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How To Find Blogging Ideas

Have you ever wondered what to blog about? Have you ever struggled with where to come up with ideas for blog posts?

If you’re anything like me, there might be times when you don't feel like you have anything left to say—or at least anything “worthwhile."

A couple of weeks ago writer friend Sandra Heska King said, “I keep waiting for you to run out of ideas. And you keep coming up with such helpful stuff.” Her comment gave me a chuckle, but it also got me thinking.

I tried to analyze how it is that I come up with blog ideas. What gives me inspiration for my posts? What is it that inspires any of us? Are there particular blogging topics writers should or shouldn’t address?

As I’ve labored through the answers to these questions, here are just a few of my thoughts on how to find blogging ideas:

1. Write posts on topics we’re passionate about.

Our posts, like any other form of writing, should be about things that stir our passion and come from the well-spring of our life experiences. When we dig deep into ourselves our voice may begin to come through our posts, and certainly our passion will, no matter the topic. When I’m deciding what to blog about, I usually look for things that really interest me—and then I try to present it in a fresh and thought-provoking way.

2. Read blog posts of others, and when one resonates write a post in response.

Occasionally other bloggers will notify me that something I said sparked a reaction in them, and then they’ll turn their emotional response into a blog post. I love when my words can stir others to reflect or think more deeply about an issue. And I enjoy finding articles that make me think (like Qualman's Social Media Revolution post). It's common courtesy, however, that we reference and link back to the post that inspired us.

3. Find a niche topic that can draw future readers.

Lately I’ve heard the idea that authors should try to find a particular niche for blogging--a topic or theme that can begin to draw future readers who may be interested in learning more. For example, author Sarah Sundin writes historicals about World WarII and she centers her blog posts around interesting facts from WWII. I think this idea can work for some writers, if done creatively. But I'm curious to know how well this method really works in drawing readers. I'd love to hear your thoughts on niche blogging and whether you think it can help.

4. Keep a “Blog Ideas” file and toss potential post ideas into it as you come across them.

We often keep an “Ideas” file for all the notes we scribble during those odd times inspiration strikes us. I do the same thing for blogging ideas. I have a running list of topics that interest me. When I read a post that sparks a thought, I bookmark it. When someone asks a question in the comments, I jot it down. When I experience something new, I make a note. My "Blog Ideas" file is usually full of possibilities. I don’t use them all, but it’s a springboard that helps me plan out posts.

5. Interview other writers who share your niche or passion.

I don’t imagine there are too many published (or unpublished) authors who will turn down the chance for a blog interview. It’s a great way for them to get exposure and also a way for them to connect with others they may not normally see in their cyberspace social circles. Such an interview may generate future post topics, and it's a great way to start forming important relationships.

For more tips on finding blog ideas here are a few other recent posts that might help:

Do you ever have trouble coming up with things to talk about in your blog posts? How do you dig deeper and find ideas? (And be sure to add your two cents about what you think of niche blogging!)

60 comments:

  1. I do run out of ideas. I try to write them down when I have them Or I'll forget. ;-)

    I think niche blogging could work, but only for the niche you're targeting. If someone's blog is all about crafts I probably wouldn't read it, even if I loved the author, because crafts bore me. So I think with niche blogging you need to make sure the niche readers know you're there, and understand that they might be the majority of your audience for that particular subject. :-)

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  2. It's so funny you should write about this, Jody, because I just deleted a post that was to run today that said, "I have nothing to say..."
    It's 4:15 am and I can't sleep. If I'm serious about blogging, writing that I have nothing to say will not attract readers, now will it keep current ones interested in coming back.
    Karen

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  3. Blogging is so much fun. Where else can I post things I love--comics, music, vids?I only have so much time. I can't fret, become too serious. It throws me off my creative writing. I keep things light and fluffy and brief and it's fairly easy to come up with stuff. Plus, I'm shy and get queasy pining personal too often.

    Breezy brevity posting. (A nice distraction after writing dark/moody short stories). That's me. : )

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  4. Jody, another awesome post! Blogging isn't always easy because you want to interest people and get discussion going. It's a lot like the craft of writing, actually! Martina and I strive to provide the most helpful information we can and create a positive, welcoming forum. We have been so fortunate with loyal followers who contribute to the blog regularly. I haven't heard of sticking to a niche before and I don't know that I would pursue this personally. I think the more people you can connect with, the better. If you stick to one slice of writing, this may alienate people who might otherwise participate on the blog. For us, we try to balance variety with specificity.

