Close
Close

A Freelance Writer is Always Full of Ideas

writing.jpgRunning out of ideas to write about? If so – Sean Platt from Writer Dad and Ghost Writer Dad has some words of encouragement and advice for you.

The demands of running an online business or blog can be daunting. The writing requirements are easy enough at first, as our passion is inflamed and mental stamina untested. Soon enough our spirits are tested and we hit that invisible retaining wall that every blogger eventually finds themselves colliding against.

What on earth will I write about today? Our dashboard grows suddenly daunting and we wonder if we will ever pull another original thought from inside us. There isn’t any need to worry, for that is a well that has no bottom.

There are no limits to our thoughts, they are as endless as the breath we draw from the air that constantly swirls around us. In the past year, I’ve written the rough draft of a novel, a couple dozen children’s books, a manuscript for a young adult book, a few e-books, more than three hundred articles and archives of emails I could probably only count with a calculator.

At first, these articles were either written for my main site, Writer Dad, or guest posts related in some way. Once I entered the world of freelance, I was game to tap the keys over just about anything. In the last few months I’ve authored articles on everything from Alzheimer’s to zoology.

Do I ever run out of things to say?

No, of course not, but sometimes I find it difficult to stare down the blank page. That first slap of black smeared across the empty is always most difficult. Once I let my mind start to wander, it doesn’t matter if I’m talking green grass or gas grills, I can always settle on a perspective that is truly my own.

No blogger should ever fret for lack of fresh ideas. Running thought to vapor is inherently impossible. Once you hold the basic mechanics of writing, only your ideas need mining. Believe me, like running water you need only turn on the faucet.

When you find yourself deep in an inevitable dearth of good ideas, kick down the temporary wall in front of you. Head outside your blog and breathe the fresh atmosphere of a varied environment. Hop on the phone with a buddy, take a walk around the block; read a book or listen to some tunes. If you feel like staying in, fine, spend fifteen minutes in a favorite forum or tweeting on twitter, but feed your brain as best you can.

Our mind is easily inspired, but we cannot starve it and then expect it to feel fat.

Don’t worry about saying what someone else has said before. Your thoughts will mutate the message into something unique to you. Similar stories have been spread for thousands of years, but it is the voice inside each that makes them worth retelling.

Don’t worry about repeating yourself. We all do it. I’m doing it right now. Deja Vu doesn’t matter, so long as you’re spreading your message in a slightly different way (hopefully better then the last time) to a slightly different audience. Make sure you’re honest, passionate and fully articulate to the best of your ability.

I admit, the only times I find it difficult to fly is when I have next to zero interest in work beyond the paycheck. Even then the solution is simple. When I find myself faced with a subject that does little to light my imagination, I slip in through the back door. A quick Google search will yield a wealth of stories on any given subject. I find one that leaves me inspired, read it, then hit the keys renewed.

Writing is my profession. Like any job, it isn’t always fun. Sometimes it’s necessary to bend my beak to the page and peck away until finished. Even at my most tired, when fear and doubt and worry come to crawl between my ears and worm inside my mind, at least I know a lack of ideas will never suspend my momentum.

Being a writer means my thoughts are always bouncing about with barely any boundaries. Doing it for a living means I need to make sure I grab hold of every one worth writing about.

Sean Platt is a dad and freelance writer. You can grab his feed here.

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

Problogger.net runs on the Genesis Framework

Genesis Framework

The Genesis Framework empowers you to quickly and easily build incredible websites with WordPress. Genesis provides the secure and search-engine-optimized foundation that takes WordPress to places you never thought it could go.

Check out the incredible features and the selection of designs. It's that simple - start using Genesis now!

Comments

  1. Dustin Tran says:

    “Writing is your profession. Like any job, it isn’t always fun”. Yes, you are a proffessional writer!
    Good luck!!!

  2. Kari says:

    I like this guest post. I agree that repeating yourself isn’t always a bad thing. A lot of things become outdated so it’s necessary to reexamine the situation.

  3. Terry Heath says:

    Your article reminded me of a quote by C.S. Lewis: “Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it.”

    I’ve found that the more I write, the easier words come. It’s like keeping the wheel greased, I guess.

    Thanks for the article.

