Working Freelance Writer
Working Freelance Writer

Mining for Writing Ideas

Mining for Writing Ideas

The short answer is—yes. You’re ultimately in control of your writing ideas. How you present them and capture your reader’s attention is how you’re making them new. Some say there’s nothing new anymore. That everyone is rehashing the same old ideas over and over again.

If there were true, we wouldn’t have any more books to read, movies to see, sitcoms to watch in the evening—do you see where I’m going here?

There’s a new way of presenting ideas and information daily.

Where Do You start?

Mining for writing ideas can happen in a variety of ways. It all depends on your goals for information or story presentation. Think about the context in which you’d like to write:

  • Do you want to write a blog post for your website?
  • Have you found markets for an article or story focusing on a specific niche?
  • Does a client want you to pitch ideas for articles, blogs, case studies, white papers, or other pieces of content?
  • Are you interested in breaking into a particular market and are looking for ideas for that?

Narrow Your Focus

Determining the purpose of your content makes finding ideas a more straightforward process. Let’s say you want to write a blog post for your website. For this example’s sake, let’s say your blog is about Finding Sustainable Hotel Accommodations Across the World.

#1: You’ve already established your niche topic: Sustainability.

#2: Your target audience is already determined: those looking for hotel accommodations featuring sustainability and “green” features.

So, you’ve already taken two critical steps toward narrowing your focus.

Mine for Ideas

Using our example above, you can use an assortment of ways for tackling topics and mining for ideas.

  • Complete a hotel review that includes the location, amenities, and highlights their green and sustainable features.
  • How are hotels embracing sustainability?
  • Why are hotels jumping on board with going green?
  • Is this a movement more hotels are going to embrace?
  • Do travelers make this a priority when picking accommodations?
  • Are more countries utilizing green and sustainability than others for hotels?
  • Is it difficult for travelers to find sustainable accommodations?
  • What are hotels doing to continue to improve stainability?
  • How is hotel sustainability trending in the future?

Continue Experimenting

Now, that’s just one example of how you can mine for ideas. Say you want to try something entirely different from what you’re used to writing. How do you find ideas for that kind of writing? Do you sit in front of your computer and stare at the screen and wish for ideas?

That’s one tactic you can try. {smiles} It might frustrate you after a few minutes, though. (Or, it might work. I’ll wait . . . Did it work? You can let me know in the comments.) Other strategies you can try are:

Reading:

A prolific writer can’t read enough. I believe that there’s no such thing as reading too much. If you don’t have a Kindle, I recommend getting one and checking out the thousands of offerings they have on there. I know many people who prefer reading paper copies—that’s fine, too! However, the main reason I’m recommending Kindle is that thousands of authors offer their work either for free or extremely inexpensively. Yes, this isn’t new information. It’s worth the reminder, though.

People Watching:

I don’t mean stalking because that’s weird and, well, criminal. What I mean here is, the next time you’re sitting in a library, waiting room, or anywhere else there’s other people, pay attention. What do they like to read? Can you see what they’re buying, ordering, or the purpose of their visit? Do they look stressed out from having to bring their children? These can all be potential writing ideas. (For example, an article about a single dad optimally juggling work, errands, and appointments.)

Don’t Let Anything Slip

We all do this—we think when we get an idea, it’s either stupid or done a million times already. Write it down somewhere anyway. You never know if that idea can be fleshed out differently, repurposed, or redeveloped. Your best bet is to keep a small notebook with you as often as possible. If that isn’t an optimal solution, think about downloading a notes app on your phone. That’s what I like to do. I have a running list of bullet point ideas in one note. Then, I have separate notes for those that I brainstorm further.

Final Thoughts

Remember that, even though it seems like nothing is new, your ideas can bring a fresh perspective to a topic. The way you write something, a take on a situation, and your opinion—these are all new. Don’t be afraid to experiment, and always write down every idea as they come.

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