How to Come up With Fresh Crap for Your Blog


The biggest obstacle I face with blogging is coming up with fresh content.
And not swearing.
Swearing may be my largest obstacle.

Mom told me that when I moved to Los Angeles I turned into a “raging swearing jerk” that she “no longer recognized”. After LA, I dropped the jerky part, but kept the swearing. It has not only become a problem with my blog and social media profiles (my 92 year-old grandmother de-friended me on Facebook because of “my language”), but also in real life where I often find myself dropping little tiny F turds every now and then at work or in meetings. But my swearing is not the point of this post. I’m not even going to “accidentally” place a “fucking” or “shit” anywhere in that past sentence to try and be humorous.

The number one problemo I have with the bane of my existence, er, blog, is coming up with shit that doesn’t bore people to tears. Ideas I don’t feel like I’ve rehashed, don’t give a crap about, or know that others could give a flying rat’s poop about.

I’ve written a post before about climbing your way kicking and screaming out of writer’s block with advice I never listen to myself. In fact, reading the old post now I realize that I’m not as dumb as I think I am and I should maybe listen to myself more often. Except when I tell myself it’s ok to take a nap after I eat dinner. Because then I’m secretly lying to myself. I’m not taking a nap! I’m going to wake up six hours later with a food baby and my work clothing shifted 45 degrees on my body.

Sometimes my brain spews out interesting content. Sometimes my brain acts like how John Cusack’s performances are now- dull, lifeless, and robotic…and fat. Sometimes I stare at the computer screen for a very long time and hit refresh on my Facebook page all Rain Man-like and then go post on Twitter what I’m doing on Facebook. I will do this for a couple of hours until I fall asleep again in my work clothing, having most likely eaten a second dinner.

Many bloggers will tell you that they keep a journal of ideas to blog about. I do and it’s proven helpful. Especially during the moments when I’m supposed to be doing something else and this GREAT AND WONDERFUL idea slowly paddles it’s way into my brain. Before I let the thought boat make it’s way out, I grab my journal and scribble down notes. It’s important to do this. If you tell yourself, “Oh, I will remember this idea later!”, you will not, and you will regret not having written it down. Just like when you come up with all those brilliant concepts right before you trickle into sleep. If you don’t write them down, they’re lost forever and you just missed your opportunity to become the next Steve Jobs or Joe Francis.

I keep a running list of ideas. Some of the ideas are topics that are related to me personally- what is going on in my life, what is not going on in my life, what I should be doing with my life, and what I will never do with my life. Some of the ideas are related to current events and pop culture. It’s important to stay up on what is new and hot. Read what people are talking about on Twitter and Facebook, follow various news and entertainment outlets. I like to read Flavorwire, NPR,Huffingtonpost,The Daily Beast, The Frisky, Inhabitat, and WebUrbanist to get inspiration. Reading other blogs are also a great way to see what people are writing and what readers respond to.

Another good practice, and one that I told myself recently to take heed to, is recycling old material. If you have a post that readers responded well to, why not do another one? Or start a weekly or monthly theme? Just because you already wrote about it and think it’s now boring, doesn’t mean that people aren’t still interested in the topic. For example, I wrote a post called “Indie Music According to Middle-Aged People” where I recorded my parents reactions to listening to the popular indie music of 2009 and 2010. Well, it’s 2011 now so why don’t I subject my parents to listening to more “depressing funeral noise” and get their opinions? In fact, I think I will do that this weekend.

And lastly, something I mention in my writer’s block post and is an absolute no-brainer (but something I have to remind myself minutely), STEP AWAY FROM THE F’ING COMPUTER. Inspiration ain’t gonna hit you if you sit on your duff for hours in your tiny house on your tiny couch eating tiny pieces of cheese. Go outside, get in trouble, buy a motorcycle though you can’t afford to, drink a 40, drive to Waco, Texas, DO SOMETHING. ANYTHING. Believe me. Even walking two feet helps (and it will prevent you from getting F-A-T).

If you find yourself stuck trying to come up with fresh crap, here are some resources that are helpful:
7 Ways to Keep Fresh Content Flowing– Problogger
Howe to Come Up with Fresh Content Every Day– Will Work 4 Followers (a blog by Single Dad Laughing)
5 Ways to Create Fresh Content for Your Blog– American Express’ Open Forum

Do you keep a journal of blog ideas? What websites help inspire you to come up with content?

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  • Reply The Writer Currently Known as Rory May 26, 2011 at 4:52 pm

    Mom told me that when I moved to Los Angeles I turned into a "raging swearing jerk" that she "no longer recognized". After LA, I dropped the jerky part, but kept the swearing.

    I've never been a raging swearing jerk while living in the Santa Clarita Valley, north of Los Angeles, but sometimes a jerk, and I hate it, but it's mainly in defense because of the flood of jerks that populate this place. I can't wait to leave soon enough. Planning to settle in Southern Nevada, in Henderson, very near Las Vegas. It feels more human there.