  4. TechMata says:

    “Writing isn’t always fun.” I strongly agree with this line. Sometimes bloggers are just forced to write so as to feed the readers. Bloggers are forced to write because it is their job where they could earn money. Just my thoughts.

  5. Tadukau says:

    Awesome! Really inspiring post. It feels i already knew that before reading this text. Good explanation.

  6. Eric Hegwer says:

    I think all too often people think a blog can only have one topic, and they need to stick to that singular idea. Take wedding photographers for instance – Almost every shooter has one, and they all have almost exactly the same content. But the really good ones talk about all sorts of things, personal and not.

  7. Comforting advice. I often feel it can be challenging to put together original and meaningful articles, but somehow manage to feel good about what I’ve written.

    I’ve been writing for pleasure my entire life, but mostly only when inspired. Trying to write quality articles 5 to 7 times a week for others can be challenging. When writing fresh content for readers we need to find that inspiration everyday and not just when it comes to us.

    Thanks, Michael

  8. You need to be passionate about the topic you like, then you will try to find out every possible thing about that topic. This will make you come out new idea on writing.

  9. Mike Goad says:

    I started reading this and then thought, “Wait a minute, this doesn’t sound like Daren,” and looked to see who the guest poster was. “It’s Sean!”

    Cool post, Sean!

  10. Christie says:

    Great post – you are right, writing is not always fun. Especially when you are writing blog posts and articles. So true that it is not a bad thing to repeat yourself – thanks for the reminder!

  11. Gini says:

    When I’m looking for inspiration, I do one of three things
    1) I reread articles that I’ve already written.
    2) I touch a pencil to my sketchbook and start drawing random lines. Eventually the lines turn into something, but I never know what it will be.
    3) I use StumbleUpon to find new things to my taste.

  12. All things have been said or written before, but they find new life when said or written in a new, different way.

  13. My best thoughts for topics to write about happen on my drive to work, as I take in everything along the way.

    If I’m stuck inside all day, doing much of nothing, I find that’s when my creative thought process becomes hindered.

    We all need interaction to be successful with anything in life, especially if you’re a writer.

    You can’t stay holed up inside your own world all the time.

  14. A great post but with freelance writing you have a lot of completion as there are a lot of freelancers out there looking for the same job you are so I don’t think freelancing is a good idea or not. I tried freelance writing my self but as I am not a good writer and spending hours for $5-10 per article is not a good thing for me because I can’t think of stuff that fast. For me I pretty much plan to stay out of freelancing. Freelancing still is a good source of money for people who can write and do stuff.

    Nice Post
    —————————————————-
    Mohammad Afaq
    Free Website Traffic

  15. Balbir says:

    a good post for those who are already into blogging, but for people like me who are new to blogging and are not expert in any topic or subject at all, what could be the solution to us, as whenever i get some interest to write for my blog, the enthusiasm lasts only for 2 days and then everything stops, i had tried to overcome this many a times but unable to do so, so please show me the way out of this

    thanks

  16. You write:

    “There are no limits to our thoughts, they are as endless as the breath we draw from the air that constantly swirls around us.”

    Sean, you really champion the notion that one can can never run out of ideas. It’s inspiring. Really reminds us that we’re not out of ideas, we’re simply not thinking.

  17. Shanel Yang says:

    As soon as I lose interest in a post I’m writing, I know it won’t be good enough for my readers, either — at least not the kind of readers I want to cultivate. So, I either do a major rewrite or delete it. (I might save it for later consideration.) In this way, I am sure to end up with the right audience for me and also I get to keep my interest level extremely high. : )

  18. I am a new blogger, but a long-time writer. I have tons of ideas that I have stacked up in my brain and on my hardrive.

    Maybe after I blog for a while, the ideas will dwindle. Currently, I write a couple of features each each for a weekly newspaper. I haven’t run out if ideas there.
    I love it!

  19. I get a lot of my ideas from reading other Blogs. Whether it is just one of the paragraphs or the whole idea and I just put my point of view of it.

  20. Lately, I’ve been feeling a bit like throwing in the towel and calling it quits on blogging. I enjoy it, but that creative stream seems to always be flowing elsewhere than the words somehow manifesting themselves on my screen.

    It seemed when I first started writing, there was a magic to it. Over time the magic has become… well not so magical. Commonplace, the norm, the routine.

