If you’re ever stuck for ideas to write about on your blog, here’s a little discipline that I’ve gotten myself into over the years that helps me a lot.
It’s all about capturing those moments when you get sidetracked while writing blog posts.
Make getting sidetracked work for you
I doubt I’m the only one who gets sidetracked while writing.
It happens for me with almost every post I write. I start out writing about one topic and at some point through the post I find that I’ve gone off on some tangent. The tangent starts off relating to the main topic that I’m writing about, but quickly takes me away from what the post is really about.
When the realization dawns on me that I’m off on a tangent there are a few choices that can be made:
- Leave the tangent in: Sometimes. getting a little sidetracked in a post actually works. It can add a bit of interest, serve as an example, and make your post better.
- Delete the tangent: This is what I used to do most often. I’d sigh to myself about my rambling, highlight the offending paragraphs, and hit Delete.
- Use the tangent as the basis for a new post: One day as I was about to delete a tangential paragraph, it struck me that while it didn’t belong in the post I’d been writing, it still contained value and could probably be used elsewhere. Instead of deleting it, I copied and pasted it into a new text document, which I returned to later to turn into a new post.
These days, I do it all the time (in fact this post started as a tangent in another). I’ve now extended the idea, and almost every time I finish writing a post I take a moment or two to re-read the post and look for places where I could have gone off on a tangent.
Look for those parts of the post where you could have said more, where ideas weren’t completely finished, or where you think the reader might be left asking questions and wanting to know more about something that you’ve said. It’s those parts with which you could start your next post.
The beauty of building this discipline—of making tangents and getting sidetracked work for you—is that you not only come up with new things to write about, you also build momentum on your blog. One post leads you to another one, and you’re able to take your readers on a journey with you by linking the posts together.