    Thanks again!
    Marissa

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  5. lol...Jody, like Karen, I had nothing to say today. I just have NOTHING! So I didn't write a post for today. :)

    I've got a couple of questions for you. How far in advance to do you schedule your posts? Do you write them as you go? Do a week by week schedule?

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  6. Sometimes I have difficulty, but going down to 2 posts a week has helped. And focusing my own blog on more wife/mother/Christian type of posts vs all writing posts has helped too.

    Sometimes I DO feel like, seriously? Why should these people listen to me? I am seriously flawed, I am so far from perfect it isn't even funny, and what if I give them wrong information? What if everyone disagrees with me?

    But then I get over it and realize that it's just a blog, and they can take my thoughts if they want to, and I'm not required to know everything or be perfect.

    I've yet to not have an idea, however I HAVE posted something and the middle of the next day completely regretted it because now the posts looks stupid to me instead of brilliant as it looked the night before, ha!

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  7. I've stressed over this topic...Ugh! Yeah, there are days I have no idea what to write and think why the heck would anyone care two rats what I have to say.

    I have, however, started a file for possible blog posts. Another thing I do is when an idea hits me I start a 'draft' in my blog, write a few key notes to remind myself what my aim was going to be, and figure I'll come back and use it later.

    Niche--Hmmm...seeing how I run the home of the infamous GRAFFITI WALL, where all writers--published or not--are welcome to tell their story, I guess I'm in.

    Sheri~

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  8. I keep an idea file for my parenting blog. However, there are still days when I'm thinking about my next post and all I end up with is questions? Would readers think that's funny? Would my boys be embarassed if their freinds read this? Would my wife string me up if I mentioned that? (Just kidding on the last one.)

    My other blog, which talks about my alma mater's college football team, is definitely a niche blog. And it does great in the month of September, when hopes are high. If only I could find a way to channel that into continous readership throughout the season (then I'll work on the year).

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  9. Sherrinda asked: How far in advance to do you schedule your posts? Do you write them as you go? Do a week by week schedule?

    My answer: Hi Sherrinda! I usually write my posts on the weekend before I post them. I get them all written and schedule them so they're ready to go. I try to do a weekly "theme" but it's usually pretty loose. Like this week, I focused all my blog posts around social media. One week was on self-editing. When I do that, it gives me time to spread out what I want to say, instead of trying to fit everything into one post and overwhelming readers.

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  10. Wow, Jody, that was a fast response! :) Thanks for the answers. I love the themed week and am amazed that you have that much information to share on a continual basis. I love it!

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  11. I'm pretty sure it was James Scott Bell who wrote about his stories that it's not having a hard time coming up with ideas, it's being discerning when sifting the worthy ones from the not so worthy. Okay, that is not at all an exact quote, but it gets at the heart of my response to this.

    My problem, as you may well have guessed is having too many ideas and trying to post what will be most thought-provoking for my readers. (And then again, switching to more lighthearted when that's needed.)

    Niche. Hmm. Interesting, but I enjoy blogs with a scope of ideas and a breadth of topics. For example, you write mainly about writing, but you've tackled so many aspects of it. It keeps this blog interesting.

    Another excellent post, woman. You are on a roll!
    ~ Wendy

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  12. Thanks for your wisdom Jody. I am learning so much from your blog each week. I love the idea of themes, and posts all lined up in row like ducks each weekend, ready to go when you press send. Thanks for sharing with your readers. There are so many of us... I wonder if I am the furtherest away here in Australia?
    Blessings
    Dorothy :)

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  13. When I first started my blog, I had a long, long "topic list" that I referred to for each entry. Much sooner than I expected, I had depleted that list and was a bit panicked to think of anything new.

    I wrote to my siblings and asked them for ideas, they emailed back DOZENS of suggestions! I just LOVE the list of hints you've given here. I will DEFINITELY be referring to them in the very near future! Thanks!

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  14. Great info, Jody. I love how organized your posts are. I definitely run out of things to say and I'm all over the board on what I write about. I like to think I'm evolving as an effective blogger.

    As far as ideas, I leave myself notes and voice memos on my phone all the time that go something like this: "Note to self, blog about blah blah blah..." I also star posts in my reader that I want to revisit and possibly write a response to.

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  15. I keep an idea file, too. And I write most of my posts ahead of time -- so I have an extra chance to look back at it and say, is this really offering value to my readers, or am I just rambling?

