How to generate ideas for your writing

Painting by Adriano Cecchi

Learn the fine art of eavesdropping. Painting by Adriano CecchiI had forgotten how much I enjoy training.

Last night, I did a two-hour workshop on making blog content interesting at Bergvliet High School in Cape Town, which runs a very good continuing education programme.
It was small group, which made it possible for everybody to ask all their questions, and for me to answer queries and go over material in some detail.
Arising out of the workshop, I thought I’d share our starting point, which was how to generate ideas for writing interesting blog posts.

Some of the points below are mine, prepared prior to the workshop, and some were generated during our discussions:

  • Listen to what’s happening around you – learn the fine art of eavesdropping.
  • Look at what’s happening around you
  • And to record all that you see and hear, keep a notebook in your bag/car – or get a note-taking app on your phone: write things down as they occur to you
  • Set yourself a project: picture of the day, tip of the week, recipe of the month
  • If it is content for a business, ask your customers what they would be interested in reading
  • Get a Twitter account – see what’s trending, there might be an idea there… remember you can use Twitter as resource for trends and interesting people: there is no obligation to participate if you don’t want to
  • If your blog or Facebook page allows comments on articles, keep an eye on them to see what people are talking about.
  • Use this WordPress site: Dailypost
  • Thinkwritten is also a good source
  • Keep a list of days and events – National Cat Day, a local organic market and so on. There might be something there that links with your own interests
  • Pay attention to your own life and experiences and write from that base – personal is always better.

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