Where do you find topics to write about? How to have tons of topics

This entry is part 6 of 19 in the series A No-Excuses Guide to Blogging

Question

People often ask me how they can blog more.

The easiest blog post to write is the answer. It is also the most useful. You start with a question, and you stop when you’ve answered it.

Where do you find questions? In your e-mail inbox, in your conversations, in your work, in your life, in the things you want to learn or do. Everything starts with a question.

Always have questions. Learn intentionally. Make yourself a curriculum of questions you want to explore, and share what you learn along the way. Ask and you shall learn.

You may not know the answer. Write as you figure things out. Share those in-between steps, the questions you ask, the partial answers you find. Show your work. Help people build on what you’ve shared.

Watch other people who answer questions. Learn not only from their answers, but also their problem-solving techniques.

Don’t be afraid to return to a question. The best questions teach you each time you attempt them. For example: How can I do this better? What is the meaning of life?

Even simple questions like “Where did I put my keys?” can lead you on an adventure of “How can I avoid losing my keys?” and “What would it be like if I were better organized, and how can I get there?”

If you ever run out of your own questions, or if you want to prioritize which answers might be more useful, look at other people’s questions.

When you become the person who can answer questions – or at least give a good try – people will come to you with more questions. What a gift!

You can spend a lifetime answering questions. In the process, who knows what you’ll discover and share?

Photo (c) 2008 the Italian voice – Creative Commons Attribution Licence

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6 responses to “Where do you find topics to write about? How to have tons of topics”

  1. I am going to share this with my team. Great post Sacha.

  2. Mitch Cohen says:

    Sacha great post, I would add one more thing – don’t ever think “no one will be interested in this topic” some of the most popular posts on my blog, with constant recurring hits are not the ones I would have picked as the most interesting or the best topics to blog. You never know which topic is going to help or be of interest to your readers

  3. Sacha Chua says:

    Bilal: Feel free!

    Mitch: That’s true. =) I’m always surprised by my blog statistics. Things I’ve written for myself turn out to be useful to others, and to have a life all their own. Hooray for search engines and tolerant subscribers! =)

  4. Raymond Zeitler says:

    For personal bloggers, coming up with posts is just like writing a diary entry. For me, that involves just tuning in to my stream of consciousness. As I do NaBloPoMo again, I have several posts in mind. The trick is finding uninterrupted computer time to capture it all.

    A great source of material is National Public Radio NPR (www.npr.org), an US-funded entity. Since I’m low-tech, I still rely on radio when I’m commuting, so NPR is ideal.

    Like you and Mitch, some of my posts are notes to myself on topics I don’t want to forget, such as how to “link” MS Outlook with Emacs. (I wrote a VBA subroutine to place the content of a selected Outlook message to the Windows clipboard and included that in a blog post.)

    GTG

  5. Jhay says:

    Answering questions is an unlimited resource for blog topics. Even if you’re in a crowded niche, it still provides opportunities for creating great content.

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