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  16. It's not that hard for me because I only post once or twice a week. Some topic usually comes to me between posts.

    I don't know how some people think of something to blog about every day. But kudos to them.

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  17. I am loving this weeks set of posts. You are addressing all the things I am struggling with these days. I am interested to see what Friday's post will be about.

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  18. Niche blogging? I guess it depends on how specific you mean. I focus on writing - but maybe you mean more niche than that?

    And it totally depends on your goals. If you are going to sell a book about WWII than yes, blog about it. Or if you're just passionate about frogs than blog about frogs.

    You raise an interesting. Niche to me means really small. But maybe a smaller more devoted following will actually sell you more books than a larger broad audience? Not sure.

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  19. I think niche blogging is ok if you throw in a different subject once in a while. I am just now trying to find my niche. I loved your suggestions and will be reading over this again to do some brainstorming.

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  20. I have trouble sometimes, but reading other bloggers' posts always get the juices flowing again!

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  21. I see posts in the birds, the sky, the life around me. But I've only been blogging since December so give me time, and I will struggle!!!

    Blessings, dear one. Love this place and will miss it over the next few weeks. But there's a surprise in store for you!!!

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  22. Great tips. I think most prolific bloggers have a tough time once in a while. I agree, write what moves you. I do keep an idea file and always jot the idea while still fresh in my brain. It's a lot easier to blog than it is to write my novel and perhaps that's why I don't think it's torture. My husband would rather poke his eye out than blog. But then, he's no writer either. Keep up the good work!

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  23. All good points, Jody! I am running a Thursday guest post series right now on Writing and Faith, featuring 4 different bloggers this month. Similar to your "interview another blogger" idea. And it's great to have a mid-week break this month!

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  24. Great post and it came at the perfect time for me! When I first started blogging over a month ago, I found ideas everywhere! I keep a notebook just for blogging ideas. Then I started running out of steam. So I recently started a schedule. I post specific things on certain days of the week. Some people think a blog schedule is constrictive, but so far I'm finding it's helping me. Now I know what I have to post for each day, so it's easier than pulling something from the top of my head all the time. So far it's going well!

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  25. I think focusing on my "niche" definitely helped! And I have a file of ideas to look back on in case I run out of current content. Thanks for the suggestions!

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  26. Great post. I NEVER run out of ideas, but a lot of the time my ideas get the brakes because of an internal editor reminding me WHO reads and how they might translate what I'm saying. I'm hoping that Julia Cameron's "The Right to Write" is going to help me work through that. Again, excellent post!

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  27. It happens to me a lot. Sometimes I feel like I just don't want to bother with the blog. But then something will strike me or I'll find I really do have something to say. I like the interview idea. I'm already thinking of writers I could interview.

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  28. Whew - comments! Good for you. You always have such interesting topics.
    So, I actually do blog about my niche. (outdoor adventure) and I've found that readers really enjoy it even if they don't go dogsledding themselves.
    That way, you never run out of topics because you're always posting about your passions, and readers come to expect that flavour at your blog.

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  29. I have 3 blogs

    #1 in German, for my everyday life and ideas to share with family and friends. I doubt anyone else will ever find it interesting, but it spares me telling the same story over and over and over on the phone.

    #2 is a kind of public file for short stories I write - for fun or as exercises. I love to get feedback, but I mainly write (and post them there) because I feel I must.

    And #3 is a writing-related blog where I talk about all things concerning writing that cross my mind. I don't look for or collect topics, and it's not fed too regularly. But I thought I'd share nevertheless, and some people seem to be reading (and hopefully enjoying) it.

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  30. Great tips! I do try to write down key words for blog titles, so later I can look back and see if one of them is sparked. :O)

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  31. Everytime I think I've ran out of ideas (wether for fiction writing or blogging), I just remember that a writer can never run out of ideas. Ideas are everywhere. Just like an artist can never run out of pictures to draw.

    I love your tips! I do keep a file where I keep my blogging ideas. I used to think that keeping your blog on only one topic (such as having a blog only for writing book reviews) would be best since you would have a certain group of followers, but then I realized - if you allow your blog's theme to have certain topics that you write about, then you can draw more followers to your blog. Not to mention there's much more I'd like to blog about than just posts on writing tips. :)

    Thanks for sharing, Jody! Your blog is incredible.

    Tessa

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  32. Your posts are always full of good info. Great tips, I practice some already (and glad that I must be doing something right:) Will have to investigate the others. Thanks too, for the links.
    Blessings,
    Karen

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  33. Hi Jody -

    I can't wait to explore all these links.

