By Leo Babauta
Keep this list as a handy reference. Download the tipsheet as a PDF here or read it below.
Or read it below (click to enlarge):
Keep this list as a handy reference.
Always write your ideas down right away.
- Have a tool for capturing ideas: a notebook, a voice recorder, an app on your mobile device, or the Jott note-taking service.
- It’s good to start a new post in your blogging software if you can — write a tentative headline and a few quick ideas to get the post started.
- Collect a list of post ideas, or draft posts, so you always have something to write about.
Where to find ideas for blog posts: everywhere
- Blogs. There are dozens of great blogs on writing and every topic under the sun. I like to read about what works for others â€” it inspires me to action!
- Books. I read writers I love and then I steal from them, analyze their writing, get
inspired by their greatness.
- Overheard dialog. If you happen to overhear a snippet of interesting dialog,
jot it down in your writing journal as soon as possible. It can serve as a model or inspiration for later writing.
- Magazines. Good magazines often have pieces good for their writing style, its voice, its rhythm and ability to pull you along to the end. These pieces can inspire you.
- Movies. Sometimes, while watching a movie, a character will say something so
interesting that Iâ€™ll say, â€œThat would make a great blog post!â€
- Forums. Forumers have ideas that can inspire more ideas in you. Trawling
some good forums isnâ€™t a bad idea.
- Art. There is no better inspiration that great art. It doesnâ€™t have to be classical
worksâ€” thereâ€™s inspiration in Japanese anime, on deviantart.com, in local artists
in your area.
- Music. It can be inspiring to download and play great music, from Mozart to
Beethoven to the Beatles to Radiohead. Allow it to lift you up and move you.
- Friends. Conversations with friends, in real life, on the phone or via IM, can
inspire some of the best posts.
- Writing groups. Whether online or in your community, writing groups are great
ways to get energy and motivation for your writing.
- The Pocket Muse. A book full of writing inspirations.
- Quotes. Great quotes help inspire you. Go to various quote sites to find ideas to spark your writing.
- Nature. Stuck for ideas? Go for a walk or a jog. Appreciate the beauty around you, and let the inspiration flow through you.
- History. Great people in history can inspire you to greatness. Benjamin Franklin, Gandhi, Abraham Lincoln, Helen Keller, Leonardo da Vinci, and many more.
- Travel. Getting out of your usual area and discovering new places and people can open up new ways of seeing.
- Children. Children, with their fresh outlook on the world, can change theway you view things.
- Exercise. I get my best ideas most often while running. The quietness, the
increased flow of blood through your brain, combined with being out in the fresh air with nature, really stimulates the mind.
- Religion. The great religions in the world have ideas in them that are beautiful and inspiring: Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Bahaiâ€™i, Buddhism, Taoism, and many cultures with multiple
- Newspapers. Look for human-interest stories that are inspiring. Stories about people who have triumphed over adversity.
- Dreams. Try keeping a dream journal by your bedside and writing down what
you can remember when I wake up. Dreams are so interesting in their complete disregard for the rules of reality,
for their otherworldness.
- Writing journal. I highly recommend this for any writer. Just a plain notebook will do. Write down thoughts and inspirations and quotes and snippets of good writing you find and pieces of dialog and plot ideas and new characters. Then go back to this journal when you need ideas or inspiration.
- Del.icio.us. This popular bookmarking site is a treasure trove of great articles and blog posts and resources.
- Poetry. Its beauty and flow and style and use of rhythm and play on words, through use of language and music.
- Shakespeare. Heâ€™s not the only playwright, of course, but heâ€™s undoubtedly the greatest, and the greatest master of the English language as well.
- Google. Stuck for ideas? Search a topic and find tons of great resources.
- Freewriting. One of the best ways to get unstuck if youâ€™re uninspired. Just start writing. Anything. It doesnâ€™t matter. Donâ€™t edit, donâ€™t pause, donâ€™t think. Itâ€™ll help you get out of your rut and you might just write some really good stuff among all that garbage.
- Brainstorms. Similar to freewriting, but instead of writing prose youâ€™re writing ideas. Just let them flow. Speed and quantity is more important than quality.
- Flickr. Photography of some of the most talented people in the world can show what everyday humans can do if they try. Just browse through Flickr to find some wonderful inspiration.
- Break your routines. Get out of your rut to see things from a new perspective. Take a new route to work. Change your morning routine. Try reading or writing instead of TV. Shake things up.
- Success stories. The stories of people who have succeeded at what youâ€™re trying to do will inspire you.
- People watching. Go to a busy public place and just sit and watch people. Theyâ€™ll amuse you, fascinate you. Thereâ€™s nothing more inspiring than humanity.
- Your life. Every day, you should reflect on what you’ve been doing, not only that day but in your life recently. You might reflect as you’re exercising or meditating or driving or about to go to bed or journaling. What have you been learning? What have you been excited about? What have you failed at? What changes have you successfully made? What have you learned? What can you share with others that will help them do the same? These are all great ideas for blog posts.