16 August, 2012

How To: Writing An Awesome Blog Post

If you're a blogger, then you've probably been in that position where you have a hard time coming up with something--anything--to write about.

Fear this stage no more, my friends, because I've compiled a List of Things To Do When Stumped for Post Topics. Ready? To the first item!

1. Stare at the Post Editor/word processor in vain for an hour and systematically erase all post titles you come up with. Yes, even "Look, A Fabulous Post You'll Definitely Want To Read!".

2. Fidoodle around old drafts you never published but decide they're not good enough to post. Do some cleaning out while you're at it: Finally, no backlog of random posts that shouldn't see the light of day!

3. Check your reader stats. Nothing is more intimidating (and more likely to stop you from writing another word) than scrutinizing a graph and trying to figure out how to increase your numbers.

4. Read a book you've been meaning to finish. No, you're not going to finish it in time to use it for a review. But forget the present--in the future you'll need it . . . see, you're being sensible!

5. Wonder if anyone else in the blogosphere is up for guest posting within, say, fifty minutes. Someone else has got to be available to do the work for you, right? What was that? Darn it, reality is twisted.

6. Get something to eat. Food. Cures everything. Must have food to write a good post.

7. Discover that food does not always bring flashes of writing brilliance. Drink something to compensate.

8. Notice the device you're using needs a clean-up job. Ugh, fingerprints are so unsightly. And for the love of blogging, DIE you evil smudge!

9. Consider Rickrolling your readers but decide that isn't going to get you extra views. How about a duckroll? Anyone?

10. Decide to write a post with blogging advice because you're obviously such a success at this thing. Attempt to be entertaining. Doom and gloom and the zombocalypse always work.


But in all seriousness, how do you go about coming up with blog topics? Do you write down your ideas beforehand or just type down whatever comes to mind?

-----The Golden Eagle


Cherie Reich said...

Hehe! I love #5.

For me, I have theme days, so it helps me come up with a post. I also plan posts ahead of time. Now, getting something written for #fridayflash can prove a harder challenge than the average blog post (Yes, that's why I use writing prompts from time to time.).

JeffO said...

Fun stuff, hah ha, I've been in that position too many times, and probably will be tomorrow morning. Hmm, maybe I'll just post a link to here....

All kidding aside, if I've got a hot idea or particular bee buzzing my proverbial bonnet, I may have a post in some stage of completion from earlier in the week that then takes me far too much time to conclude. Ideas come from everywhere, and nowhere: other bloggers, absolute write, things I read, hear or see, etc.

PT Dilloway, Superhero Author said...

I never have that problem. Each post on my blog follows a theme, so I need only to plug something in for that theme. Coming up with stuff to review is the hardest part, not that many people ever seem to care in any event.

Andrew Leon said...

I haven't run into the issue of needing post ideas. Any time I get an idea, I make a note of it, so I always have my list to refer to if I don't know what I want to write about. That's actually a more common problem for me: which thing to write.

At any rate, having ideas doesn't seem to be an avenue for gaining followers considering you have more than 5x as many as I do :P

Murees Dupé said...

This post is just brilliant! Thank you for making me laugh. I always have this problem, so I always write about whatever comes to mind.

Angela Brown said...

I love number four. Yeah, it won't hope for the immediate need of actually posting something, but you ARE looking ahead. That's being strategic. lol!

Since I mainly blog three times a week, I often find myself with something on my mind or a cover reveal I've committed to or a guest post I forgot I had to do and need to turn in to the other blogger in like, an hour...you know, the usual. But you can also get blog ideas from visiting other blogs. You'll find yourself commenting on something then deleting the whole comment because you can take that comment, reformat, add in some humor and turn it into a blog post.

Easy peasy.

Susan Roebuck said...

#6 and 7 and 8 - they're all me! You've been peeking...I know everyone says you should follow a theme or push your published books in some way. But they don't work for me because a) I'm such a disorganized person that I never concentrate on one thing for long and, b) I'd lose all my followers! Actually, writing a blog post often comes in a flash of inspiration, just like writing. And usually when I've given up. Just for interest (or not) my most popular post had a picture of a cat sitting on a toilet and was about how ladies go to the loo (LOL).

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I sometimes have trouble, but something I do is travel around to different writing sites and see what people are talking about. I do the same thing when I'm in a bookstore. I'll gather up all the magazines on writing and jot down some ideas to give my opinion on.