    Do you keep a journal of blog ideas?

    I don't. Generally, my ideas come from either the books I'm reading, what's going on during the day, or any trips we might take, which isn't often, but lately my entries have been about Las Vegas, because a move may be imminent, depending on how my dad's job interview goes on Tuesday in Henderson. Whereas I loved going to Walt Disney World every weekend when I was a little (We lived so close to it in Casselberry) because it fired my imagination every time, Las Vegas does the same for me as an adult, and it's a proper change, because I don't think WDW would have the same impact now.

    There are times when I've got to rush to the computer to write something because an idea just pops up that won't leave me alone. I just let my brain decide for me.

  • Reply Brooke Farmer May 26, 2011 at 5:57 pm

    Blog ideas, story ideas, novel notes and poetry all get saved in the notebook app on my phone.

  • Reply Jill May 26, 2011 at 7:03 pm

    It's hard to come up with new post ideas. Usually the ones i try hardest on seem to be the least popular and get the least comments. If I ramble or talk about food, i get the most responses lol

  • Reply Hipstercrite May 26, 2011 at 7:59 pm

    @Rory- You're lucky you don't have to write things down. I think my memory is going. I blame social media. 😉

    @Brooke- Really?! I sometimes use it for ideas, but mostly I hate my iPhone. I'm on a computer so much that I try to stay away from my mini computer in my hand.

    @Jill- I have the SAME experiences. It seems to always work that one. The ones you put blood, sweat, and tears into people are like, "Blah".

  • Reply The Writer Currently Known as Rory May 26, 2011 at 11:29 pm

    @Rory- You're lucky you don't have to write things down. I think my memory is going. I blame social media. 😉

    My aversion to social media probably helps. I don't own a Kindle, I stick to printed books, I spend very little time on Facebook, and I don't have a Twitter account.

    As to writing things down, only for my book-related research. And then, once those notepad pages are transcribed and saved to my computer and my flash drive, I trash them.

  • Reply Big Mark 243 May 27, 2011 at 1:29 am

    Eh… I don't blog for readers as much as myself so what I do journal is the stuff that is on my mind and happening in my life at a particular moment. Besides, I use to many run on sentences to think that I write a blog that even approaches the level of writing or is capable of generating the interest as blogs such as yours does..!

  • Reply Teeny May 27, 2011 at 4:08 am

    I write ideas on my calendar..the one that my son made me, it has a giant hand drawn sunflower on it, which now has blog ideas scrawled all over it. And I still heart John Cusack, i can't help it…but loved that you called him fat. he has puffed up somewhat.

  • Reply Guise Faux May 27, 2011 at 4:20 pm

    I have tons of notes for blog ideas and there's no shortage of inspiration in my niche hobby. Usually I have up to half a dozen rough drafts in the can waiting to be rewritten because they suck. The tricky part is actually finishing and posting the damned things more than once a week. And I cuss way too $%&*ing much.

  • Reply IT (aka Ivan Toblog) May 27, 2011 at 4:24 pm

    Here is another take.

  • Reply The Sass Hole May 30, 2011 at 1:09 pm

    I share your problem with swearing. The f-bomb just feels so right. I also blame living in Montreal, where "fucké" is a verb, as in "C'est completement fucké," or "It's completely fucked." This is not considered crass; it's like saying everything's screwed up. Their cuss words have to do with the church and religion; my favorite is TABARNAC, which means "tabarnacle," the place where you store communion wafers in a church. (A native Quebecois told me you usually shout it after doing something like hitting your thumb with a hammer.)

    But I digress.

    Lately, I've been getting good ideas on the bus. Or, well, maybe they're not GOOD ideas, but they're certainly ODD ones, and I doubt many people are tapping this particular source of inspiration. It's kind of like Jarmusch's Night On Earth, but on the bus.

  • Reply laurenne May 30, 2011 at 6:32 pm

    Ugh! I have a hard time remembering all my ideas. I always say "I'm going to write this down AS SOON AS I AM FINISHED doing ______." And then I never do. And then I get so mad at myself.

    But your content would never bore anyone, my darling. Your brain is too cool to come up with boring shit.

  • Reply YoungUrbanAmateur June 6, 2011 at 8:20 pm

    I feel like carrying around a notebook and writing down ideas as they come is one of the keys to creating stuff (not just writing)… yet is also incredibly hard for many of us to do. Maybe it's because the feeling of "I had this vague idea, now I have to write it down" can be a little bit of a buzzkill.

  • Reply VanityofVanities September 20, 2011 at 10:08 am

    "Do you keep a journal of blog ideas? What websites help inspire you to come up with content?"

    I definitely don't keep a journal of blog ideas, but I do keep a mindnode or free mind notes. I write my ideas generally then let it flow to specific details and topics. I found CopyBlogger.com and Distilled.net as very helpful resources for getting the right idea on a blog. 🙂

    Thanks for sharing,
    Cathy@embroidery digitizing

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