Maybe you have a science blog and are constantly searching for new ways to make t-cells interesting. Maybe you have a fashion blog, and you’re always on the lookout for the next big trend. No matter what type of blog you host or writing you do, there inevitably comes a time when your own ideas grind to a halt. Unfortunately, when this happens, it is more than just writers’ block. When you become so engrossed in one particular subject, even though you may be able to write about it for hours on end, the real struggle becomes finding the inspiration to take your writing to a new level or in a different, fresher, direction.
Why is this important?
Blogs are meant to function as a sort of real-time commentary on whatever their subject matter may be. There are no editors, no deadlines, no advertisers (at least, hopefully, none that dictate content) and no publisher. The beauty of a blog is the fact that it is a self-made information vehicle, that can, truly, be anything the maker wants it to be. Blogs, particularly specialized blogs, are so attractive to readers because they know that they are getting first-hand information from a source that hasn’t been filtered, top-down, through layers and layers of writers, editors or publishers. Blogs have the ability to be fresh, up-to-the-minute, documents on any number of topics. This, however, cannot happen if the blogger is stuck in a framework that he can’t see his way out of. The trick to keeping your blog fresh is to constantly search for ways to keep it relevant and to provide new kinds of information and ideas that haven’t been covered before.
So, how can we find new inspiration? Especially if our blogs are very specific?
First, look in different places. The first thing most bloggers do before they start a new post idea is search the news for articles related to their subject matter. If you have a blog about teaching, you would probably search for any kind of education-related news stories and see if anything sparks your interest. This is a great first step in the search for new story ideas. However, it is also important to expand your search to mediums that you may not have thought to investigate.
Magazines, scientific journals, music and movies are also great vehicles for current thought and new ideas. If you have a food-related blog, try seeking out some scientific research on early childhood development. Do children taste food in the same ways as adults? Why are our earliest memories of our favorite foods so poignant in our minds? Check out movies or documentaries that have to do with cooking. Being in touch with popular culture, and finding a new way to connect your material to something fresh on people’s minds (like a new movie) is one of the best ways to keep your blog relevant and stretch your own imagination and writing prowess.
Also, a great thing to do is follow other bloggers. Most bloggers probably already keep tabs on blogs within their topic area. However, it is also good to, once in a while, drop the need to strive toward an end result when searching for information in other blogs. Instead of following mainly blogs that have to do with your own blog, and only a few blogs related to other interests, try to expand the amount of completely unrelated blogs that you follow. Take the pressure off, and allow yourself to maniacally follow the drama-filled blog of an L.A. Movie producer or the completely serene photo blog with some of the most beautiful portraits you’ve ever seen. The more you expand your own interests and knowledge of what other bloggers are doing, the more you will be able to gain perspective on your own work, and even draw connections that you would have never drawn before.