Old Kitty said...

This is where Charlie comes in handy!!! I take a pic of him looking silly and cute and et voila, there is my blog post! LOL!!

But seriously - hence I only post once a week! LOL! Take care

M Pax said...

I came up with theme days, too. Mondays - sci/fi astronomy. wed - IWSG or Spacedock 19, Fri-writing or sci fi. Often blogfests or posting book launches get in the way of Mon and Fri. But even with themes, sometimes it's not easy to come up with something.

Shelly said...

Sometimes I find this to be harder than writing a novel.

I'm as stumped as you are.

Hugs and chocolate,

Liz said...

You forgot surfing the Internet in search of inspiration. Three hours later...

I have theme days too, and I've already started planning next week's posts (this week's were Saturday). I figure if I can get three posts done, I'm good. Yet somehow, this week two other topics appeared, so I added them in.

Beth said...

I do a little bit of both. Sometimes I have a couple of free hours and then I write several posts, enough for a week or two, at once. Some weeks I have lots of ideas but not lots of time so I'll write a post daily as I have time. When I have a good idea but no time, I put the title in a new post and save it as a draft. I'll fill it in later. When I truly have nothing to say, I post nothing at all. In 2011, I posted stupid bs just to make sure I had enough posts. It didn't help. It hurt. So I don't do that anymore.

Beth said...

I've had a lot of emotional reads: Dear John, My Sister's Keeper, A Taste of Blackberries

Cally Jackson said...

Fun post. You gave me a giggle on my train ride to work. I try to keep a list of blog ideas but often forget to write them down, which is not very helpful! Or I write them down somewhere random and then can't find them again. Haha!

klahanie said...

Ah, the solution or solutions are very easy. I guest interviewed Penny the Jack Russell dog and modest internet star. She also takes over my blog when I'm a bit blank and 'pawblishes' one of her must read posts.
Then again one can go on and on about having nothing to write about which in essence becomes a blog :) You're welcome and happy writing.
Gary :)

Pat Hatt said...

Hahaha well that works, just write a post about writing a post. I simply get one word and I'm good to go. Plus it helps when you are 40 posts ahead haha

D.G. Hudson said...

I keep the ideas in a folder.

Observe, research, or read the news for ideas. Look around you.
There's got to be something happening.

Sofia said...

I always love these posts!

I often times will use an old draft that I'd never finished, or at least clean it up a bit until I've decided that it really should never see the light of day. Or I'll look around my room, grab a random object, and use that as inspiration.

Michael Pierce said...

I stare at the screen for way too long. I've been doing themes for the past few months, but I'm changing it up again. Actually, I just need to learn to write faster. Great post!

DWei said...

I honestly think up blogposts immediately. I'll come up with an idea and the post will be instantly written in my head.

However, if I don't have anything pre-thought up, I end up at step 1 for a long time.

Rob-bear said...

Somehow, things just crop up in my mind. A chance comment. Something I've seen. The weather. The clouds. Birds. Crazy politicians.

The next step is to think about whatever. This is best done while doing the dishes. Doing dishes is such a mindless activity that I have all kinds of mental space in which to put together a post.

Then think if there are pictures which would go with the story.

Final steps:
1.Take any needed pictures and load them into the computer.
2. Write the post.
3. Edit the post.
4. Decide when to publish — now or later.

That's pretty much it. Not that I would recommend this; most people have mechanical dishwashers these days.

Flying high in the sky.... said...

i laughed hard!!! my god!! i am sure you don't go thru all these...your posts are interesting :)

Trisha said...

I type whatever. Even my book reviews are unplanned until very soon before I write them up. ;) I've made it a goal this year to write one book review a month, so that helps me out sometimes when I'm at a loss for things to post. I also started doing the Sunday Sessions, but I have forgot to do that a few times lately.

Natasha said...

Haha, I love this! I've recently come up with a fool-proof way of beating this. Whenever an idea for a future blog post comes into my head, I write it down and I now have an impressive list of post ideas to type up. xxx

J.L. Campbell said...

Funny post. Some of this stuff sounds like what I do when I can't decide what book to work on next.

Usually, I just leave things alone until I come up with something I want to write about. Otherwise, I continue writing on a subject I've already started talking about.

Brinda said...

