In Telling Lies for Fun and Profit, Lawrence Block wrote, "...when I want to write and can’t write I find myself possessed of murderous rage." I don't believe in forcing yourself to blog when you don't feel like it, because this is a hobby. It's supposed to be fun. But what about when you really do want to blog but have no idea what to blog about? So frustrating! Here are a few strategies I've collected:
- Plan ahead—I don't know about you, but my desk is littered with note cards that have ideas and notes scribbled randomly all over them. I also have notes on my phone, most of which are completely obscure even to me. For example, "Someone shows up demanding heroine save her true love whom she's never met re: Grimm." I have no idea which episode of Grimm I was referencing there, but interesting idea. Or, "The polis—people outside aren't human. Anna Karenina." Hmmm, I know I wrote that in my Ancient Greek class but I have no idea what Anna Karenina has to do with it. Still, it might fit into another idea I have in the future. Some of these ideas I'll write about when I have time, some I won't, but when you're searching for a topic it's always good to have a list of ideas somewhere to go back to.
- Read through some of your old posts—You can also go through your blog history and see if there are any posts you can expand on or update. Maybe you'll notice a theme or trend in your reading that you hadn't before, or you've been neglecting one of your features.
- Read through other blogs—Another great place for inspiration is other blogs! Naturally I don't mean stealing their content, but maybe you can curate a list of favorite posts by topic, or create a wish list of books or bookish things. You can also respond to others' posts: do you agree with a top ten list (answer: no, no one ever agrees with lists)? What would you have chosen instead? Did a certain article about a topic you care about go far enough? And so on.
- Random topic generators—If you're REALLY desperate or just feeling lucky, you can try a random topic generator. There's a ton of these all over the intertubes. A few I've come across are
- Big Huge Thesaurus http://words.bighugelabs.com/blog.php
- Blog Tap http://www.blogtap.net/blogtopicgenerator/
- Writing Exercises http://www.writingexercises.co.uk/subjectgenerator.php
- and Blog Post Idea Generator http://www.generatorland.com/glgenerator.aspx?id=122
- Go off topic—Sometimes you're just not in the mood to blog about books. So blog about something else! It may feel like cheating, but per Murphy's Law these posts usually end up being the most popular. The most popular post on my blog is the one where I basically just collected a bunch of pictures of Christopher Gorham shirtless, no joke.
Those are my strategies, but I'm sure you have your own! Share them in the comments.