"Required reading" for today's smart writer.

"Required reading" for today's smart writer.
As featured on: Pro Blogger, Men With Pens, Write to Done, Tiny Buddha, LifeHack, Technorati, Date My Pet, South 85 Literary Journal and other award-winning sites.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Find Inspiration for Your Next Blog Post in the World Around You!



Guest Post: By Janette Dolores

Has Your Blogging Muse Left You High and Dry?
Find Inspiration for Your Next Blog Post in the World Around You...


We bloggers appreciate the wealth of opportunities that blogging provides.
Blogging gives us a forum where we can showcase our creativity, enlighten our readers and forge contacts in the writing world. Despite this, some of us may have experienced…well…a love-hate relationship with our blogs.

In fact, sometimes we'll fear that our muse is "missing in action" as we sit at the computer, rack our brain for our next blog post topic and come up with nada. Nothing we consider engaging or illuminating or even entertaining, anyway. 

If you’ve ever found yourself distraught that your idea-well has run dry, take heart! Inspiration is all around you. You need only take a moment to slow down and notice it.

Consider these five sources of blogging inspiration, all available at your fingertips:

1. The Calendar

The time of year can provide a treasure trove of blogging topics. Women’s History Month may invigorate you to write a post on the victories of female trailblazers. Is Independence Day on the horizon? Craft a short piece on the history of these great United States. Holidays such as Thanksgiving, Chanukah and Christmas all lend themselves to posts on tradition, family, spirituality and travel. The wintertime is an apt time for posts on illness-prevention, and the summertime may spark a post on your most memorable road trips from years gone by.

2. Billboards and Signs

There is some interesting signage out there that can serve as a springboard for blog posts. On my blog, one of my most widely-read posts emerged from the following statement: “To be loved, be lovable.” This sage one-liner with universal appeal caught my eye as I was driving home one day. Where was it written? On a church billboard. Likewise, a “No Trespassing” sign I saw on a driveway shared by two houses spurred me to write one post on respecting boundaries, and another on striking the right balance between your needs and those of others.

3. Interviews of Your Friends and Family

You may not be aware of how many accomplished, dynamic people you know until you show an interest in their history. Ask your friends and family questions about their childhood, countries they’ve visited, jobs they’ve held or dreams they’ve had. You may know a war veteran, a champion of the less fortunate, a homeschooling parent of three or an aspiring artist. I know a former paralegal who had taken acting classes at night for years. Since she and I both write, she shared with me that she had written a play and joined a theater group. Before I knew it, she was performing her play on a Manhattan stage to rave reviews. I was so inspired by her story that I interviewed her for what would become one of my first blog posts.

4. Interactions Going on Around You

Reality check: I’m not advocating staring a hole through people here, everybody. What I’m referring to in this point is simply sitting in the park or a coffee shop and being moved to write by the tender hand-holding of an elderly couple, or the giggles of college kids daring each other to jump into a park fountain. I once witnessed an interaction between a harried restaurant employee and his badgering boss. That motivated me to pen a piece on redirecting your life’s course to invest in a more enjoyable future, even if you have to take those first bold steps afraid.

5. Book or Movie Reviews

Sometimes we need to savor someone else’s creativity to prod our writing muse awake. Drop by your local bookstore and purchase that book you’ve been meaning to read or watch that highly-touted movie and then write about it. People routinely buy books and rent films based on the recommendations of others, so why not get pay for your say?

In short, the next time you find yourself staring at the computer screen, frustrated that ideas aren’t flowing forth, take a breath, notice the world around you and be inspired!

Janette Dolores is a devoted mom, wife, and blogger. She is passionate about family and spirituality, and draws inspiration for her writing from everyday experiences. Read more of her posts at
www.janettedolores.com.

Any of these ideas resonate? What inspires you, writers?
 

 
Image: Freedigitalphotos.net


37 comments:

  1. Jennifer:

    Thank you so much for the opportunity to guest post on your blog. As I've told you in the past, yours is the first blog I started following when I began reading blogs, and remains my go-to blog for writing tips.

    Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jennifer Brown BanksFebruary 9, 2013 at 7:06 PM

      Janette,

      Thank you as well. I appreciate this enlightening post and your faithful "follow". :-)

      Delete
  2. I have blogged for over three years and this post inspires me to compose my own post on this subject.

    Recently I presented the Saturday morning devotion at our marriage retreat on Guam. My topic was inspired by a blog post that I never published-- or even finished, for that matter; I'd only written a title-- a subject that was spawned while receiving excellent service in a diner. I even tweaked a dress I owned to wear a "'50's diner waitress uniform" and made myself a cap and a name badge. "{Almost} Everything I Know About Being a Good Wife I Learned from a Great Waitress" I feel will likely turn into a helpful book for spouses young and old.

    It's so true that not a single one of us should have a dry well. We're surrounded with the richest resources in the U.S. where our freedoms abound, handed to us on bloody-handed silver platters, the cost for which has never been free.

    Oh, the truths that are mine simply because someone like yourself and your guest blogger took the time and effort to write. My marriage is better. I treat my body better. My family's better. My life is better. And to think what I write can give as much to another. Powerful.

    I love every post here at the Pen. Thank you.
    Kelley of Kelley Highway

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kelley:

      Thank you for your kind and inspiring words. It's funny that you mention your devotion topic was inspired by only a blog post title because I have several draft blog posts that exist only as titles at this moment. ;-)

      Also, I see that you commented on my blog and followed me. Thank you for that, and I'm off to check out your blog now...

      Be well.

      Delete
    2. Jennifer Brown BanksFebruary 9, 2013 at 7:08 PM

      Kelley,

      Your words have touched me. Thanks so much. Let's do this again soon, shall we? :-)

      Delete
  3. Janette, thank you for a great post. There are topic nuggets everywhere, if we slow down, observe and listen. Jennifer thank you for hosting.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jennifer Brown BanksFebruary 10, 2013 at 5:31 AM

      Linda,

      You are so welcome. Thanks for taking the time to chime in here. :-)

      Delete
    2. Linda, I love it--"topic nuggets" is a great term! Thank you for stopping by!

      Delete
  4. These are great ideas. I'm certainly going to be using them as it isn't always easy to come up with new posts continuously~

    ReplyDelete
  5. And Jennifer, thank you for hosting!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jennifer Brown BanksFebruary 10, 2013 at 5:34 AM

      Much appreciation for the feedback, Shelly.

      Delete
    2. Thanks, Shelly. Your blog is entertaining and often laugh-out-loud funny. I'm glad you liked my piece.

      Thank you for your comment!

      Delete
  6. Hi Janette:

    This is a great blog post. Love your ideas to get a blog topic started. Think the one of interviewing friends and family is a great one. Never know what valuable info they have to say!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Sharon. It's true that you never know what interesting stories someone has to tell until you ask. Many people have witnessed or partaken in historic events, or helped to make a lasting impact in someone's life. Everybody's got a story. :-)

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Delete
    2. Jennifer Brown BanksFebruary 15, 2013 at 11:45 AM

      Sharon,

      How true! Family members provide great fodder.

      Delete
  7. Great ideas, Janette! I've already got a few ideas. :) Thanks for sharing with us. Thanks, Jen, for being the ever gracious host.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jennifer Brown BanksFebruary 10, 2013 at 4:11 PM

      Karen,

      Thanks for weighing in today. We appreciate it. Glad you were able to get something useful here.

      Delete
    2. Thanks, Karen. Glad I could be of service! ;-)

      Enjoy the coming week. I'll visit you over at your spot now...

      Delete
  8. Hi Janette & Jennifer -

    Great tips! Sometimes the silliest things will trigger a blog post for me. Recently, there was adventures in cookie making and similar family mannerisms.

    I always pray, and then stay on the alert for new ideas.

