Struggling to find things to write about?
Staring at an empty page… AGAIN?
If you write long enough, sooner or later you’ll hit the blank page wall.
You know what I mean — when your creativity is zapped and you’re desperate for ideas.
Look, even seasoned writers hit the wall at some point.
But here’s the good news:
With the right know-how, you can generate your own fresh ideas, easily, every day.
And in this post, you’ll learn 7 tips that professional writers use to keep their idea-generating momentum running at full throttle.
So, let’s break down that blank page wall and get you writing.
7 Tips to Figure Out What to Write About
We’ve also shared 11 writing prompts with each tip, giving you a total of 77 stellar topics to tinker with.
1. Channel Your Inner Child
What does a child know about writing? Probably nothing.
But children ask questions. Lots of questions.
So when you are stuck for great ideas of what to write about, channel your inner child and let the questions rip.
Who? What? When? Where? How? And especially Why?
These are your best friends when you need something to write about.
Pick your favorite topic and start asking endless questions.
Then, of course, the next step is to start writing those answers! You’ll be amazed how simply framing an idea as a question makes you compelled to answer it (AKA start writing).
Choose your topic or keyword and then stimulate your writing focus by asking question after question until you find an inspiring angle. Don’t filter yourself at first. Just get your creative juices flowing again.
If your topic is “viral blog posts”, create a unique focus through questions:
- Who wrote the first viral blog post?
- What makes a blog post go viral?
- When did viral blog posts become every writer’s goal?
- Where should you insert images or videos to help a post go viral?
- How do you write a viral blog post?
- Why do some posts go viral and others don’t?
- How can you maximize the benefits of a viral blog post?
- What if your blog posts never go viral?
- Who has written the most viral blog posts?
- Which style of blog posts goes viral most often?
- Is there a method for consistently writing viral blog posts?
2. A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words
If you’re having trouble getting started, a great picture can be all the inspiration you need to get rolling.
Challenge yourself to paint that picture with one thousand words.
Describe it in detail.
Create the backstory of how or why that picture came to be.
Take your readers on the adventure of what is about to happen next.
Whether you choose a sunrise, an ocean scene, an office desk, a crowded meeting room, a flip chart of words – any picture can become the inspiration for a great blog post, short story or full-length novel.
Want an even bigger challenge? Write the story of that picture in 100 words. Or in only 10.
Try free stock photo sites like Unsplash, iStock, or Pixabay and enter your topic in the search bar. Find a picture and describe it in explicit detail. You can even circle back to tip #1 and ask key questions about the picture.
Image ideas to search for:
- Dream states
- Early retirement
- Freelance writing
3. Toy With Your Emotions
Great writing elicits emotion. But when you’re facing off with the blank page, the only emotion you may be relating to is frustration.
That’s a pretty limited point of view to inspire creativity from.
Instead, run through a list of power words and choose something that inspires you. Then focus your writing to generate that specific emotion.
You’ll be amazed how quickly your frustration melts into a wave of creative writing that gets your ideas out of your head and onto the page.
Use the Smart Blogger list of Power Words to find inspiration in any one of the seven main emotions: Fear, Encouragement, Lust, Anger, Greed, Safety, and Forbidden.
And don’t just take the easiest combinations! Try challenging your creative skill by pairing unusual power words with your topic. This is where the magic of true originality begins.
For example, using the “Encouragement” power word list, try writing about:
- Fearless + Writing
- Ferocious + Freelancing
- Unforgettable + Business plan
- Celebrate + Bankruptcy
- Perfect + Failure
- Life-changing + Retirement
- Triumphant + Failure
- Conquer + Writer’s block
- Jaw-dropping + Adventure travel
- Epic + Travel
- Effortless + Health
4. Tried and True . . . . And Trendy!
No need to reinvent the wheel when you are stuck trying to figure out what to write about. The internet is FULL of the latest trends to inspire you.
Whether you pick a topic you adore or one you loathe, there is always a rant or a rave to be had when cruising through the chart-topping trends.
Writing about something hot and trendy can set you up for an easy win. Try combining this with methods 1, 2, or 3 for even more bang for your creative buck.
