Let's face it:
All writers - rookie, intermediates, or veterans - experience writers' block.
And for most new writers, this becomes a huge cup of tea, leaving them wondering if they've chosen the wrong venture.
But lo, this happens sometimes.
Yet, leave it too long and it sabotages your writing dream.
If you're a budding writer, how do you get writing ideas?
17 experts took time to share their best hacks for nabbing more writing ideas when they're pushed to the wall by block or when they need a fresh perspective on their subject.
1. Dana Gore
Founder, I AM My Imagination
Because I use my own personal experiences to impact others, just about everything I encounter becomes a topic for me to discuss.
My niches are wellness, creativity and personal development. So if I'm having a bad week, it becomes a post about how I use healthy living to help me "cope." When I had to watch a loved one move away, I wrote about emotional maturity and letting go.
I follow these strategies.
- I speak my truth, so I never run out of things to say.
- I discuss what I'm passionate about. Passion provides color - and color offers possibilities.
- I read other people's work. I'm inspired when I see people break the traditional rules of writing and still come across as interesting, sincere and genuine.
- I stay true to myself, so the ideas show up naturally.
2. Christine Caldeira Renee
Founder, The Frugal Single
I find that when I'm at a loss for writing ideas, my best strategy is to write down the topic or problem in my niche and think about it as I go about my daily tasks (I leave the "program" running in the background of my mind).
Sometimes, it takes a couple days before a really good writing idea pops up.
And other times, I'll get ideas while reading a book, listening to a podcast, or just writing nonsense about a general idea or topic. I've found that free writing helps get me to the best writing angle of a topic.
Most of all, what doesn't work is sitting still at my desk trying to think of something.
When I'm stuck, I have to get up and move.
3. Laura Pennington
Founder, Six Figure Writing Secrets
Google alerts! With most of my clients being in a particular field (personal injury law), it's my job to make sure I'm up to date on their field. I use terms like "car accident study", "surgical error research", or "FDA recall" and then I have a bank of emails of ideas to draw from. This works with all kinds of clients and deliver writing ideas directly to your inbox!
I also maintain a massive spreadsheet where I record potential writing ideas anytime I have one, which allows me to go back and draw from past inspiration. Used together, this allows me to come up with thought-provoking and timely blog posts geared towards my client's readers.
4. Erik Emanuelli
Founder, No Passive Income
Most of my new writing ideas come from the things I do during my day. When I read another blog or I look through my social media feeds, I think to myself I could say something different about that subject.
Engaging with my audience also helps me discover new writing topics. I get two birds with one stone: I satisfy their needs and I solve their problems, plus, I find new ideas for my blog.
At the end, it's all about telling your point of view on things that probably have been written about thousands of times. Showing your personality and sharing your experience makes your blog worth reading.
5. Minuca Elena
The best strategy to come up with new writing ideas is to get to know your audience better and truly connect with them.
1. You should join facebook groups and forums that are related to your niche. See what questions are often repeated and what are the main concerns that your readers have. You may consider these things very simple, but others don't have your experience. Write a blog post where you address this issues and provide a solution.
2. Try to remember what difficulties you had when you were in that situation. For example, if you have a blog about losing weight and you have been overweight, you can write about your own experience. This will make your readers relate with you more and you'll give them the confidence to pursue their goals.
3. Brainstorm new ideas with your blogger buddy (a close friend that blogs in the same niche).
4. Check amazon reviews of books from your niche. Pay attention to 3 and 4 stars reviews. These are written by people that liked the book, but they felt that it was incomplete. See what the author left unsaid and explore those topics on your blog posts.
5. Check your readers' comments. See what questions they ask you more often. It may not be obvious in the beginning, so that is why you should open all the posts you published in the last 6 months and read only the comments. You could also send an email to your most engaged readers and schedule a free 20 minutes call where you can find out what they want to learn from you.
After you have done all this research here are a few types of articles you can write:
I. You can create a list, something like "10 steps to... (the result you want your readers to achieve).
II. Write a "how to" guide. It can have a similar structure as the previous type of post, but you have to do it more in depth. Imagine that your readers don't know anything about that topic and you have to teach them everything from A to Z.
