Blaugust Day #7: Finding a Topic
Technically, this week of Blaugust is all about Topic Brainstorming. Other than a sort of topic-adjacent post on regular features I’ve struggled with this one. In large part because I don’t really have a structured means of sitting down and coming up with post ideas. SDWeasel sounds to be in a similar position.
Ideas are plentiful. They’re all around. In other words:
Ideas Can Come from Anywhere
The trick is to capture the ideas as they occur. You can’t trust that they’ll still be rattling around your brain later when you come to write. Or at least, I certainly can’t.
SDWeasel uses a physical notebook. Rambling Redshirt uses Evernote (along with a bunch of other incredible tools, check out his entire Blaugust range of posts so far!)
Myself? I tend to make drafts directly in WordPress. The draft might contain as little as a title to jog my memory on the idea or it might have bulletpoints on thoughts that I intend to cover. Ideas can age though, and depending on how long a draft sits around — it may end up never being used, or more commonly — morph into an almost entirely different idea by the time the post is published.
In any case, the point is — capture your ideas somehow. If they morph or even if they end up being thrown into the trashcan by choice, that’s still better than having lost one to the tip of your tongue forever.
Some things that might get you started though, and the wellsprings eternal that I constantly dip my idea-ladle into:
The Game(s) You’re Playing / The Projects You’re Working On
This is a bit of an obvious one perhaps, but I have heard concern raised that their gameplay just really isn’t that interesting, or that no-one would care.
But do iiiiit. Everyone has different experiences and takeaways from what they’re doing. What one person notices right away as important might take another entirely by surprise. This can be an excellent way of learning more about you as a person, and what you value, too.
If you already know you’re going to do a post on a particular play session, then this would be a time I’d highly recommend taking bulletpoint notes! They help a lot when it comes to recounting the story. :)
Blogging is a team sport. You may not think so at first and make no mistake — I’m not saying there isn’t a huge amount of individual effort required. There is.
But communication in the community is like a constantly fertile garden of ideas. However that communication occurs: Other’s blog posts, direct conversation in the likes of the Blaugust Discord or the resulting discussion in the comments it can spark fantastic work of your own.
Absolutely spend the time you need to, to ensure you’re happy with your own blog and your own work output. But wherever at all possible, allow for time to support — and in turn be supported by — the wider blogging community around you.
News & Events
This isn’t an area I delve into terribly often myself.
I figure for the actual news itself from an informational perspective, there are far better sources for it than I. Sources who are often time the firsthand or primary in the news, and can get it out there faster.
Occasionally though, there is enough impact, thoughts or feelings around a piece of news that it feels appropriate to share a take on it. That take or impression becomes the focus of the post, rather than the news itself.
On the events front — these can be big or small. Upcoming holiday style events in your MMO of choice, perhaps. Or the much bigger events — BlizzCon, TennoCon, etc — if it’s a game or thing you’re passionate about, then sharing your passion on what you discovered or learned can be really engaging both to write about and for others to read about.
Capture Your Ideas as and When They Come
That really should be the key takeaway message. It doesn’t really matter how you do it. Find something that works for you and your lifestyle.
Ideas are everywhere. It’s retaining them beyond the initial pop-in to your mind that can be tricky. :)