These are excellent suggestions for places to find inspiration. I like calling them seed ideas as it describes well how they can grow into a post or other writing.
Idea Seeds For Successful Articles and Posts
Posted June 6, 2008 in Writing
If you’re a freelancer who writes or blogs on a regular basis, then you understand that coming up with fresh new material on a regular basis can be a real challenge. The pressure to produce content can even be stressful.
One way to tackle the challenge of constantly developing new material is to learn to make use of idea seeds.
What is an idea seed? It’s simple. An idea seed is an event, experience, fact, or other piece of information that a writer or blogger can grow into a story, article, or post – either immediately, or at a later time. Like a seed for a plant or flower, an idea seed begins little and grows big.
Idea seeds are all around us, but not everyone can recognize them.
Five Common Idea Seeds For Writing Ideas
Some idea seeds are easy to find:
- Responses to blog posts from other bloggers
- News events
- Specific issues or problems that you are facing in your day-to-day life
- Instructions based on your specific knowledge or training
- Questions that you would like to have answered
Five Uncommon Idea Seeds For Writing Ideas
Uncommon idea seeds are harder to find, but an article or blog post based on an uncommon idea seed can help distinguish your writing from that of the rest of the pack. Here are some uncommon sources of writing inspiration:
- Inspiration from the actions of a pet. Has your pet done something funny or unusual? Perhaps you can use your pet’s actions as an illustration in an article or blog post.
- Inspiration from nature. The old adage that no one wants to talk about the weather may be true, but using the weather as an article illustration makes for an interesting example that nearly everyone can relate to.
- Inspiration from children. Some of the best, and most readable posts that I’ve read draw lessons from the activities of children. If you don’t have children, then you can use your own childhood memories.
- Inspiration from art. Art, music, and photographs can provide a great basis for your writing. When viewing a piece of art, ask yourself “What does this remind me of?”
- Inspiration from history. Even if you are not writing specifically about history, history offers many lessons that can be built into articles and blog posts.
What To Do With Idea Seeds Until You Are Ready To Use Them
While at first it might seem difficult to find idea seeds, after you have practised looking for them you may find that you have more ideas than you need. This is a great position to be in! A cache of idea seeds is the perfect solution for those times when you’re short of ideas.
Here are some simple ways to keep your idea seeds until you are ready for them:
- Keep a file of idea seeds on your computer. Include links to URLs, articles you’ve started and not finished, or a sentence or two that will remind you of the idea when you need it.
- Keep a notebook with you when you’re not at the computer. Some of the best ideas come when we’re not sitting behind the monitor. If you have a pad and pencil (or electronic organizer) with you, then you can jot the idea down.
- Outline possible articles or blog posts. If you have time, then you can develop your idea seeds further by outlining future articles or posts. What headings will you include? What will your main points be? This is a tremendous time-saver to have when you hit a crunch period with a lot of writing to do.
A Final Tip
As you develop your idea seeds into full-fledged writing, try to come up with angles that no one has thought of before. If you write under your own name or a single pseudonym, finding unique perspectives can help you develop a distinctive personal brand.
What’s keeping you? Let’s get out there and start finding those idea seeds!
About the author: Laura Spencer is a freelance writer from North Central Texas with over 18 years of professional business writing experience. If you liked this post, then you may also enjoy Laura’s blog about her freelance writing experiences, WritingThoughts.
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June 6th, 2008 at 6:08 am
June 6th, 2008 at 6:24 am
I love your idea seeds as I was sent into the writing arena, some of those are exactly where I have gathered my ideas and thoughts from.
I love listening to others conversations, I think of them as silent interviews and it’s fun when you get that little light bulb that goes off on how to spin their conversations into a good story.
June 6th, 2008 at 6:36 am
Hi Lillie and Susie!
How nice it was to wake up and find two comments here already.
I’m glad that people are finding this post helpful.
June 6th, 2008 at 7:57 am
Thank you very much. Great ideas.
June 6th, 2008 at 8:33 am
Like your suggestion, I used my pet as inspiration for an article, and it turned out to be a huge success. I certainly appreciate it when people look beyond the blogosphere for information.
June 7th, 2008 at 1:30 am
Great inspiration ideas. Of the things you have listed, my favorite is finding inspiration from children. One of the best posts I think I’ve written on my blog was “Blogging Lessons from a Toddler.”
Thanks for the other idea seeds as well. You’ve got me thinking…
June 7th, 2008 at 11:13 am
Good and useful tips – My idea seeds are often from the coversation in the forums I joined.
June 8th, 2008 at 10:00 am
A good source for ideas are the comments you leave on other blog posts. As you mentioned, Responses to blog posts from other bloggers are one of the most popular sources for ideas. I often copy these comments into a cpu file. I do this if the post elicited a strong unique response from me. Thx.
June 8th, 2008 at 11:25 pm
An offline notebook is a must, as is cultivating the habit of actually writing in the notebook! I have found that I must note down every idea, within a few minutes, to make it really work for me. Otherwise I think, ‘oh I will remember that’ and by the time I get to a computer I’m just staring at a blank page with no ideas. It also makes the notebook fun to go through will lots of idea seeds scattered throughout.
June 9th, 2008 at 9:50 am
Thanks for all of the feedback and additional ideas about how to generate ideas and save them until you are ready to use them! I enjoyed hearing from each of you.
June 13th, 2008 at 8:22 am
Great post Laura. I also have a few others on my list:
Inspiration from books. Perhaps it’s not the whole book, but an illustration or particular chapter.
Inspiration from movies. I consider movies the art of our generation and a reflection of the current culture. Just look how the “bad guys” in action movies have migrated from Russians to Terrorists.
Tools that you use that have helped you in some way. Everyone was curious when I switched from a PC to a Mac because a lot of people are considering the same thing. I blogged my experience and have helped others consider the decision.
Hope that helps!
February 20th, 2010 at 10:16 pm
Thanks for the great content and information on legitimate online businesses. I search the net looking for this type of content to give me ideas on future articles that I am going to write on this same general subject. Appreciate reading your article and information on this particular subject.
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