    Blessings,
    Susan :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Susan:

      Family tradition can be a rich source of blogging topics primarily because so many people can relate. It also provides good, warm reading. ;-)

      I need to pray more about my writing. Thank you for the reminder! Enjoy your week.

      Delete
    2. Jennifer Brown BanksFebruary 11, 2013 at 3:57 AM

      Hi Susan,

      Where you been hiding lately? Congrats on your recent success! Prayer indeed works; I'm a true believer.
      You're right, inspiration can be triggered from almost anything. Thanks for adding to the mix here. :-)

      Delete
  9. Janette: I need to listen more to those around us when we go out to eat. I then need to find a way to incorporate what I hear into my blog. Recently, two different times, I heard a child let out the most blood curdling scream. The sound went through both Hubby and me. I might use those events in a short story.

    You gave me a good list of sources.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good point! That place the child's scream took you to can be a well you draw from for your future writing. I hope the child was OK both times, though!

      I'm glad you found my piece useful. Enjoy your week.

      Delete
  10. Thanks for your post Janette,

    Since currently my blog(s) frequently are a little to much - Exclusive - spending to much time in Forums answering questions and reading other blogs etc. etc.

    In order to put in a little more consistency those could be an interesting framework for putting out more posts. While I have been thinking about Short Stories, about a Rockstar Writer, I am now thinking about possibly doing more like a Column type of posts and than your suggestions could be a interesting framework to keep on going.

    Also because for example my post about 'How to write a Book Review for your Blog' already made it into the Most Popular List, and than just write conversational and keep on writing like that might be something readers would like to see.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Jennifer Brown BanksFebruary 11, 2013 at 4:00 AM

    Thanks all, for taking the time to share your thoughts, and for giving Janette a warm welcome!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. HP,

      I'm glad you found my piece of good use. I hope that however you revamp your blogs, you find the fit you're looking for. Thank you for your comment.

      Enjoy your week!

      Delete
    2. 'Yes thanks, it's my aim
      to constantly keep on improving.'


      Yesterday I also actually posted a - Crispy Fresh -
      New (- Highly Exclusive - :)) Post with in it 'Hyperlinking' to a few other More Popular
      previous posts.

      Since they also usually have a little more Commenters & Repliers those can also help to
      make it a better Reading Experience.



      Delete
  12. Janette,

    Thanks for sharing these tips. I really enjoyed reading your post, and I am going to try some of these out. Jennifer, thanks for sharing Janette's writing with us. This past week was busy, so I am just getting caught up with comments.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yasmin, it was my pleasure. Thank you for reading my piece and letting me know your thoughts. I'm glad you found my tips useful!

      Be well...

      Delete
  13. Jennifer Brown BanksFebruary 15, 2013 at 3:22 AM

    Yasmin,

    It was a pleasure; thanks so much for providing feedback on this. Hope you have a good, (restful) weekend.:-)

    ReplyDelete
  14. Have you ever considered about including a little bit more than just
    your articles? I mean, what you say is valuable and all.
    But just imagine if you added some great photos or videos to give your posts more, "pop"!
    Your content is excellent but with images and video clips, this blog could definitely be one
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    ReplyDelete
  15. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
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    ReplyDelete
  17. Great post, Janette! It's true that sometimes it's hard to come up with a new topic. I've bookmarked this, and may link to it on my blog in the future.

    ~Debbie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, Debbie:

      I'm humbled that you've bookmarked this post and may link to it on your blog at a later date. I appreciate all of your support and encouragement! Be well...

      Delete
  18. For a recent post titled: 'How Do You Track, Your Progress & Submissions?' you can see that I kinda Interviewed myself :)

    Asking myself questions about - you - as a reader, asking myself what I could share that might be an interesting conversation topic for you as a Bloggers/Writers, to discuss and read about.

    That gave me the idea to write a post about, and share part of my approach towards the Writer's Lifestyle, an my Writing Process concerning tracking Progress & Submission. So now I like to ask you how you do it....,


    ReplyDelete