To have more success this type of posts, check similar guides that you can find online and come up with a solution to make the same thing in an easier way, with less effort and less time. For example, the title should be something like this "How to get more traffic from facebook without paying for ads".
III. Resource lists are very popular. Spend some time and make a research of the tools that people use in your niche. If it's a list of tools you can access online then you should contact those site's owners and tell them you mentioned them in your post. They may share it with their social media followers.
IV. You can make an ego-bait post. Basically, you make a list of top 50 bloggers from your niche, add photos, links to their site and a short biography for each one. After the post is published you contact them and share the link of the article.
V. You can make an expert roundup, like this one and you will get a lot of traffic. I have a high level of expertise in expert roundups and you can check my site in my bio profile.
The bottom line is that you need to be able to guide your readers to make an improvement in their lives. Write to provide value to others and to position yourself as an expert.
6. Emily McGee
Founder, My Adaptable Career
With that goal in mind, I often get new writing ideas by listening. For example, on my blog, I write about best business practices for freelancers. I've joined several freelancer Facebook groups, and I spend time each week reading the questions people have about freelancing. When it's time to write a blog post, I know exactly what people want to read about. I also spend time reading forums like Reddit and Quora. There are large freelance communities in both places and because people post anonymously, they are quite open and honest.
If you need new writing ideas be curious and listen. Ask your readers what's bothering them or what's important to them. If you listen well, you'll get great writing ideas and you'll serve your audience better.
7. Melissa Chu
Founder, Jumpstart Your Dream Life
Ernest Hemingway advised writers to never think about the story before they began again the next day. He said: "I had learned already never to empty the well of my writing, always to stop when there was still something there in the deep part of the well, and let it refill at night from the springs that fed it."
In other words, when you aren't writing, go experience life.
I enjoy other things outside of writing - traveling, reading, trying new things. Being able to create experiences for myself generates new ideas for me to use. Sometimes multiple ideas can combine into one great idea.
My best writing ideas come when I step away from the computer. If you're stuck, do something fun, such as talking to a friend or taking in the scenery at your local park.
Carry a notepad as well. That next great idea might show up unexpectedly.
8. Corinne Kerston
My #1 way to get new ideas is to just read.
Not just read blogs or articles in my niche. That does work, and helps me stay on top of what's going on in my industry, but I also love reading fiction. It's amazing what something completely unrelated to your niche can inspire. I have found new words to use, new ways to describe something, new facts to build a post around.
9. Caressa Lenae
Creator, Spark To Launch
My best strategy for getting new writing ideas is to use my most recent experiences and create content from it. Sharing my most current experience is often the best time to share because I am at the peak of enthusiasm on the topic.
Here's a simple process for you test. So, in your most creative brainstorming setting, think back to the past two days and jot down a few events. Don't skimp out on the personal experiences, they count as well. Then, challenge your mind and think back a week. Then a month. Use your planners, calendars and journals to help brainstorm. I guarantee you have lived through an event worth sharing.
Here is my challenge to you, once a month sit for a brain dump session to recount your recent share-worthy experiences. Find the most intriguing, easiest to share and "I can't stop thinking about this" event and start writing.
10. Andréa Jones
Founder, Socially Savvy School
My best strategy for getting new ideas is simple: I keep an ongoing list of things I want to work on. The hard part is remembering to write ideas down as you think of them. For example, if I'm working on a project for a client, and I think of something that would be an awesome blog post idea, I write it down in Evernote. My Evernote document makes it easy to add ideas whether I'm at my desk or on the go with the mobile app. Then, when it comes time to write, I have a list of ideas ready and waiting for me! Generally, I have way more ideas that I have time to do them all... which is a great place to be in my opinion.
Remember, the most important step is to keep the list going! Always add it to it when you think of something and before you forget.
