I wanted my first blog post here to be short and sweet, yet I’ve found it to be more difficult than anticipated. My hero, Seth Godin, does it all the time.
For the last 14 years.
I dream of being a disciplined badass like him some day. So in an attempt to overcome my early-stage writer’s block, I’ve brainstormed 10 sources of inspiration that I, and hopefully you, can use to develop short blog posts without spiraling down the analysis paralysis pit of despair.
1. Opinion Pieces
You’ve watched movies, read books, and eaten at restaurants. Write your opinion about those experiences! People love feedback, and it’d be a shame to deprive them of your first-hand opinion of their product and/or service. But seriously, this has gotten me job offers before. It’s useful. Just be nice.
2. People Watching
People watching may be one of my favorite activities. If my dining partner doesn’t allow me to sit with the best vantage point to the rest of the dining establishment, I will (begrudgingly) face the wall, wondering what kind of action I’m missing. There are so many interesting characters in the world, plenty of content in blips of eavesdropped conversations, and even an interesting glance can spark all kinds of writerly motivation. Pro-Tip: This is the main reason why you should always show up to a lunch date early.
Talking with other human beings always draws so much inspiration! Just make sure you dig deeper than the weather. Do you tend to focus on specific topics with your friends, family, or co-workers? Did someone say something interesting that got you thinking for hours or days?
4. Personal Anecdotes
Who knows better about your personal experiences than you? Did you try that detox diet for a day, and it made you pass out because of your hyperglycemia? Write about it! Did you travel internationally and get confused about how money exchanges work? Write about it!
5. Life Story
You’re always living your life. So there’s gotta be some stand-out memory gems in there! Dig deep. If no gems pop out, think of ways to go out and make them, then blog about that!
I recently had a dream where I was having a status meeting, and a lady in it said “status meetings should be like toasts, not a game of peek-a-boo!” I woke up and was like yeah – they should be toasts! So in the future you’ll probably see a blog post from me about the benefits of breaking out champagne during meetings.
7. Go Random
If the first 6 ideas of this list don’t work out…random word generators are awesome because they take the guess work out of trying to find miscellaneous topics. They typically give you 3 random words, and what you end up doing with those words is up to you. For example, I just used the “Inspire Me” app, and I got ‘burst,’ ‘distance,’ and ‘appropriate.’ Let your mind wander over all the possibilities with just those 3 words. (The burst part just got me thinking about zits, and doing that in public is typically inappropriate.) You can use this as a brainstorming technique to generate lots of different ideas, plus it’s a fun brain exercise in general.
8. Go Meta
Literally this blog post. Write about yourself not doing the thing you’re supposed to be doing, then paradoxically do it. It’ll make sense later on, I promise.
9. Make a List
This blog post (again). If you’re like me, you find the process of list-making very comforting. Make a list by brainstorming ideas, coming up with as many as you can about one subject. Your first 10-20 ideas are generally in the way of the big ones. Always be generating.
10. Stream of Consciousness
This is the most chaotic source of inspiration because it’s essentially text vomit. But when in doubt, write those thoughts out. Tim Ferriss regularly mentions the helpfulness of doing this to “cage the monkey mind.” Instead of fighting the constant chatter, capture it on a page and make it dance for you.
I hope these 10 ideas help you get out of your writing funk so you can push through onto the next thing! If you use or have used any of these tactics for any of your posts, or if you have any ways you personally overcome writers block, share in the comments section below. Happy writing, my friends!