A quick run-through YouTube Trends gives us topics like:
- The world’s largest truck
- I bought my dream house
- Embarrassing childhood stories
- Musical trends
- Making money online
- Celebrity news
- Movie trailers
- Clickbait hacks
- Sports highlights
5. Work Backwards
No, I don’t mean sit with your back to the screen – no one ever wrote the next viral blog post that way! I mean start at the end.
Struggling to nail that engaging intro can slow your writing flow to a dead stop. If you switch your focus to your ending, it’s easier to get words on the page.
What is your key takeaway? What is the one thing you want your readers to remember when they leave your post?
Start with that and build your way backwards to the introduction. By the time you get to what becomes your grand opening hook, writing it will be so much easier.
Craft your introduction to mirror your conclusion. Give them a teaser of what you have to say.
And voila, you’ve just completed your first post backward!
Here are 11 take-home message ideas that can help inspire you to craft your own versions:
- Build your own savings plan now
- Vote in the next election
- Don’t ruin the remote destination you visit
- Buy this product (course, service, experience, coaching)
- Do these 5 things to fight climate change.
- Eat a vegan diet
- Eat a flexitarian diet
- Never diet again
- Learn more about writing introductions
- Watch these top 5 movies
- Netflix is the best streaming service
6. Slip Out of Your Skin
Sooner or later, most writers get too caught up in their own point of view.
So counteract your own navel-gazing, by slipping into another skin.
What drives someone to feel a different way than you do? What are their main concerns? What makes them get up in the morning? What limits their chances of success?
Walk in someone else’s shoes and you can unleash a whole new world of things to write about.
If you focus on one age group, what would a younger or older reader think about it?
What would it be like to be the dog in your story? How about the cat?
For example, if you focus on retirement at 65, try a new twist by asking:
- How would a 20- or 30-something person approach retirement?
- What would an 80-year old retiree tell someone ending their careers at 65?
- Could you retire at 55 instead?
- What do dogs think about retirement?
- How does retirement affect your adult children?
- What if your spouse keeps working after you retire?
- Is retirement different in different countries?
- What are the community benefits to retirement?
- How does retirement look once you die?
- Why do some people never retire?
- What should you teach your children about retirement?
7. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
The three R’s aren’t just about saving the environment. They can save you from writer’s block too!
Reduce means cutting your word counts. How can you take the main messages out of your top-performing posts and hone them down into the smallest word count possible? Say the same thing with fewer words.
Reuse means to play it again. Take key concepts from your existing content and repackage it into new versions. Mind mapping works great for this and can help you find new connections to the same topic.
Recycle means to give something new life. If you have content that underperformed, this is a great opportunity to explore how best to convert it into something new again.
Try applying tip 4 or 6 to your old content to generate new things to write about from something old or past its prime.
- Reduce: Convert a 1500 word post into its 150-word essence for social media shares.
- Reduce: Take any of your posts and cut the word count by half.
- Reuse: Convert each of your subheads into posts you can link to.
- Reuse: Brainstorm 10 related topics to an existing post’s theme.
- Recycle: Using tip 4, link your old content to the latest trends.
- Recycle: Using tip 6, rewrite your favorite song or poem using a new perspective.
- Recycle: Create the contrarian view of an existing post.
- Reuse: Write the “How to” of your existing post.
- Reduce/Recycle: First distill the essential message of your top post and then use tip 5 to work backwards to create new supporting evidence that gets you to this same conclusion.
- Reuse: Study your competition for page 1 Google results and repackage the information into your own version.
- Recycle: Take the concepts from another writer’s top-performing posts and give them a new lease on life by updating them in your own words.
77 Things to Write About – Now Keep Going
You don’t need generic idea lists to break the blank page wall.
You already know what to write about.
Try using these 7 tips alone or in combination, to generate unique content ideas around your favorite topics and to unleash endless writing inspiration.
In the end, you’ll reach a point where the blank page is your best friend, just waiting for you to fill it with your own original works.
You have all the tools you need now to find things to write about every day.
Let me know which tip inspires you the most.