I was going to start this post with the phrase I’m not an expert… but then I remembered one of the best things about blogs: everyone who writes one gets to be an expert in their own field.
Sometimes, though, every expert gets a bit insecure. Which is why I thought it would be great to start some knowledge sharing – to inspire those of you who are already blogging, and help people who want to get started.
So, how can you get blog ideas?
Lots of my ideas pop up out of nowhere – usually when I’m doing something mundane like sorting the washing or ironing. I always try to write it down, or send myself a quick e-mail on my phone to remind myself to think about it later. When I’m doing simple, rhythmic tasks, my brain is clearly more relaxed and fertile. If you’re lacking inspiration, stop staring at your blank screen or notebook and get busy with something unrelated. Hopefully, while you’re occupied doing something else, inspiration will strike.
Let the seasons be your guide. Look at the calendar and see what events are coming up. Take Easter, for example. If you plan ahead you could share recipes, crafts, ideas for Easter egg hunts and even spring fashion. Don’t leave it till the last minute. Start brainstorming weeks in advance. It doesn’t actually matter if you only ever get round to blogging about one of your ideas – just try and make sure it goes out about a week before the relevant event.
Be responsive. React to what’s going on around you. Maybe it’s something you saw on the news, or perhaps it’s the latest bit of parenting angst everyone’s talking about at the school gates. Think about it, write about it and give it your unique slant.
Engage with the latest trends. You don’t have to follow them slavishly, but why not let them inspire you? One example of this is the whole hygge thing. It’s been done to death, and I’ve chosen not to write about the concept directly on my blog. However, I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t been inspired by it. Of course I have. Indirectly, it’s definitely inspired a fair few of my winter posts. Similarly, don’t be ashamed of finding inspiration on other people’s blogs. Obviously, you don’t want to copy someone else, but reading something brilliant might just kick off a whole new idea.
What should you do if you’re stuck in rut and your ideas have dried up? Get back to basics. When I’m really struggling for ideas I go right back to where this blog started – an online diary. Write about where you’ve been, what you’ve read and what you’ve bought. I used to always write a weekly post on a Friday about what I’d done that week – it’s a great way to get writing again.
Is it possible to run out of ideas? I don’t think that’s likely to happen, but if your subject matter is very narrow then it’s inevitable that they’ll be a certain amount of repetition. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. You can revisit old ideas from a different angle, or talk about progress you’ve made. Now I’ve been blogging for a while, I’ve certainly noticed that lots of my ideas are cyclical. The same subjects do tend to pop up again and again – I like to see this as a strength rather than a weakness: a sign that my blog has its own identity and themes running through it.
Create a safety net. A really nice way to avoid feeling worried about running out of ideas is to have several long-running series that you can return to again and again. These will usually have the same basic formula. I’m very fond of my three things I’m loving this week series. I always enjoy writing it and it’s a much-needed safety net for those weeks when inspiration fails to strike, or when I want to mention something that doesn’t warrant a lengthy post.
Every week I create a brainstorm of all these different ideas, which I’ll keep referring back to. Stick it up on your wall, or write each idea on a sticky note. Sometimes ideas will appear again and again, and it’ll be weeks before they reach fruition. The important thing is to keep thinking!
How do you find blogging inspiration? If you’ve enjoyed this post do let me know what other blogging advice you’d like to hear!