Tag Archives: invention

What do you know? How to reflect on potential writing topics

Maybe you’re like me and you’ve been struggling with finding your place in the world lately. While I decided to drop my PhD in English, I’m still not sure what new path I should start following. While I’m trying to take my place in the blogging and Web content world, there is still much I have to learn.

One of the main things I have gathered from professional bloggers is “write about what you know”. Most of us know many things, but often we don’t know most of them deeply enough to write about them on a regular basis. But dig a little deeper and you may find that there is indeed something you know well enough to share with the world.

Here are some tips on how to reflect on potential writing topics.

What do you know?

In what field have you trained? What’s your job right now? Does it require any special expertise?

Think about the skills and the abilities you use every day. There must be something you know how to do better than most people you know. Look at your resume or make a list of things you know. Don’t censor yourself and freewrite about your knowledge.

After looking at your list, you may find something that sparks your attention. Put your knowledge list in groups and see if a topic gathers a lot of words. You may have a potential list of keywords for your next blog.

What do you like?

Sometimes it’s not so much about what we know but about what we enjoy. For example, while I’m not a knitting expert, I can certainly say I enjoy knitting and could probably find ways to build a blog around it.

Sometimes, focusing on something you like may eventually turn you into an expert. Think about when you chose your major in college (if you did go to college): did you choose it because you were already an expert at it or because you were curious to learn more?

What do you want to share?

Sometimes people want to share concerns and ideas that may have nothing to do with their knowledge or their hobbies. However, sudden interests can be turned into hobbies or knowledge.

Read plenty of news and blog posts about a variety of subjects. Something new might just be thing you were looking for. Sharing these new finds is often a great way to begin to take part in a community. Share everything you find interesting with your friends and peers and you might become a reliable source of interesting news.

Everyone has something to say. What’s your thing? How did you find out what you wanted to blog about?


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5 ways to get in the write frame of mind

On some days writing comes easily–we sit down, we have a list of topics to cover, and we get down to work. But on other days (like today for me), the thought of sitting down to write travel articles just doesn’t get me going at all. It can be fatigue, emotional turmoil, boredom. But I don’t get paid just to show up… I get paid with results. So on days like this, when it’s hard to concentrate, I do one (or many) of these things to get me going.

Do some yoga poses

Yoga benefits your mind, not only your body. Consciously relaxing and letting your mind go as you take deep breaths can help dissipate whatever’s bothering you. You can perform the classic sun salutations or follow a routine of your choice.

Listen to brain wave music

If yoga isn’t for you, you can try listening to brain wave music. My personal favourite is BrainSync by Kelly Howell. The brain waves imbedded in the music or ambiance sounds can help you focus, activate your creativity or deepen your insight. I was skeptical at first, but I quickly realized how effective it is.


Peter Elbow, a well-known composition theorist and proponent of freewriting, argues that

freewriting gets you going, gets you writing, makes it much easier to begin. With freewriting, “starting to write” means just blurting out first thoughts, musings, and perplexities, starting anywhere–not trying to write a draft. (Everyone Can Write 86)

Freewriting can help you get rid of the mental obstacles between you and your writing. Try turning off your screen while you type for added “freedom” from the look of words.

Take a walk

Sometimes, just nothing will do. When the words don’t come, when freewriting doesn’t break through your sluggishness, sometimes a bit of fresh air can help clear your mind. Try to think about what you have to write as you walk–not about why you can’t write. You’ll come back to your screen refreshed and ready to tackle your tasks.

Take a day off

Unless you have something due that very day, there’s nothing wrong in taking a day off if absolutely nothing works. Sometimes, our brain just needs to rest or deal with the internal turmoil before it’s able to concentrate on work again. I call them my “mental health days”.

It took me all day to write this post; I came back to it every few hours or so. It’s also the only writing I’ve done today. Writing those posts takes me away from my turbulent thoughts while letting me write without constraints of topic, word count or keywords.

What do you do when you’re not in the mood to write?

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