FAQ: How do you come up with stuff to write about?

I’ve been getting this question more and more and I definitely have answers that I want to share!

First, I should probably let you know something that not many people know about me and that is that I have a really overactive imagination. My mind goes a mile a minute and I can’t slow it down. I also dream really detailed dreams every night… so already, I have a lot on my mind at all times.

Second, there are certain people in my life that provoke my creativity for me. I have a few friends who are amazing conversationalists and when we get together, ideas naturally spark. I’m guessing you have a few people like that in your life too. Pay attention to what comes out when you guys get together.

So getting to the real stuff… several years ago, I was at an event and Amy Demos was there. I have a photo crush on both the Demos’s so I sat down and talked about recent life happenings and it seemed like everything I said, Amy replied, “You should blog that.” These weren’t even things that I had crossed my mind to blog but because Amy had the mindset of a content creator, she saw opportunities everywhere for it. So that’s step one… just be on the lookout.

Is there something tiny you saw on an old episode of Glee that inspired you? Did you recently read an internet argument that you wanted to weigh in on but didn’t because you should never get involved in internet fights? Write those little pieces of inspiration or opinion down. They might not be worth a whole post individually, but together, three or four might tie together and give you a rad blog post down the road. One of my favorite blog posts that I put out during my 100 in 100 series last year was called “Handling Rejection as an Artist” and it is an accumulation of three different ideas I had jotted down over time. Sometimes you pick up puzzle pieces as you go and see how they fit together later.

Sometimes just writing one blog post leads to ideas for several more. One of the posts I knew I wanted to write early on was about Website design. Having worked at a website hosting company for nine years, I knew I had a lot to say on the subject but once I started writing it, I realized I should also write one on SEO. And another on curating your portfolio. And another on consistency in your work. Then those posts led to more topics and those posts led to more topics. You have so much more to say than you know!

So right now, write down a few blog titles that cover your areas of expertise. Don’t worry if there are 100 articles with the same subject matter someplace else. Sometimes people need to hear things multiple times before it clicks or they need to hear it in your specific voice for it to resonate. Once you have a small list of ideas, start writing each one and as you write them, write down any ideas that spark while writing them on a separate notepad and keep a running list. Ideas can be quotes, life lessons, anecdotes, memories, movie scenes, songs and lyrics, or entirely new article ideas.

When I was around 24, I bought the Tracy Andersen dance workout DVD. I was determined to learn all the dances and do the workout five times a week. The first day I went through the training portion where she walks you through each step and counts off as you go. After 30 minutes, I had the first 16 counts down. The next day I picked up where I left off. It took me three more days just to learn the first combination. My brain just wasn’t wired for dance. I was never a dancer so it was all incredibly new to me.

On day six, I learned the second dance combination in an hour over two days. It got easier and easier and by the 7th combination, I had it down after only watching it three times.
So often I hear, “I’d love to create more content but I have no idea what I’d say or write about.” That’s okay. You just don’t have a writers brain right now. You’re not practicing it, so it stands to reason it would feel difficult or unfamiliar. It’s the same with dance… or playing an instrument… or literally anything else. You get stronger in the areas you put time, focus and effort.

I hope this post helps you get your blog, podcast, whatever you’re looking to create, off the ground! I’m excited to see your ideas come to life!

Denise Karis is an Arizona photographer who enjoys musicals, Doctor Who and breakfast burritos. IG @denisekaris

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