We all experience brain freeze, writer’s block, idea amnesia or whatever else you want to call it but we know we have to write something. Our audience is relying on us, waiting for the post to appear and we have nothing to write about. While I use the ‘traditional’ forms of inspiration like looking at LinkedIn discussions, trending topics on Twitter, other blogger’s content, Google Alerts and news sites like Mashable and Techcrunch, here are 5 more unusual places you may find some inspiration when you are just simply stuck.
1. The bathroom
I get a ton of inspiration during moments when I am completely focused on another task (I am not talking about sitting on the throne people!) I am talking about cleaning the bathroom, blow drying your hair, shaving your face, taking a shower, etc. Go clean your house, mow the lawn, plant some cucumbers, make some muffins, whatever. Just set your mind on something else and let the ideas come to you. Make sure to have a notepad nearby to scribble down thoughts when they do show up.
2. Your parents and other family members
If you read a ton of blogs like I do, you will start to see stories slip in about family life, children and weekend events and holiday parties. Why not let these inspire you to write and share them? People love the personal connection between your ‘offline’ life and their online one with you. It may have absolutely nothing to do with your topic at hand, but it has to do with you and your audience is there to be a part of a community and that means so much more than business speak sometimes.
3. The tabloids
Did another alien baby just come into the world yesterday? How can you turn this into a unique piece of content that your audience would want to read? Using celebrity names and media events will also help your SEO juice and drive more traffic. It may sound silly to write a post about how Lady Gaga or J.Lo’s attention-grabbing wardrobe is analogist to the first impression of a website and how important first looks really are. But your audience will get it.
4. Your PR agency
Use your PR agency for content ideas! Marketers don’t often think about this one and its right in front of you. In fact, your agency should be suggesting it themselves and asking you what you plan to produce over the next 30-60 days. Reach out to them and tell them you are stuck. If you have any ideas, run them by your team and see what they think. Ask them to brainstorm for content ideas for blogs, whitepapers, infographics, survey studies, etc. and have them send you a list and proposed calendar.
5. Your sock drawer
Any Sex in the City fans out there? Remember the one when Carrie Bradshaw was stuck and couldn’t find any men or relationships to write about? So what did she do? She wrote about men as socks. Seriously. Have you considered how your socks could be an analogy to something relevant to your audience? How about just sharing a personal post about you and talk about how you secretly wear polka-dot socks every Friday for good luck? I’m only half kidding about this one but if you do write a post about it, please share! I would love to read it!
Sometimes the best thing to do when you are stuck is to go do something else as I suggested in point #1. I always keep a running list either in a word doc, on a whiteboard or in a notepad of ideas that I write down as soon as I think of them. Occasionally, I may just start writing about one and may finish or not. I have a bazillion blogs in the ‘almost done’ bucket just waiting for me to go back when my brain is re-charged and ready to hit it again.
Where do you get inspiration when you are stuck?