I think I've done some of these activities. A lot of folks here say the theme days work and I agree, but I never seem to stick to the theme day. Sometimes, I look for my favorite things like a YouTube book trailer or other video that will only take a comment and a question to the reader as an addition.

Duncan D. Horne - the Kuantan blogger said...

If I don't have anything in particular to write about I'll select a recent photo and accompany it with a short explanation. Or, I will not do a post and simply go visit other blogs for the day.
Duncan In Kuantan

....Petty Witter said...

Great advice. I find chocolate always inspires flashes of writing brilliance.

Anonymous said...

I've been a very bad blogger this summer: well over a month since I've posted anything on Tale Spinning, and almost two months with Bornstoryteller.

Not a matter of needing ideas to write about; moreso about wanting to write.


Tyrean Martinson said...

Love this list! I know that list . . .except I also include dog walking and cat cuddling into the list of things that might give me an idea later. Sometimes I plan my posts, sometimes I don't. I have a few written up I haven't used yet, and I'm not sure I ever will. . . I used to have themes but found those hard to follow - I am probably too random. Oh well.

Michael Offutt, Tebow Cult Initiate said...

I have no theme. My mind just isn't suited for it. I read reddit, blogs, news, NPR, science magazines, io9, Blastr, and the list goes on and on. Coming up with something to talk about is pretty easy. It's trying to get it down to a reasonable size that people don't glaze their eyes over at me is another challenge.

Anthony said...

That's a great (humorous) list...I get writer's block all the time.

Rachna Chhabria said...

We two have telepathy this week. My topic too is on finding blog topics.

I like all your ideas (especially eating and drinking ;)

laughingwolf said...

pantsers do as pantsers must ;)

Carrie Butler said...

Whenever something comes to mind, I write it down. That way, I have a list to draw from when I'm stumped. :)

Fun post, Eagle!

Madeleine Maddocks said...

LOL! Sounds more like me when I'm planning to write more of my WIP rather than blogposts. I rarely have nothing to post about, but I can identify with your list perfectly for other things. Loved it.

Sangu Mandanna said...

HA love those! I so totally have this problem. but now I have your handy list!

Carol Kilgore said...

I write about trees - LOL!

Charles Gramlich said...

Unfortuantely, I seem to have pretty much bankrupt my idea bank.

N. R. Williams said...

Hi Golden
Love you silly ideas, especially food. I'm way out of touch and need to discipline myself more. Thanks for stopping by.

Carol Riggs said...

Hahaa, these are great. I'm running out of ideas, too. Everything's already been said!! LOL When I think of ideas, I jot them in a document and save them in my "My Blog" folder for later development. I never type whatever comes to mind; I write 'em on the weekend and post 'em on Wednesdays (after I've looked over them on Tuesday). :) Another thing I do is not post every day! I'd definitely run out if I had to post every day (or even 2-3 times a week).

Deniz Bevan said...

Love it, great list! I've been known to clean a keyboard or two... Wouldn't it be funny if we all Rick rolled each other one week?

Theresa Milstein said...

Ha! I think we were set up with #10. Good advice. I post less, so I have more ideas when I finally do it. When in doubt, promote someone's book!

Ciara said...

Oh, I've so tried all these techniques. The other night I fell asleep while typing my post. No joke, fingers on keys and all.

Anonymous said...

Sometimes I write down post ideas. I tend to have the next week mapped out. Also, I sign up for blogfests and blog tours, which keeps my blog busy.

Susan Kane said...

Sounds like you have all the symptoms of avoidance behavior. Work through it, girl. You have talent!

TerryLynnJohnson said...

"Fidoodle" The word of the day!

Everyone has already listed many great ideas here. Just wanted to be involved.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi GE - I come across something that interests me and if I want to read/learn more about it .. then usually with fellow bloggers in mind - I guess that they'd enjoy the information on that particular subject ... so it gets into a post.

Sometimes (often) I combine two or three informative snippets together with some history ..

Cheers Hilary

Anonymous said...

Great advice (heh, heh) -- but I'd follow what some of your readers have posted in the comments. =] My blog is about writing, and with Write1Sub1 keeping me productive, there's been plenty to blog about.

The Golden Eagle said...

Cherie: Glad you liked that one. ;)

The only theme day I have is Teaser Tuesday; I've thought about setting up other specific post days, but I like being able to write about whatever.

Jeff: I've got posts like that, too. I don't often get around to cleaning them up and publishing them, though . . .