    Thanks for the guest post here Sean. I’ve often felt that I shouldn’t write more than once about a given topic. Maybe I need to change that view a little and allow it to bear some new fruit.

  21. Yep totally agree about this. My free lance writer also come with some great ideas. May be she typed so many text in one day for various clients and hence also read various resources to get an idea.

    So definitely in their top floor (brain) you will get many things and information.

  22. Allie says:

    So…in a sense the well is never dry–it just needs priming.

    As far as writing only once about a topic–it made me wonder how there can be so many books on a single theme?! Write and write again.

    Sometimes I scribble with my non-dominant hand. Pictures or prose–it shakes up the brain. Try it.

    Thanks, Sean. Thoughtful post.

  23. Hate Master says:

    No job in life is always fun, but if you’re truly passionate about it, it’s a lot easier than if you’re not. Even that Australian Island caretaker job must get boring sometime. (Darren, you MUST know the job I’m talking about)

  24. SEO Tips says:

    In just over one years blogging experience I have only ever run out of things to say once, I am not sure what happened but for about 3 weeks I could not think of anything to say at all. Then one day it just clicked I started to hurl out article ideas and since then I have always had 30-40 article ideas ready to be written, now I dont have enough time to write my ideas and articles out.

    Good article.

  25. One of the best ways to come up with inspiration is to ask some questions or better yet find some questions being asked and then write an article that will answer that question.

  26. DC says:

    I completely empathize with your post Sean !! It was a really great read and it was really nice to ‘read’ someone else’s perspective on the same thought that has been crossing my mind for a while now but I haven’t been able to form it into words like you have.

    I shall definitely work on that now as your post has been very inspiring for a newbie blogger like myself.

  27. Some great ideas there Sean. You have helped me tackle post writing from a different angle.

    Dave

  28. Bibokz says:

    You’re fit to that title, blogger who has full of ideas.

  29. Michele says:

    Sometimes it’s necessary to bend my beak to the page and peck away until finished. <—- That’s a fun one–I love it!

    Great post, Sean. It’s entertaining, informative, and helpful. Encore! Encore!

  30. 999 says:

    As soon as I lose interest in a post I’m writing, I know it won’t be good enough for my readers, either — at least not the kind of readers I want to cultivate. So, I either do a major rewrite or delete it. (I might save it for later consideration.) In this way, I am sure to end up with the right audience for me and also I get to keep my interest level extremely high. : )
    http://www.ugg2u.net ugg

  31. i’ve seen Sean portofolio, and i think he is great writer, im gonna in touch with him soon

    thx :)

  32. Man, this post rings so true, and is very close to home. I have found often times that I stare at a blank screen. Not lacking for ideas to write about. For they are bouncing around in my brain. But the lack of creative words coming out. I am not the greatest writer. In fact I am Dyslexic do writing is even more difficult for me. But I do have a message to tell, and information to share.

    I find the more I concentrate the harder it becomes. Your suggestions to take ones mind of the actual topic but still feed the mind with great content is a fantastic tip.
    Only problem is I sure feel guilty when just reading other posts and twittereing or browsing forums. Can we consider this work, as part of our job?

  33. Charlie says:

    I sometimes have blocks where I am just not in the mood to write so I take myself away from my office and go food shopping or something that lets me interact with strangers and I find that I soon have that spark back – people are really interesting and surprisingly inspiring.

  34. Su Prieta says:

    I can relate to everything you are saying here. Although I am new to blogging, I am not new to writing. So, I have some experience with staring at the blank page. If I’m stuck, I will get up, watch some TV, take a nap or what have you. Then start again. I’ve always managed to come out with something.

    Thanks for mentioning that its ok to repeat ourselves or repeat what others have already stated. I struggle with doing this as I try to develop my own little unique angle on things. I get traffic to my site, but haven’t gotten alot of feedback, so sometimes I feel like I’m riding blind.

    But, I am persistent and can always come to this site to find content on what I have questions about.

  35. If your motivated and always excited about something or the other, you wont feel out of ideas and will always have something to say. For that you need motivation from your readers and some holidays :)

  36. I’m big on inspiration, and I can identify with “not having” any ideas. The truth is though, we never really don’t have ideas. You can trick yourself into thinking you don’t. By saying “no” to an idea, you’re telling yourself your ideas are bad.