11. Maj Wismann
I have written more than 500 blogposts on my Danish very visited website and I always write about my clients problems and what they can do to solve them. I always ask myself what my clients 5 biggest problems are and how I can teach them something about getting rid of these problems. If I need writing ideas I usually set my alarm on 30 minutes and brainstorm about what questions my clients may have in relation to those problems. You can always start by asking the 5 "star" questions. Why is it a problem? Who gets the problem? When doe the problem occurs? How does it feel to have this problem? What can you do about it?
If you use 30 minutes writing answers to those 5 "star" questions I bet you have a bunch of new writing ideas to blog about that will be helpful to your audience. (150 words) ;-)
12. Tuhin Adhikary
Founder, Serp Daddy
My best strategy for getting new writing ideas is, Freewriting. Whenever I juggle with the new ideas, I simply set the time frame of 15 minutes exclusively for freewriting. And in those 15 minutes, I let my thoughts flow freely on my computer screen and I don't worry about the typos, spellings or any other surface-level issues of grammar and style. I continue writing whatever come in my mind because, in that time lapse, I just jot down things in a very open and free way.
After that, I start filling the text in between where I've missed something. This allows me to add new nuggets of insights. It really helps me in developing new writing ideas. I believe freewriting, gives you the ultimate freedom to write without caring about your tone and writing style, you just have to write your heart out there.
And the best about freewriting is, if one don't discover any new ideas, one can stir up his creative mind and unearth tits bits of raw concepts buried deep in the mind can be developed.
13. Louie Luc
Founder, Buzz Nitrous
So I go and do something else. Like simply getting up from my desk and going to the... bathroom, to the kitchen or to the living room. This might sound weird, but I get the best ideas everytime I do this.
If I don't, I usually surf the Internet and read other people's posts, comment on their blogs or post a new reply to a forum thread. Reading and commenting might get you in the right mood to get fresh new ideas and finally start writing. It sure helps me get going.
14. Mi Muba
Founder, Pollution Pollution & Be A Money Blogger
My strategy to get new ideas is "openness". It means remain open to get new idea from any source and while doing any kind of work. Be alert while doing any work related to your field and try to flip every new thing you notice there with the assumption of "what if".
It means simply assume how that thing had been if it would have been made like this or like that. This thinking pattern will give you series of new ideas and may be a few of them not good but at least one of them must have power to attract your attention and you can easily execute it to create your next blog post.
15. Dragos Roua
So, when I started to blog, 8 years ago, I also created this habit of capturing ideas. Every time I observed something that could potentially be a topic of writing - a correlation of some sort, some metaphor, anything - I simply stopped, pull out my iPhone and wrote it down. Didn't matter that I was in the middle of the road, or in a restaurant, or whatever. I just stopped anything that I was doing and captured the idea.
Of course, in the beginning it seemed awkward and it felt like I was wasting time. But soon I realized that my ideas folder was constantly filling up with new and new ideas. Even today, after more than 1000 articles written (for my blog, for LifeHacker or on Medium) I still have a folder with at least 20-30 fresh ideas that I can use every time. So, make it part of your life, be prepared to have ideas (and capture them) anytime.
16. Søren Riisager
Rebutter is a free online tool, ideal for anyone who works with communication. The software collects all kinds of questions - related to any word or topic you search for - from the Internet, and all you need to do is fill in the word or topic you wish to write about.
As soon as you press the "Search" button, the tool starts searching and collecting, and within a moment you have a long list of questions regarding your chosen topic. Questions, which people out there are looking for the answers for - questions ideal for getting new writing ideas for stuff that people actually have an interest in.
17. Lesley Vos
Yes, writers are creative people. As a rule. But the problem of writer's burnouts continues to be relevant; otherwise, we wouldn't read all those how-to-deal-with-blocks articles all blogs about writing holds their duty to publish.
I had a chance to describe five proven ways of getting new ideas when wrote a post for Kevin J. Duncan's blog.
They all work for me, but my best strategy remains freewriting: I was a bit skeptical about it first but changed my mind after noticing I got 2-3 new ideas for my blog posts after each freewriting session. You just sit, take a pen, and write.
Simple as that, huh?
But remember: your idea is worth nothing. No one cares about how awesome it is.
What you are going to do with it and how you are going to represent it - that's what matters.