What should I write about next? During the work day, your thoughts just don’t seem to align in a logical order or useful fashion. They are useless, so you get nothing done. Until…
As soon as you let your mind relax, it suddenly wants to solve all your problems. Even if it’s late at night and all you want is to fall asleep.
This is one problem of being a writer, as we all know. Creativity is required but often escapes us. You may be naturally lazy or unavoidably busy, so you let the time set aside for writing pass you by unfruitful.
Yes, there are tools you can use, such as Hubspot’s Blog Topic Generator, to come up with something. But something isn’t the best thing. Remember that everyone else is also using this tool. Your next article would end up just being the girl next door–people may read it and like it alright, but it’s nothing mind-blowing.
What’s worse, this tool won’t solve your inspiration problem. Why? Because you may have little to no firsthand experience, let alone basic knowledge, about those generated headlines. And writers with power write what they know.
Think outside of the “There’s an app for that” box. Instead, discover new topics within yourself that you didn’t know were there! Organize your thoughts by creating a thought chain.
What is a thought chain?
It’s like that game you used to play when you were a kid. You and your friends take turns, with each friend saying the first thing that comes to their mind.
Then one of those kids, for who knows what reason, would randomly yell, “Monkeys!” in response to the previous word, “Boogers”.
The connection? Who knows. The mind works in mysterious ways.
So now you need to play that game by yourself.
How to brainstorm
Get your computer in front of you and start typing. Try asking yourself questions such as the following:
- What is my main topic?
- What is my niche or field of expertise?
- What experience do I have in this area?
- What has been the best part of that experience?
- What has been the worst part of that experience?
- What do I wish I had known sooner about my field?
- How am I doing success-wise?
- Where could I improve?
- Do I want to continue?
- How can I continue?
- What are my biggest hurdles to overcome?
- What are the biggest hurdles I have already overcome?
If you are working on a blog, try to word your pieces of thought as blog article titles or subtitles. This doesn’t have to happen at the outset of the thought chain–just try to get this going somwhere down the line. If this is too difficult, try to hit main bullets that would do well in the outline of an article.
The way you word each phrase is up to your style and medium of writing. For example, let’s say you have hit the dreaded wall of writer’s block in the middle of a novel. If so, you might word things in the form of: chapter titles, important plot developments, emotions, or snippets of dialogue.
No matter your writing style, a thought chain is a generator. This brainstorming method should generate subjects that you have skipped over but have yet to discuss.
Example of a thought chain
For your reference, here’s how my first thought chain worked out. In fact, this is how I first brainstormed this piece, as well as my article on the fool-proof writing process for the lazy blogger.
Lack of inspiration
Trying to get past writer’s block
Figuring out how to write an ebook
Will I ever make money?
How can I make money?
What books should I read about this
My apartment is small
Thailand is annoying sometimes
But I love to travel
I might even prefer traveling alone to traveling with people
I was so happy to do that road trip upstate by myself
When I brainstorm I prefer to write by hand
Or speak into Dragon Dictation
Which works by talking into it
After you come up with all these phrases and topics target the ones you have never published or written a chapter about yet
If you need advice go to Google+ and join a group
As indicated in the bulleted list above, under the previous subtitle, I began by naming my topic and niche. From there, I found myself dwelling on goals and problems at hand. Finally, important questions, life experiences, and useful pieces of advice cropped up. Each of which could make a decent blog article that appeals to my target audience. Travelers, freelancers, and bloggers could find the solution to a problem within my content.
As you can see, this process helped me come up with a few topics I had yet to discuss at the time, including:
- How to make money as a blogger
- What living in Thailand is like
- Why I love traveling alone
- The last time I went to Times Square
- How to brainstorm articles (–>This article itself!)
- How to use Dragon Dictation in writing
- How to use Google+ to improve your writing
- Tools to speed up your writing
Since then, I have published articles covering 3 of these 8 topics and begun writing about 4 of the remaining 6. To think that at the time, I was completely at a loss for article topics.
I am at a loss no more!