you make more space in your mind to think about more article ideas.
2. Personal Conversations
We spend a significant part of our lives on interacting with others. Why not use it as a base for some nice articles?
The idea is simple. You’re creating an article idea around your own opinion and another person’s opinion on a given topic… Two heads are better than one.
When you’re talking to another person, the conversation itself often forces you to expand your mind and think about certain things differently, and on top of that it forces you to speak your mind in a way so it can be understood by the other person.
This is a perfect opportunity to craft a post idea. That is, of course, if the topic you’re talking about is related to what you usually write about.
First of all, you probably already have a good outline in your head because you are being forced to speak your mind out loud. Secondly, you can hear what the possible counter opinion can be, so you can include it in your outline as well. And lastly, you can observe what the overall emotion and feel behind the conversation is, so you can set your tone of speech.
These are all the things you could ask for when you want to transfer your thoughts on digital paper. So go ahead and put it in your bank of ideas.
3. Keyword Research
This is a more analytical approach, but it actually works fine. What you do is you go to your favorite keyword tool (I recommend Google Keyword Tool or Market Samurai), and input your main keyword (the seed keyword for a broad topic you might want to write something about).
For example, if you write about some specific aspects of guitar playing, you might want to start with a seed keyword of “how to guitar.” The tool will show you many possible topics related to this term but much more specific (like “how to tune a guitar,” for example).
Using a keyword tool gives you one more valuable piece of data – the number of searches the keyword receives, i.e. how popular it is. So basically, not only do you get ideas fed to you, but you also get to know how many people are actually interested in these ideas.
I’m sure you’ll find tens of interesting topics to put in your bank by using this technique. I’m using it about once a month, usually. And every time there’s something interesting waiting there for me.
Simply join a forum within your niche and take note of which threads/topics are popular. Then once you find something lively and interesting simply include it as an idea in your bank.
Really nothing more to say here, a truly straightforward method.
Oh no, I’m not going to spin it around in some clever way, and in the end say that you shouldn’t really steal.
Here, I mean it. Steal ideas.
When you find a nice post by another author, steal the idea, and use it for a different topic (or a different spin on the topic).
When someone tweets something interesting, steal it and write a post around it.
When someone writes a nice and short tutorial on something, steal the idea and write a more thorough and complete tutorial on the same thing.
And finally, when someone steals your idea, steal two ideas back from them.
You see, there’s a good reason you can’t put a patent on an idea (that’s the law). And it’s because an idea in itself is worth nothing.
It’s the implementation of an idea that’s worth something. The value is created when someone decides to put some work around it, and creates a tangible piece of something by using the idea. So stealing an idea is stealing something that has no value. Is it really stealing then? Damn it, I’ve spun it around anyway!
6. Use Other People’s Banks
Many writers share their banks of ideas with the world, so to speak. They don’t actually share the ideas themselves because … read point #5, but they do share the methods they use to get more ideas, or some very broad seeds of ideas.
Let me just go ahead and share some links:
- 604 Blog Post Ideas For When You’re Stuck – massive.
- The Massive List of Ideas for Blog Posts.
- 58 Topics to write about on your design blog.
OK, that’s the list. Six methods I use when building my bank of ideas. I hope it’s helpful. Feel free to comment and tell me why I’m wrong and why you wouldn’t ever steal anything. 🙂
Top 10 Search Terms:
• just your mind mortal