This guest post is by Katy Farber of Non-Toxic Kids.
When I started Non-Toxic Kids four years ago, I had no idea I would never run out of things to write about. In all those four years of posting between three and seven times I week, I never struggled for more than a few minutes with a topic to post about.
Maybe it has to do with my tech-savvy mom who is constantly sending me interesting links to articles about current parenting and health issues. Seriously, how lucky am I?
But I’d like to think it has to do with the fact that I need to know about these topics. They are common sense issues and concerns that I face as a parent, and a human being on this planet.
I offer these ways to find continual and unending sources of blog material, and they are all right in front of you.
Write about what keeps you up at night
I call it the common-sense blogging approach. Just think about what matters to you. What can you not stop thinking about as you fall asleep, or worse, when you wake up in the middle of the night? I can’t be the only one who does this. What are issues that your colleagues, or people in your blog niche, are worrying about right now?
For me, one topic lately is what mattress we should buy for my youngest. A conventional one, although cheaper, may contain harmful chemicals, but the safer ones are twice as much. I’ve put off this decision for years. Clearly, this would be a great topic to explore and write up as a post, or series of posts.
Find your flow
You may need to find your source for perpetual ideas. It’s a different place for each of us, but we can all find it. For me it’s running. Once my feet fall into that repetitive pattern, my mind lifts. The steady drumbeat of my heart, the calmness of being alone, the soft sounds of the woods slow my thinking. Sometimes it’s only then I can access a place of creative ideas and problem solving.
I like to think of it as a river right above my head. Flowing in it is every place I’ve ever lived, my childhood, dreams, fears, loves and ideas, all flying around at electrifying speeds. If I don’t grab ideas, pull them down into the here and now, and onto paper or the computer, they are gone until next time. Or some I might never find again.
That is where many of my ideas are born. On a long dirt road in Vermont, the idea for my blog was born this way (can you hear the song?).
Where is your flow? Whatever it is—sewing, walking, rocking in a hammock, gardening—find where your ideas live and grab them before they get away like birds scattering in the sky. Then grab your computer and write, bird by bird (to borrow an expression from one of my favorite authors, Annie Lemott).
What do you and your friends talk about?
Before I started blogging, I was constantly talking with my friends about parenting issues, and we eagerly shared ideas and troubling questions about the safety of products, and what we had success with. These early conversations and questions became the foundation of my blog, Non-Toxic Kids. I was doing the research anyway, in trying to find out what was healthy for my infant daughter. All it meant was getting these ideas into posts and sharing them with other parents in my blog.
So consider, what topics do you discuss regularly with your friends? What do you need to know about, or want to know the opinions of others you trust? This is gold blog post material, and it is usually right in front of you.
What makes your blood boil?
There are some topics that outrage us into action. Some of my best posts were written after I learned about a new piece of legislation, action, or inaction, about an environmental issue. These posts usually do well sitting at least over night—or even for a few hours—for a re-read.
Posts written hastily in anger can have troubling effects but a post written from the heart about a current issue can make a difference and strike a chord with people. Here is one example of that; it’s a post I wrote after President Obama told the EPA to withhold new ozone (smog) air quality standards that would have saved thousands of lives. It felt good to put that negative energy into something that could make a difference.
Write about how you wish the world to be
This is a bit harder, especially in our current economic and political climate. But we have to as Gandhi said, “Be the change we wish to see in the world.” Write about your dreams. What do you see as how we can solve our most vexxing problems? What do you want to see in terms of our environment, local communities, human communication, education, etc.?
Write about it. Describe your vision. We need to hear from each other about how we might solve the complex problems facing the world. Take on any issue, and describe the change you dream of seeing in your lifetime. Or describe a small moment in your life that showcased how this change is possible. This is beautiful, optimistic blog material.
These are our ever-flowing sources of blogging material, because we are all constantly exploring what it means to be alive in this world, how we can live better, and help others and ourselves more fully.
How do you generate your blog post ideas? Please share these in the comments. I look forward to reading your thoughts.
Katy Farber blogs at Non-Toxic Kids. She’s a teacher, author, and blogger who just released a new ebook, Eat Non-Toxic: A manual for busy parents and is the author of two education books, Why Great Teachers Quit and Change the World with Service Learning.