PT Dilloway: Good for you! I wish I was as problem-free. :P

Andrew: I try to keep a list, but I usually forget or, in the case of physical notes, lose the paper I wrote down my ideas on.

Seriously, your blog needs more followers! Your posts are some of the more interesting around.

Murees: You're welcome! :)

Angela: Indeed. ;)

I don't often turn my comments into blog posts, though I have written response posts on occasion. I'll have to keep that in mind!

Susan: LOL. Nope, just showing my own mind.

I've written a lot of posts based on inspiration. Not many of my writing/life posts are pre-planned so they go up after I write them down.

Susan: Sounds like a good way to find blogging ideas!

Old Kitty: And it certainly seems to work. :)

M: You have it down to a science!

I don't really have themed days other than Teaser Tuesday.

Shelly: Yup. But at least there's one thing harder than writing fiction, right? :P

Liz: I do that as well.

I don't pre-writer many of my posts. I should probably start doing that when I have extra time so I can just post when I need to during the week, but I'm not organized enough.

Beth: I used to post for the sake of it when I started blogging. Quickly found out that fewer (or zero) people commented on extra posts.

I take it your second comment was meant for a different blog . . . ? :)

Cally: I'm glad I made you laugh. ;)

LOL. The exact same thing happens to me.

Klahanie: It must be nice to have a dog to blog for you when you're out of ideas. And it's true, a ramble about not having anything to write about is quite a lot like blogging!

Pat: Yup, there's always posting about posting to fall back on. LOL.

D.G.: True! I've been following more news/culture blogs lately and have been finding a lot of good post ideas through them.

Sofia: :D

There's a surprising amount of stuff you can write about in your own house. Several times I've looked at something and thought "That could be a blog post".

The Golden Eagle said...

Michael: Thank you! :)

DWei: You're lucky. My writing process is word vomit, revision, delete, edit, and then tweak to death.

Rob-bear: All of which are abundant in the world . . . even the crazy politicians, unfortunately.

I enjoy thinking while washing the dishes, too. We don't have a mechanical dishwasher, either, so there's ample opportunity.

Flying high in the sky: I'm glad you think they are! And while I may not go through all of these at once, I do experience some of them. :P

Trisha: Great goal! I meant to start writing more book reviews again this year, but it's August now and I have certainly failed at that one.

Natasha: Awesome. I keep meaning to maintain my list, but the ideas on it are old: I don't update it enough.

J.L.: Thanks!

It's always nice to see a blog post series, especially if the posts themselves can stand on their own.

Brinda: I've done that--it can be interesting to read people's opinions on a subject. And then they do all the writing, too. ;)

Duncan: I like your strategy!

Petty Witter: Thank you.

Hope there is chocolate in abundance around you, then. :)

Stuart: May your writing inspiration return soon! I've been in spells like that--they're awful, aren't they?

Tyrean: I wish we could have a dog. I'm sure that's good for writing. ;)

I think I'm too random for themes as well!

Michael: I think your posts are a good length. Long enough so your thoughts are spelled out and short enough so people can respond without writing an entire essay/post in response (though I've noticed many commenters write very long comments anyway, which is pretty interesting).

Anthony: Thank you. :)

Rachna: Can't live without eating and drinking. Hey, maybe I'll just start claiming I'm "living" when I'm procrastinating!

Laughingwolf: LOL. Yup, they do.

Carrie: I need to update my list more often. I have one . . . it's just not added to very often, or I lose what I've written down on physical paper.


Madeleine: I thought about changing the list to How To Write A Novel or something, but decided other posts I've done were too close.

Sangu: I'm glad you liked it! :) Hope the list comes in handy. LOL.

Carol: And a great post about trees it was.

Charles: Refinancing the idea bank can be hard. Hope you find a source of inspiration!

Nancy: Thank you!

I think I need to discipline myself, too.

Good to see you back in the blogosphere. :)

The Golden Eagle said...

Carol: Thanks!

I post 2-3 times a week usually, though for the A-Z Challenge it was 6 days a week. Any more than 2-3 for the rest of the year would probably drain me, too. :P

Deniz: Thank you. :)

LOL. Yeah, it would be! Though frustrating, to be sure . . .

Theresa: Maybe. ;)

I agree, promoting someone's book is always good!

Ciara: I've felt like falling asleep while blogging/writing, too.

