Blaugust Reborn: Five tips for coming up with blog topics

As Blaugust Reborn gets going proper this week with around 70 (!) blogs participating, I’m having hectic fun trying to keep up with everything. The suggested roundtable topic this week for the festival is on brainstorming topics to write about, so I thought I’d put forth five easy tips that helps me keep this blog going.

  1. Don’t procrastinate! If a topic or idea comes to mind, try to write a quick post on it as soon as you can! It’s always much easier and generally better to write on a topic when you’re interested and engaged with it than days later when you’re struggling to remember why you wanted to write about it in the first place.
  2. Shamelessly steal! One of the great aspects of being part of a larger blogging community is that topics are firing off left and right all over the place, so if you are having a hard time thinking of something to write, bounce off or become inspired by something someone else wrote! I’ve done so many times and seen others do it from posts I’ve written.
  3. Come up with a schedule! This doesn’t work for everyone, but for some writers it’s nice to have certain days of the week slated for specific types of posts, like a “screenshot Monday” or a listicle on Fridays. At least it gives you a structure to use, with the topics falling into place after that.
  4. Keep it personal! What interests you? Don’t write for the audience to tell them what you think they want to read, write what is near and dear to your heart! By keeping it personal, you stay the most engaged and have the most real things to say — and people generally love reading that more anyway!
  5. Challenge routines! Yes, I suggested a schedule, but also don’t be so beholden to a routine that you never try anything, write about anything different, or develop a writing portfolio that is about more than one very specific thing. If you feel like you’re getting into a rut, then make a concerted effort to challenge yourself by writing and doing something different!

Blaugust 2018: The prepper’s guide to survival blogging

Learn more about (and possibly join) Blaugust Reborn!

With the official start of this year’s Blaugust blogger event next week, us participating sites have been asked — demanded at gunpoint, really — to chew on the theme of “preparation” for new bloggers. As I’m sure that many of my contemporaries will be covering blog setup and the like, I’m going to take a different tack and discuss my approach to post preparation.

Probably the most difficult and challenging aspect of blogging is keeping the posts coming. It’s a constant, ongoing event, unless you don’t care about building up an audience and want a once-in-a-blue-moon post frequency. Everyone gets excited about writing at first, but consistently churning out posts requires discipline, effort, routine, and — pertinent to this article — strategy.

There’s nothing wrong with coming up with a good posting strategy and preparing for your upcoming days. While you can surely write up posts the morning they go live, that can become stressful quickly as you feel pressured on a daily basis to get something, anything, out on the site.

My strategy? I work ahead.

The busier I am in my life, the more I work ahead with projects, and that includes writing for Bio Break and Massively OP. I don’t need the stress of “this has to go out NOW” if I can avoid it, which is why I often write and schedule my posts a week or more out from the current date. For Bio Break, I start writing for the next week on Wednesday evening, trying to go for one post a day through Friday (which gives me Mon-Wed). Then two additional posts are written up on Saturday, and wowzers, I’m done for the next week. It’s a good feeling and quite helpful if there’s a day or two of writer’s block.

But what if there’s a timely issue or event that needs to be written about right here and now? Then I just do it and bump a non-essential post to the following week. Recently, I took two weeks off for vacation, but I doubt anyone noticed from my blog. That’s because for the month before, I slightly increased my scheduling output so that I ended up with a three-week buffer. Let me tell you, it was a great feeling to not have to worry about writing or disrupting the regular posting schedule during those weeks!

One other strategy — a tip, really — that I employ is that if there’s an idea that pops into my head, I try to write it up right away. I find that, at least for me, jotting down the general idea to write up later ends up filling up my drafts bin but never getting done.

Anyway, good luck preparing your blog wherever you’re at, and enjoy writing and reading Blaugust this year!