How to come up with ideas for blogging

It is with great irony that I present you this article on getting more ideas to blog about. It’s not like I’m the most productive person when it comes to writing blog posts, although it’s not the lack of ideas that’s stopping me. It’s more, you know, good old procrastination that is my problem. In any case, if your problem is getting ideas, then do read on!

For me, ideas for blog posts don’t come when I consciously take a seat at the table and force myself to think about them. It’s a creative process! You have to get to know the way your mind works (I got this knowledge from the free Coursera course Learning How to Learn, btw). When you are focusing on a task your brain goes into a mode that is, very surprisingly, called “focused mode”. This mode is very good for learning new things, writing, programming, what have you. You can imagine that this mode doesn’t leave a whole lot of room for other things. It’s also a way of using your brain that cannot be continued for an entire day.

Alright, so what’s the problem here? Focused mode is generally not a great way to tap into your creativity. And creativity is what you need in order to come up with new ideas. You want to not focus on something, but rather have something like ‘unfocus’ in your brain; space for thoughts to bounce around. This mode of thinking is called the “diffused mode”.

There are ways for you to learn to listen to your diffused mode better (because you are using this mode even if you don’t even realise it). I will share some of the ways I do it and I think they will sound familiar to you.

  • When I’m mindlessly doing something, like brushing my teeth, taking a shit or staring out of the window when I’m on public transport, my thoughts go all over the place sometimes. It doesn’t take any effort. I created the habit of carrying a small notebook with me, so when I have an idea I write it down at once.
  • When I’m almost falling asleep is when I have my greatest ideas (if I may say so myself). I’m quite sure I had a brilliant idea to achieve world peace right before I fell asleep, but that was before I had a notebook in the drawer of my nightstand so that’s lost forever. I cannot tell you how often I believed my own reassuring thoughts “you’ll remember it, because it’s so important” and then I woke up next morning and I couldn’t remember a single bit. I could only remember that I had a great idea, which really convinced me that my brain is very mean and conspiring against me!
  • Reading other blogposts is great too. So many people have published great articles and I am getting inspiration from those.
  • Realise that your idea probably isn’t new, but that’s okay! Usually, people are interested to read your story because it’s coming from you! I have heard some people complain that their ideas are not interesting enough, not new enough and when I ask them about it they tell me an engaging story. So just do it, write about what you find interesting!
  • Put down your phone. This device, that has given us amazing things, also comes with a great curse: consumption of information, all the time, whenever there is a moment of ‘nothing’. This ‘nothing’, or boredom, or whatever you want to call it….you should savour it! This is when the “diffused mode” starts processing all the input from the day thus far. Sadly, most of us simply grab our phone to digest more information. If you can break this habit (or shall I say: addiction?) you can give your brain time to rest and process stuff for you. You’ll be amazed at what comes up.
  • If your blog is work related, extend the habit of carrying a notebook there as well. During conversations, people say interesting stuff that can spark an idea.

I hope my tips had some value to you. If you have more to add, please leave a comment! And to repeat the golden rule: always have a notebook with you so you can write down ideas immediately. And put a notebook next to your bed as well (don’t forget to put a pen next to it). You’ll thank me later. Happy blogging!

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