How Do You Find Ideas When You’re Stressed, Stuck, and Behind on Deadlines?

Being suck and looking at a blank page — okay, Google Doc — is the worst. You had all of these ideas spinning around through your head and then someone knocked on your door and what was it you were doing again? Okay, just me? That’s fine.

Anyway, I was stuck. I went back to my Blog Drafts folder on Google Drive and found this idea from 2018. I’m pretty sure it came from my good friend Carol Stephen. But I’m also calling an audible and using my #10 tip to ask Warren Laine-Naida for some help, too.

Because the point of the article is this: you have ideas, they’re just hiding from you. (Isn’t that annoying of them?)

Top 10 Sources for Ideas

You can tap one or all of these sources to help you find ideas. In no time you’ll know what to write about.

We don’t need you to be stressed and we don’t want you to struggle. Writing should come as naturally as possible. The more you do it, the more comfortable you become.

  1. Quora
  2. Your Tweets
  3. What Do People Always Ask You?
  4. Your Pain Point Journal
  5. Take a Stance
  6. Facebook Groups
  7. Meetings
  8. Books You Read
  9. Art
  10. Ask A Friend

Get Ideas from Quora

Quora is one of my favorite places to get ideas when I’m stuck writing. Why? People are asking questions. Sometimes they seem ridiculous but maybe that’s the point. We get so focused on our own industry that we forget people have legitimate questions. Maybe someone else gave an answer you don’t agree with. That’s even better. It helps you clarify your position. 

I’ve started a short series (and I need to get back to it) answering questions in a video. Videos can be embedded in your blog post and then you’ve knocked out quite a few angles. 

Get Ideas from Your Tweets

You’re tweeting, right? The things you tweet are great topics for blog posts. The whole Twitter Thread Trend (say that five times fast) instead of a blog post is a big mistake. Why? Well, you don’t own the platform. When you publish content on your own website, it will only be shut off if you forget to pay GoDaddy for your DNS. (Oops).

Look at some of your tweets. Copy and paste those into a Google Doc. I bet you have about ten headlines for blog posts waiting to be written. 

Get Ideas from Questions People Always Ask You

What questions do people repeatedly ask you? Those are great topics for blog posts. This is what has always fueled my writing; I write to teach. Someone asks me a question and I answer it either in a video or a blog post (probably both).

The next time someone asks you a question, write it down in a journal. This is something I advocate heavily for in my ebook, “If You Don’t Mind Your Business, Who Will?

Get Ideas from Your Pain Point Journal

Yeah. That journal you’re keeping. I like a physical journal to record pain points because it’s not as distracting as opening up a Google Doc in your drafts folder because then you’re going down the rabbit hole and looking at the bookshelves and having conversations with yourself. Oh wait. You’re still here. Yes, I’m Alice many days. Write your rants down. What annoys you? What do you wish people knew?

Write.

It.

Down.

Get Ideas from Your Beliefs

Most people are afraid to take a stand. Once you get over that fear, you’ll see that you have plenty of ideas of what to write about for your company’s blog. Don’t be a jerk, of course. But if you have issues with lazy loading images in WordPress, then write about it. Take a stand. Does it need to be addressed in WordPress 5.7? (It is, by the way.) 

Maybe your company is a CDN and you want lazy loading images instead of overly compressed pixelated craptastic images. Believe in something; express it. You will attract your tribe. And customers come from that tribe.

Get Ideas from Facebook Groups

Facebook Groups are maybe one to two steps above Quora with the number of questions asked. People love helping other people. And there’s always that guy who loves the be the one to answer. He’s retired and this is his hobby. Let him have this one. 

If you’re stuck or stressed out and it’s blocking your writing, go to a Facebook Group on the topic. You’ll have plenty of hot air to fan your flames. You’re welcome. 

Get Ideas from Meetings

If we must have meetings, then take them for all they’re worth. It surprises many people that a meeting is a source of ideas. Even if not intended as brainstorming sessions, meetings are fertile ground. Most of your great ideas lay dormant and are just waiting for a call to action. When Tom from Marketing says, “I saw a cat the other day in the back of a car …” BANG that idea laying dormant in your mind springs to life.

We can also apply this to sales calls; they are meetings as well. You learn quite a bit about your potential client or customer just from the sales call. One of my sales calls asked me to convince them to believe in social media. Another wanted me to do a presentation. Still, another wanted me to take the meeting notes. I learned good, bad, and that many perceive marketers as secretaries who polish up presentations. 

Yeah, that’s not how marketing works. See? There’s another idea.

Get Ideas from Books You Read 

If you’re reading books, and you should be, then you’re feeding your mind and your soul. You can’t create unless you consume. But how will a book give you ideas on what to write? Well, the book’s interpretation is up to you. 

“Authorial Intent is almost always fair game, meaning that how you read a book is perhaps only by chance how the author intended it to be understood. Storytelling, in any form, alerts your mind to not just a possible turn at the next corner, but often takes us into a street we had not previously considered.” Warren Laine-Naida 

I’m currently reading “Through The Looking Glass” with my friend Dwyane McDaniel. In our weekly Zoom Book Club, we started with “Alice in Wonderland.” It’s amazing how much I’ve identified with Alice and her evolving identity crisis. It’s given me a lot to think about and has changed how I write. 

Get Ideas from Art 

I don’t mean you should get on the number 19 bus and walk around the museum. Well, you could. I’ve done that. You can get blogging ideas from art if you stop and clear your mind. Watch the trees and the nettle as it climbs the chain-link fence surrounding the local impound lot. Art is all around us. The ability to reinterpret everyday objects as art forms gives our brain the chance to turn off those annoying loud noises from the expected and make space for unexpected voices.

Get Ideas from Your Friends

Friends are awesome for more than bringing over meals or ranting about whatever it is that bugs you. When you’re stressed and stuck, reach out to your friends. Firstly, you will stop thinking about yourself. Ask how they are doing for a change? Secondly, your mind will relax a bit. Thirdly, they’re smart and they know you. Ask them what they think you should write about. Then do it and give them some credit.  

I’ve done this often (and with this post). I know I need to publish once a week. Even this post is a week behind. (Better late than never, right?) The point is that you can get topic ideas from your friends. All you have to do is ask them. You can even ask Twitter or your email marketing list the next time you send out a newsletter.

How About Free Blogging Prompts?

If you’re still out of ideas, why not install my free WordPress plugin, “Launch With Words?” The free Starter Content Pack, pairs well with my ebook and gives you a year’s worth of blogging prompts. Well, enough for one post a month. It’s free, you may as well try it!

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