Medeia: I haven't been doing as many blogfests this year. Not that I don't enjoy them, but I've been feeling cramped for time and they do have a tendency to take up a lot of it, in my experience.

Susan: Aw, thank you. And I'm trying!

Terry: It is a word, right? I've heard it used as "fool around", but maybe it's not common elsewhere . . .

You're always welcome at The Eagle's Aerial Perspective. :)

Hilary: It sounds like you put a lot of thought into your posts. Your blog is very well written!

Milo: Thanks. ;)

Indeed! It's great to read about your W1S1 progress/successes.

Shelley said...

Haha, love this post Golden Eagle! I usually seek out my inspiration in songs, other posts, looking through photography, and thinking about my life at the moment. :)

Christina Farley said...

Great ideas! Thanks for sharing. Lots of things rolling in my head now.

Paul Tobin said...

Ha ha ha- you have neatly described my mental process last Friday when faced with the need to post but no ideas. This post made me laugh, you have such a light touch, it works very well for comedy.

Elise Fallson said...

"Oh, fickle bird of inspiration! To what far shore have you flown?" -Lars

I'm so having trouble with this right now. If you have an epiphany, let me know. (:

Talli Roland said...

I'm pretty much a spur of the moment person, which in the summer has lead to some rather lame post! Still, I don't want my blog to be work - I want to have fun with it, even if it does mean not taking it uber seriously.

Simon Kewin said...

I used to stress about it a bit and try to stick to a schedule. Now I just post when something comes to me, I must admit.

Connie Keller said...

Wow! Have you been looking over my shoulder?! That's exactly what I do too.

cleemckenzie said...

I do a lot of what you do and add a long walk when I'm still stuck.

I dig through a purple folder (the color wasn't significant when I chose it, but now it is for the nature of the prose it often inspires) where I've stuffed all kinds of trivia to generate the "desperation post."

I also steal ideas, shamelessly.

Can you add these to your list? Oh, and then post it all again in a few months. That's another "I'm out of blogging ideas" strategy. I call it my deja vu post.

Maurice Mitchell said...

Great list. Funny but still interesting.

The Golden Eagle said...

Shelly: Glad you liked it! :)

Those are good sources of inspiration.

Christina: You're welcome!

Paul: Thank you! I hoped it would make someone laugh.

Elise: Love that quote.

Haven't had any epiphanies yet . . . :P

Talli: You've had some great posts this summer, IMO. Your blog's always fun to visit. :)

Simon: Sounds like a good plan to me. Posts seem to be of higher quality when they're inspired.

Connie: LOL. Nope, just examining my own head.

Cleemckenzie: Sometimes I go for walks, too. It can be quite rejuvenating.

I like the sound of that strategy! It allows for newer readers to find new content and for older ones to read something they enjoyed in the past (assuming they enjoyed in the first time, of course).

Maurice: Thank you. :)

Jen Chandler said...

This post is great! I love them all :D I'll be saving this. Right now, I'm seriously struggling for post ideas!However, if I am still struggling when I post again, I may just link to this post! HA!


Jay Noel said...

If I Rickrolled people, I fear they'd NEVER read my blog!

These days, I can only blog once a week, so coming up with stuff isn't too difficult.

Plus, I have seven years of stuff to re-post if the well is dry!

Michael Di Gesu said...

Witty, charming, fun, put a huge smile on my face. Thanks for the lighthearted and amusing post, Golden.

I usually just wing it. Something usually comes to mind when I wish to post. Thankfully passion gets me through it.

Gotta love what your write, right?

The Golden Eagle said...

Jen: Thank you!

LOL. Links are always welcome, of course. ;)

Jay: Me, too. No one would trust The Eagle's Aerial Perspective again, I fear, if I linked to the rickroll video.

Michael: You're welcome. :)

Very true.

Livia said...

I write posts as I think of them and when there's something good that deserves blogging about.

It's tough thinking of ideas to write for a blog because you don't want repeated posts, ideas, topics, etc.

When I have nothing to write for my blog, I write about the Blogosphere - there's plenty of topics to touch on the Blogosphere (eg. followers, comments, spam, Blogger in general, etc.)

This is an excellent post! Thanks.

The Golden Eagle said...

Livia: True! There's always something in the blogosphere that could be discussed in a post. :)

You're welcome! I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Memzie said...

These are good! I am going to have to remember these.

The Golden Eagle said...

Memzie: LOL. Thanks.