    Since I've done a lot of devotional writing, my mind takes the ordinary things of life and finds a spiritual or writing application. The important thing is writing down the smallest sliver of an idea or it's gone.

    Blessings,
    Susan :)

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  34. I struggle with blog posts pretty much every day! That aside, I've loosened up a lot, and just let my fingers take me where my mind wants to go. ANd if you read my post today, you'll know I mean ANYWHERE it wants to go!

    Happy Wednesday,
    Jen

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  35. If I understand your post correctly, you're referring to "niche" blogging as targeting posts to the potential *readers* of your books, rather than other writers, correct?

    I've implemented this on my own blog in a couple of different ways...adding personal goals to my weekly goal posts, setting a day aside for posts that have nothing to do with books or writing, but everything to do with romance in real life (which is what my potential readers are interested in), and I'm starting to add book review blogs to my weekly Notable posts lists for readers who may not be writers.

    I haven't been doing it long enough to quantify, but the comments are very encouraging so far, and I'm now starting to get comments from friends/family who *don't write* on those romance posts. So I think eventually it will have a positive effect on readership (of the blog & books).

    As for blog topics...I'm rarely at a loss for ideas. They're everywhere... ;-)

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  36. More great tips. I keep thinking I've tapped out then at the nth hour something pops in there.

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  37. Lately, I've been wondering how to appeal to readers more than just writers. I'm continuing to write my posts with writers as my audience but will be shifting more to reach out to readers more by the end of the year.

    Thanks for the links--I'm going to check them out now!

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  38. Reading these comments, I've concluded that whatever works for us is what we do.

    I haven't been blogging long, about a month, but I think I like the eclectic approach. As one commenter said, there are ideas everywhere. I recently got the most comments on a what I'd call pretty ordinary post about how blogging sometimes loses me.

    An idea file. Excellent. Kind of like keeping a daily journal. Even so-called mundane topics can be fodder for blogging. See how creative we can be with anything "under the sun."

    The fact that you have 37 comments here says something about what YOU'RE posting. This is a wonderful blog that's high on my bookmarked list.

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  39. I collect random thoughts, sayings, and quotes and I cut out newspaper articles that trigger something inside me. My latest blog came from a single fact I read in the paper.

    Sometimes these things will trigger a short blog post and other times they will trigger an entire article. I've been doing this for book ideas as well.

    I have 2 separate journals as well for my own thoughts - one for devotional thoughts and one for short story/novel ideas.

    I like the idea of interviews. I hadn't considered that even though reading other people's interviews are always interesting.

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  40. Thank you for the great tips! I found you through Terri Tiffany's blog and I can't wait to read more. Congratulations on your upcoming release! I write middle grade historical fiction so I can't wait to read yours.

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  41. For me blogging is one forum where I can write exactly what is in my heart. I seldom think of an audience. I think of what is stirring inside and I give it voice. There is usually something stirring inside. And on the days where there is more than one thing stirring inside I write several posts and save them. Then I have some up my sleeves for the days when there seems little I want to say.

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  42. Sometimes I think I have too much to blog about-- I can always think of something. But I also get pretty random. I don't get into a niche or don't have an ongoing theme or purpose, but I write about what's on my mind. I've tried to organize it into specific approaches for each day, but overall anything goes.

    I hope this hasn't been too confusing or offputting to readers. My readership stays fairly constant and my comments are not in big numbers usually, so I'm not sure how to assess that. I'm enjoying what I write and I hope others are as well.

    You've given some fine suggestions.

    Lee
    May 17th FIFTEEN FANTASY ISLAND FAVORITES

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  43. Great post! And great tips! I've been struggling with what to write lately.

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  44. Jody, I guess I'm kind of confused about niche blogging, because I see your blog as a niche blog -- one that has a specific focus of being writing-centered. In fact, you helped inspire my new blog, Peace Garden Writer. I wanted a place to put my solely writing-focused posts, but I still wanted the freedom to write about faith and family (and occasionally writing too if I feel called to it) on Peace Garden Mama. So, I guess in this way, I've kind of created a niche. I like having the more focused blog, and the one that is less so. As for ideas, boy, I honestly don't feel I'll ever run out! Honestly. I think some of us are just made for this blogging thing. Definitely, becoming a newspaper columnist opened the channel, and my blog became a place where I put all the extraneous thoughts that didn't make it into the column. I'm glad for the vehicle for all those thoughts that would have taken up far too much space in my head otherwise. :) (Now I've taken up far too much space on your lovely blog!) Wishing you a wonderful rest of the week!

