Guest post by Blog Manager Robbi Hess
For the past month, I have been pretty much housebound; when that happens, it's hard to find motivation to write because let's face it… you have no exposure to new ideas, people, the world in general. Sure, Henrietta is an ongoing source of amusement, but after a while even I have to admit she is not completely up on current events and I need to look at outside sources. If you find yourself in a rut and if you're looking to be a more productive writer you need to take steps to make it happen. Have you ever asked yourself, "Am I really writing as much as I'd like to be and am I writing on the topic that I'm passionate about?" Is it time to get a brainstorming session set up?
Granted, there are times when it is hard to come up with new ideas and you find yourself reusing ideas you've written about before. If you want to prevent the dreaded writer's block you should consider journaling. I'm not talking, "Dear Diary…" type writing, but journaling as in, carrying a journal or an electronic recorder with you to record thoughts and ideas.
It's very unlikely that inspiration will simply strike. You need to go out and find it! Here are some tips to help you open your mind to more writing ideas, possibilities and even publishing opportunities. You'll find that the more you open yourself to ideas, the more ideas will come to you.
Leave the house: The cliché of the writing toiling away in solitude is not going to garner any ideas. Leave the house. Don't leave the house without taking something to record your thoughts – a notebook, a tape recorder, index cards, etc. Ideas will strike at the most inopportune times and the chances of your being able to remember it once you're safely ensconced at your desk are fleeting.
Revamp and reuse ideas: If you're writing a piece and it's too long, save the words or phrases that you need to cut and look at them for inspiration later. Put them on a separate document and label it "ideas" or "orphans" and go back to what you've cut when you need new ideas. For example, if you're writing a Top Ten List and find it's turned into a Top Fifteen list – keep those additional five for future use.
Slant it differently: If you've written a piece on organizing your house for a family magazine, change the slant and re-write the article for a trade publication on organization. Additionally, every time you write an article step back and see what other markets you could use that article for. Target your article even further – as an example – How To Spring Clean Your House or How To Clean For Holiday Gatherings. Talk to experts in the field and viola you have found several different takes on the original idea.
Do you have a particular platform: If you have a particular focus – specialty – you will not only be the go-to person in that area but the more you publish in a specific area, the more momentum you will build. Keep in mind as well, the more you write in a particular area, the more information and background you will gather; you'll have more assets from which to choose.