Five tips for coming up with ideas

I’m one of those lucky bloggers who always has more ideas than time. But from what I read, it’s obvious some people aren’t so fortunate.

Let me share my five top tips:
1. Express your opinions about what you read, hear and observe
2. Recycle current content
3. Update older content
4. Respond to observations and questions you receive in your comments and other forums
5. Draw inspiration from your work and personal life.

Express your opinion about what you read, hear and observe
I’m assuming you try to stay up to date on your area of expertise. I’m also assuming you have opinions. Of course, you’re not always at the computer when they strike, so carry around a notebook or someplace else to jot them down.

If you’re one of those people who does not have strong opinions or the confidence to share them, maybe blogging isn’t for you. You can’t be shy.

Recycle your current content
I also write a regular email newsletter, so I go back and forth, revising the content to better reflect what works best in each medium and the different target readers.

If you’re producing content in another format, whether it’s updates to your website or tweets, consider how you can recycle it.

Update older content
I’ve written on related topics for a number of publications and clients. If I need to do a quick post and I’m stuck, I review past material and update it, to reflect developments, as well as the needs of this medium and its audiences. I also find that after I’ve had some distance from some content, I can always think of ways to improve it.

So dust off that old filing cabinet or external drive and see what’s in there. You may rediscover all sorts of magic content in your vault.

Respond to others
This post was inspired by a blogger who quoted me on the importance of quality over quantity. The writer also expressed frustration with the need to keep coming up with ideas, a concern I have heard again and again.

Many of my recent and upcoming posts respond to feedback I received on What’s your biggest writing challenge?, in the comments as well as LinkedIn discussions, email and personal conversations.

What better way to start a conversation than to ask and answer questions.

Draw inspiration from your work and personal life
I often share what I have learned from working on a project. It’s very satisfying.

I also post about words that annoy me, making a mental or written note when I come across them, then drafting the post when I’m in one of those moods when venting is fun.

I will reference my personal life when it backs up the point I’m trying to make. But seeing as this isn’t a personal confessional blog, I spare you from reading about my future singing star daughter, what my son found on Youtube today, why my almost-blind father feels he’s safe to cycle, the cute way my dog is looking at me, which friend is going gray fastest, today’s garden delight, the mysterious squeak in my car… Enough? I thought so.

My point? If it’s something people who read my blog are interested in, then it’s an idea I can use.

I realize I’m not the only idea machine. So please share what works for you.