I was just reading “16 Tips for Blog Idea Brainstorming” to try and kick myself out of my latest dose of writer’s block. I’m slowly coming to the realization that it’s not writer’s block that I’m experiencing, but rather “pudding brain” (or some scientific explanation therein). Pudding is a wonderful substance. It has great things mysteriously captured within it and converted into the silky, sweet bliss that is puddin’. It’s worthless really, but wonderful in the moment. At some point though, you may realize that you’ve eaten 13lbs of pudding and now you’re having trouble getting up from the couch…let alone back to solid foods. So pudding brain is something like that. Others may refer to it as a sort of mental hiatus. But when you’re on a mental hiatus, you can only come up with puddin’ brain.
Tangents aside, the 16 tips that John Pozadzides offers are decent enough, if not mostly well known. I did find one real error in John’s ideas. It doesn’t take into consideration those afflicted with Pudding Brain. I hit Thoof on his list of aggregators to read – one I hadn’t seen before – and got really stuck. It’s one of those new-fangled aggregators that automatically load more items as you get closer to the end of the scrolling page. You can waste a lot of time there!
There’s something to be said for focus. Hitting the hot spots on the web for news is well and good, but it’s probably more productive to focus on those places that can offer you something to comment on, rather than simply steal your attention away from what you came there to do. Sites like YouTube, Thoof, and even Digg (though less so for me) are real time sinks. When it comes to blog idea hunting, I have more success trusting my own RSS aggregation. It may have a lot of the same stuff, but it’s interspersed with other sources and is slightly less accessible because RSS is abstracted from the website. I also like the idea of hitting the unpopular sites our there with very specific information to get ideas. It’s more likely to be original and it’s probably something you’re very specifically interested in.
Now, that said; I haven’t been inspired to write about much lately. But it’s not so much about my sources as it is my own intentions. The number one tip for blog idea brainstorming is this:
Take an interest in what you have to say.
If you have no interest, you have no story. You can see right through a post that is paying lip service to its readers by reposting content someone else has written. John mentions in his tips that he goes the extra mile to do some research on topics he is reposting. That’s exactly the right idea in my mind. He’s taken an interest and is providing original commentary on a popular topic.
So in between original content I fill in with interesting things I find elsewhere, or current news events. But I don’t just re-post other people’s content.