“How do you find article ideas?” When I announced on Social Media that I was doing a 30-day writing challenge (one post/day), that’s one of the questions that I received.
A friend of mine explained that she wasn’t sure how to come up with topics to write about.
My friend’s question prompted me to think about what helped me find article ideas. I wrote a response where I shared my current take on it and then got back to my daily writing. Over the following days, my inspiration flowed and I had no trouble figuring out what to write about.
Then, Day 14 arrived and I had no clue what to write about. As I was sitting there, I once again pondered my friend’s question.
This time, I was able to contemplate it at a deeper level.
In so doing, I discovered the secret to finding article ideas with ease. (If you're stuck for reasons beyond not knowing what to write about, check out my article on how to get back into writing.)
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The secret to finding article ideas with ease:
Questions elicit answers. Our brain is hardwired to want to come up with answers when we ask it a question.
You can use that when trying to come up with article ideas.
For instance, which article would be easier for you to write:
- “An exploration of relaxation techniques” or
- “How can I relax after work?”
Most writers will find it easier to write the second article because it is phrased in the form of a question.
The easiest way to come up with an article idea quickly is to look for a specific question you can answer in your writing.
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Let's explore how you can put this into practice.
6 ways to find questions that can serve as article ideas:
1. Use a writing prompt
You can find a lot of article prompts online but here are 3 easy ones to get you started.
What is your favorite book and why?
“My favorite book is Man’s Search for Meaning because I learned so much from it. Here are the life lessons I took away…”
What is a common adage that you think is stupid?
“I think Winston Churchill’s saying to ‘Never Ever Ever Give Up’ is stupid because sometimes, giving up is the right thing to do. For instance, here are situations where quitting is the right thing to do…”
What is a life tip you have coined?
2. Use someone else's questions as an article idea
The quickest way to do this is to ask someone: “What is a question/problem/dilemma you’re currently dealing with?”
When they give you an answer, turn that into a question you can then explore in your article. For instance, when I asked about this on Social Media, a person wondered how they could decide on a career path if they have many interests.
Here’s the answer I explored in my article: “How can you pick a career when you have many interests?”
You can also search through your memory, your Social Media messages, or your email inbox to find questions people have.
3. Google a topic and look at questions people ask
For instance, here’s what I found when searching for “how to come up with writing ideas”:
4. Write an article about something you’re angry or annoyed about
Write an article where you answer the question “Why does XYZ annoy you?” You can later change the title.
For instance, I wrote an article that was essentially answering the question: “Why don’t you like Instagram?” I changed that article to the punchier headline “Instagram is the Devil’s Spawn.”
5. What is a challenge you’re currently dealing with?
If you have a challenge you’re currently dealing with, you can use that as the topic of your article. Doing that can have the positive side effect of actually solving your issue.
For instance, when I found it hard to be productive, I wrote an article about it. Not only was it a good article (I think), but it also helped me resolve the challenge in my life.
6. What is something you are curious about?
If you want to stretch yourself by doing research and deep thinking, you can write an article based on a question you haven’t yet found the answer to.
7.Have someone ask you a question and record yourself answering that question
This is more of a meta-tip. Typically, people find it easier to talk than to write (presumably, because talking feels more relational).
If you have a question and still find it hard to start writing, record yourself talking it out with someone and then use the transcript as the basis for your article.
Writing is scary but it has so many benefits. However, sometimes it can be challenging to find out what you want to write about.
By using the approaches I shared above, you should be able to come up with article ideas and publish them in no time… just like I did in this article today!
From one writer to another: happy writing!
To connect more with the unique perspective (or superpower) you bring to the world, you might like to take this quiz:
If you are unsure what you would like to do for a living, I also recommend this free mini-course:
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