It happens to the best of us. You enjoy writing and blogging in your certain niche, but it hits you like a wall one morning – the dreaded writer’s block. Keeping a consistent flow of blog posts can only help your website or blog, as it indicates your activity level and boosts you a little higher on search rankings above other competitors in the same field. But what do you do if you sit down and find nothing to write about? Below we’ve listed five ideas that can bring some fresh perspective to your topic search.
Trending Topics Online
The beauty of social media and search engines today is the convenience of discovering trending topics. Websites like Yahoo and Twitter have these topics readily available on their homepages, from the latest trending hashtag to the most frequent searches. Check out breaking news items as well and give your two cents about resulting debates. While this could create some chatter among you and your readers, the important aspect is that the chatter is healthy. Only cover trending topics that you feel comfortable about discussing and have a clear viewpoint. Simply joining a bandwagon without proper research could spell some trouble.
Q & A with Readers
If the typical topics have all been done, there’s no greater resource than your own readers. If they enjoy your work, they’ll feel comfortable with asking questions and sending messages. Ask them about what they would like to see on your blog or invite to submit questions. Keep an open inbox where readers can submit their inquiries. You can answer them one at a time, or do a mass FAQ or compilation post.
Another idea for interaction with your readers is to do contests or challenges. If you’re a blog about writing, have readers submit fiction ideas or one-two sentence stories. It’s a challenge for them but could also spark future ideas. You can also do good deed challenges, such as how many community service hours can you gather in one week, a reading challenge for the year, and many more.
Avoid The Fire
While many bloggers take the leap and answer fan questions, there is one particular type of submission you want to avoid. They go by many names – the troll, the flamer, etc. – but their main purpose is to try and incite you into a debate. Do not feel pressured to answer their call. These submissions or comments are often offensive or insulting, and you do not need to address them if you’re not comfortable.
Creating connections with other bloggers or blogging groups can lead to guest appearances. It’s refreshing to have another voice on your blog every once in a while, whether it’s gathering someone else’s opinion or covering a topic together. It introduces readers to new voices, new views, and can give you more credibility by uniting with other bloggers.
Fellow bloggers are also great resources. Now this does not mean to plagiarize their writing, but don’t be ashamed if you’re inspired by what someone else has written. Take what they’ve said and write what your perspective would be. Do you agree or disagree with them?
Ask Google or Word of the Day
There’s a fun game you can play with the Google search engine. Simply type in the beginning of an inquiry such as “How do I…”, “What to do if…”, “When can I…” but don’t finish it, and see what the results are. Try a variety of phrases or clear your cookie cache on the browser so that Google can produce fresh answers that you may not have seen before. Here’s a basic list to get you started:
- How do I
- What can I do
- What to do if
- When can
- What if I
- How did they
Similarly, websites that offer a word of the day or quote of the day can often be the spark that you need to get those wheels turning on ideas. There are many free websites out there that offer these daily quips to get you started.
Go For a Walk
Here’s a decidedly low-tech way of fishing for ideas – take a stroll. Leave the computer for a moment and listen to some music. Read a chapter of a novel you’re enjoying. Read a chapter of a book you hate. Knit. Play a card game. Talk with friends. Exercise. Some of the most unexpected and interesting topics can stem from unlikely places, and it helps to disconnect from your blog for a moment to get some new perspective. See the world in a new way, and the world will give you something to think about.
The Content is Out There
Writer’s block can sometimes seem like the end to your productivity, but don’t despair. Use the techniques above to find inspiration and create a list of topics for future posts. Plan out what you’ll write in advance or follow your instinct. Don’t be afraid to ask your readers about what they’d like to see and be open to criticism. The important thing is to keep writing and exploring the possibilities in your niche.