Finding things to Write About

Finding things to Write About

As I'm moving from fortnightly to weekly, I'm tackling the problem of what to write about.

[image by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash]

The Curse of the Open Brief

The more open your brief, the harder it is to decide on a particular subject for a blog post.

With fiction it's similar. Give someone a blank page but to boundaries and it becomes harder. Give them a word limit, a specific subject or some writing prompts and things become easier.

And for a blog on "thoughts, stories and ideas", the brief is pretty long.

The Blessing of the Narrow Scope

When you have a more specific brief, finding your story or article takes a step forward.

My gaming blog Rand Roll is on random generators for roleplaying games. It's a the niche topic in the specific hobby of Roleplaying Games.

I know the themes I want to write about, the people I want to interview and many specific subjects to cover. Plus many of the articles are mostly lifted from the digital booklets I've written.

But it is still a broad enough topic to interest me as a writer, with room to teach my audience something and learn in the process.

Becoming More Specific

To narrow down the options you have to pick something. Or pick a few things. It might be for a few months or a few years. You might create something once only to realise something else is calling to you.

My last update include themes for Dice Song of... writing prompts, writing experiments, solo travel, storytelling, side projects and creativity.

These are broad topics and don't help in finding what to write about

Some Tactics in Use

So here are a few things I'm using to help me write future articles for Dice Song

Having Some Backups. I'm writing a couple of articles ahead of time. Ones that aren't time-specific and aren't part of a larger series. These can be used to fill in if I can't complete an article or life gets in the way.

Keeping a Backlog. When I get an idea for an article it goes onto the trello list "Articles Backlog" on the DiceSong board. These are nothing beyond a title, and the list gets pruned every quarter. I can see "Dance and Creativity", "the Rewards Deck" and "5 Audiobooks of 2021" on there.

Writing Series. Having a series on a larger topic means that it can be broken down into several articles. These don't have to be written at once and ideas can be  developed over time. And it becomes a lot easier to write future articles when you have a direction. I've started this with Story Icons.

Asking Questions. The last is a brainstorm article ideas for one or more topics. I like to set aside a fixed amount of time for each topic and write down ideas, from the ridiculous to the mundane.

There are other things like writing prompts, brain dumps and questions about questions which will turn up in the future.

Finishing Up

Using "Asking Questing" with 15 minutes on the themes of Writing Prompts, Solo Travel, Storytelling and Side Projects will be an hour well spent tomorrow.  

What methods do you use for picking what to create?

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Duncan is an aspiring creative nomad, who publishes random lists and tools for roleplaying games. Hobbies include salsa, games, books, podcasts, languages and history.
It varies. Probably in Europe