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  45. I was literally thinking on the way home tonight, "What the heck am I blogging about tommorrow?" :) Something almost always comes to mind, but your #5 (author interviews) is one I want to start adding to the mix!

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  46. Hi Jody...I love the regularity of your blog and the wonderful information you generously share. Though, I started blogging few weeks back at my mentor Lia Keyes' and writing friend Elizabeth Varadan's insistence, I am enjoying it. I note down ideas for new posts in a diary.
    I have started doing author interviews, as I am interested in other writers' journeys and how they have reached the road to publishing.

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  47. Hi Jody... It's funny you wrote about this because when I decided to start a blog I knew I needed a niche. It hasn't been that long since I started it, but the central idea is about how well do you know the city you live in. We spend a lot of time working and sometimes don't have the time to enjoy it. I am an army wife and it helps me to know the places where I would be living for a while. Plus, it's a great way to help me and maybe other people when it comes to creating settings and characters.

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  48. Ideas pop into my mind from something I've seen, heard or read. A visual image or single sentence may rattle around in my head until an application occurs... usually spiritual or writing-related, but not always. Sometimes it's a 'stand-on-a-soapbox-and-proclaim-it' thought; other times it's a private observation that goes into my daily journal and only later is shared. No rhyme or reason at all!

    Some people seem to be more prolific writers than others, or more interesting, or funnier, and when I compare my blogging attempts to theirs I'm discouraged. I don't have a regular posting schedule, or a specific niche, or even a list of potential topics. When I check my blog statistics I am amazed that I have a readership at all!

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  49. Doing a Snoopy dance! I inspired a Jody post. :D

    My Beholding God blog is almost a year old, and I just figured out how to schedule posts. Now I have to schedule time to write posts that can be scheduled. They can always be rescheduled if something else seems more pertinent, right?

    As far as ideas, I stumble and steal. And then there's always the shower where ideas often flood my thoughts. I go there when I'm stuck. I'm a very clean person. ;)

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  50. After blogging for five years, I'm always amazed that I keep coming up with new material. The problem, though, is that it is not daily, and is often only twice a week anymore. I used to blog every day, but it just got to be too much for me.

    Great ideas on how to find other topics!

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  51. Sometimes I have no idea what to write about. But I like your idea of having a file. I think of things, but if I don't put them down somewhere I will forget them.
    I draw a lot of inspiration from my husband and I's photographs. They will usually spark a topic for me to write about.

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  52. I've been blogging for four years and I kind of let life drive what I writer. Not sure that's the way to do it, but . . . I am not organized enough to plan too far ahead with the posts and also I like to see where God will lead me with them. I had information this week but next week? who knows what will come up, LOL
    But I always know when I come here I will get a well-thought out post and I do appreciate that!

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  53. Great ideas! I keep thinking that soon I will run out of steam!! I am not a big conversationalist (being rather shy) Writing is easier, but I fear when I run of of things to say!! Especially when I am trying to get a loyal following.

    Your post does help!

    Sig

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  54. OK, I'm cracking up that you used me as an example! Other than my daily "Today in WWII History" tidbits, I blog sporadically and all over the map - family humor & devotions, as well as lessons we can learn from the Greatest Generation. And ideas? I struggle. I was one of those kids who freaked out when given 20 minutes to write an essay on "any topic." My ideas need lots of percolation time. I'm starting to think ahead & gather ideas in a file. My goal is to become a more disciplined blogger.

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  55. I definitely have trouble coming up with ideas. My blog is about writing, but it has a personal tone. It is also about my own journey as a writer and a student. However, I am afraid to make it too much about my personal life, which sometimes interferes with my process. I may have something I am feeling strongly about that I want to write on, but it seems too personal. I don't think that many of my followers (all6!) actually read my blog, but I still have an idea of writing to a broader audience and want to keep it somewhat professional. I am trying to come up with a balance.

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  56. How on earth did I miss this?! I've been thinking a lot about this topic lately. You have some great ideas here, Jody. Thank you! :-)

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  57. Great post and it came at the perfect time for me!
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  58. I always have more ideas than I have time to blog. It seems like there's always a story needing to be told, something I need to learn or feel that sharing matter somehow. I love the blogging world, and could easily be sucked into spending way too much time here.

    Another great topic. :-)

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