    Don’t be afraid to write about “bad ideas” – especially for a blog. Readers can be very forgiving of your odd posts when you have a good blog. Not only that, but a writer is usually his worst critic. Sometimes to a fault. Write about those ideas. If they don’t work out, move on to something else. TRY EVERYTHING. You never know when you’re going to hit something viral.

    R. J. Spindle.

  37. Inspiring Post! You have a delightful way of writing some genuinely useful information.
    I am most excited about releasing my guilt connected with spending time hanging out in Twitter to avoid confronting my writers block. It’s OK and Yes! you are correct that if you listen carefully it can also promote creativity.
    Thanks! Sean and look forward to more of you :)

  38. Tyrone says:

    Well writing is an art and it can not be said that “only a Freelance writer is always full of ideas”, I am not agreeing with the title.

  39. Mike says:

    I know I’ve been there many times staring at a page and nothing happening…dwelling upon it only makes it worse…

    thanks for the inspiration!

  40. I enjoyed reading this article and it was a big encouragement. I liked the part where you said, “Don’t worry about saying what someone else has said before. Your thoughts will mutate the message into something unique to you.” I agree because really, there is nothing new under the sun, but it is the writer’s point of view that makes it different.

  41. Interesting post that reminds us all of our own challenges!

    Sometimes I pick up a topic and read some content on the web or from a book. Then, I think about my readers’ needs. I mold the recently read material and my own experience and knowledge into a new perspective …

    This way, I usually come up with what I write for the next post.

  42. Fatin Pauzi says:

    Yes, freelancer writer is always full with ideas. They are full with knowledge and they even can comes out with thousands ideas from a word.

    Sometimes, I also sort of lack of ideas to post in my blog. But, what I do is I find a topic that I interested to know more about it, find out what it is all about then I’ll make some reviews based on my opinion instead of copying straightly from the original content like what I saw from most of the unethical bloggers out there. :)

  43. Hi Sean. Do you tend to know when an article is going to be fun before you begin writing it, or does the fun come in once you have begun? I’ve found both to happen. Like today I wrote a post on how freelancers should market themselves in a recession – an important subject for many of the guys I speak to, so I knew it would be fun as I am addressing their needs directly. Opinion-based articles are also fun, but the enjoyment can ebb if I begin to try to get too ‘balanced’ and avoid upsetting people. I have to remind myself that it’s my blog – so I should say what I feel! Nevertheless, the fun went.

  44. Frank says:

    What I liked the most about this post is you mentioned to feel free to write something even if someone else has already written about it because you will have unique insights to the topic than someone else might have. I thought this was some great advice when writing because there have been times where I am hesitant to write about something I have seen someone else already talk about in depth. Although, if I am passionate enough of about the subject I will write my own post regardless if someone else has done the same!

  45. If we are freelance writers, we have the entire world, and beyond, to write about. If you’re feeling blocked, think of it like this: You don’t run out of ideas, you just stop looking in the right place.
    Take a look in a new spot, you might find something wonderful. It works for me!

  46. An excellent post. As a freelance writer, I certainly understand the consternation of staring at a blank page, wondering what to write. You’ve given some very valuable tips for keeping the creative process flowing when the muse is simply out on vacation.

  47. Paul says:

    My problem is not deciding on what to write that is profitable. There are many subjects I would like to write on, but not all of them will make me money. Keyword are the key.

  48. Paul,
    I cannot give you a magic single sentence and make you feel relieved.

    what I can say is that you don’t have to worry when you do some keyword research, build a keyword basket and target non-popular key phrases (which are really searched) and continue to more popular. Just make sure you have such a basket and write for the top 10 keywords first.

    There could be lots of criticism to what I’ve just mentioned, but you should work from some point and build up your content from based on them.

  49. Abi says:

    One thing in this post is very important, “writer should not be shy of writing any thing about which some one else has talked. It is your test if you can rephrase the thing in a better and even more informative way”.

  50. Fatin Pauzi says:

    Nice tips, Abi. I ever feel that kind of situation. I’m shy to rephrase what others said. But when I tried to do it with my own way, I got a lot of positive feedbacks. They like my writing. :)