If you're trying to write articles, the chances are that you'll be up early in the morning trying to get your brain cells churning, right? Not really. Most people actually do quite the opposite.
They'll sit down to write an article when all the rest of the work is done. And that's when they're most tired. Try thinking up something when you're tired, and you run into a wall of concrete. You can't even think up a topic, let alone any sub-topics.
So how do you break through this wall to find your topics?
You do what all of us do. You fire up your computer, and go online. And now you're on a five-minute treasure hunt to find topics. In fact if you follow the instructions below, this treasure hunt will be over and done with, in five minutes. And ten-fifteen minutes later, you'll have a wealth of topics and sub-topics.
So let's take it step by step.
Step 1: Go to a site like Amazon.com or Dummies.com
Step 2: Find the topic you're interested in.
Step 3: Find the contents page of the book.
Step 4: Copy two or three sub-topics.
So let's say I wanted to write on some random topic that I know nothing about: Like gardening.
Instantly I find several books (and each book becomes a sort of topic).
1) Composting For Dummies
2) Container Gardening
3) Feng Shui for Gardens
Yay, now all I have to do is look inside the contents pages of one book:
Note: In this case the gardening led me to Feng Shui.
And instantly I get 25 sub-topics
Part I: Getting Started: Feng Shui Basics.
Chapter 1: Discovering the Benefits of Feng Shui.
Chapter 2: Key Feng Shui Principles.
Chapter 3: Reading the Vibes and Using the Feng Shui Octagon.
Chapter 4: Exploring Your Feng Shui Cure Toolbox.
Changing the spirit of the place: Using ceremony to create a new feeling.
Chapter 5: Tapping the Power of the Five Elements.
Chapter 6: The Magic of Intention and Reinforcement.
Part II: Outdoor Feng Shui: Energizing Your Home's Exterior.
Chapter 7: Improving the Energy of Your Lot, Landscape, and House Exterior.
Chapter 8: Making the Most of Your Lot and House Shape.
Chapter 9: Open Sesame! Your Entryway and Entrance.
Part III: Indoor Feng Shui: Boosting the Energy of Your Home and Office.
Chapter 10: Making Sense of Your Home's Layout.
Chapter 11: Jazzing Up Your Bedroom for Increased Health, Energy, and Romance.
Chapter 12: Nourishing Health and Wealth in the Kitchen.
Chapter 13: Applying Feng Shui to the Main Areas of Your Home.
Chapter 14: Parts Is Parts: Other Important Areas of the House.
Chapter 15: Powerful Ways to Boost Your Home's Energy.
Chapter 16: Using Feng Shui to Enhance Your Career.
Part IV: Special Feng Shui: Performing Ceremonies and Personal Cures.
Chapter 17: Invisible Factors and Feng Shui Blessing Ceremonies.
Chapter 18: Exploring Personal Feng Shui Adjustment Methods.
Part V: The Part of Tens.
Chapter 19: Ten Principles for Success with Your Feng Shui.
Chapter 20: Ten (+1) Ways to Increase Wealth and Stimulate Cash Flow: Show Me the Money!
Chapter 21: Ten Ways to Create Harmony in Your Marriage (Or Find That Perfect Partner).
Chapter 22: Ten Ways to Enjoy Better Health with Feng Shui.
Chapter 23: Ten Tips for Selling, Finding, and Buying a House.
Chapter 24: Ten Tips for Apartment, Condo, and Townhouse Living.
Chapter 25: Ten Unique Calligraphies to Bless Your Life.
Whoa, that's about 23 more sub-topics than I needed.
But hey, I'm well on my way. Now I have my topics and sub-topics. And I can now take any sub-topic and then create sub-sub-topic or angles. And even as I'm doing this, the thought does cross my mind: Is this cheating?
So are you cheating when you copy the topics?
You would be cheating if you copied the content, but topics themselves are just topics. It starts to get serious when you copy word for word, sequence by sequence.
If you just get your inspiration by choosing topics, there's no problem at all. If you feel uncomfortable using the exact title of the topic, you can also tweak it to suit yourself. e.g. Ten Unique Calligraphies to Bless Your Life can become Ten Calligraphies to Create Happiness At Dinner.
Whatever you do, stick to the online book stores (or offline stores, if you choose).
Don't go rambling through Google or some other search engine. Online book stores have order as part of their system. It's easy to find a book, easy to find a table of contents, and easy to then get what you need.
If you land up on Google and search random sites, you'll waste container loads of time because you'll need to re-focus on every new website you land on. You'll need to work out how the content is placed, where it's located, Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah.
And that's just a big headache you don't need. A bookstore is the best place.
And one book will keep you busy for a while…
You get dozens of topics from just one book. And guess what? There will be at least fifty (if not fifteen hundred books) on your specific subject. So you'll be going a long time before you run out of topics and sub-topics. However, there's a danger of doing too much.
Which is why you should avoid working on more than two-three topics at a time
If you have too many topics you're working on, you'll be confused. You'll have way too much choice and then struggle (remember you're tired when you're doing this assignment).
And the factor of having to choose whether you're going to tackle Topic 14 or Topic 25 is just too hard to resist. You'll go round in circles and then crash when you run out of energy.
So let's summarise:
1) Topics are easy to find. Any online bookstore will provide at least a few thousand topics.
2) Stick to the online bookstores. It's easy to get lost on the Internet.
3) Avoid more than two-three topics at a time.
The next time you're ready to write your topic, try doing it the first thing in the morning, when your brain is rested. However should you find that the midnight oil is the only recourse for you, make sure you jump online.
15 minutes later, you should be raring to go.
Next Step: “My first meeting with a client used to be nothing more than a presentation of my portfolio.”
“I never have “writer's block” when starting a new sales letter because the BA gives me structure. ”
I use the Brain Audit every single day in my copywriting. I never have “writer's block” when starting a new sales letter because the Brain Audit gives me structure. I just start by answering the questions and then start fleshing things out until I have a complete letter. It's amazing how fast I can write, and I know I haven't left out any important details.
I also love the audio feature–now I can listen in my car and refresh my memory whenever I want to.
If you sell anything, buy this product!
Julie Anne Eason, Maine, USA
Judge for yourself The Brain Audit: Why Customers Buy And Why They Don't
New Products: Introductory Price
1) “Lazy Testimonials” Attract The Wrong Clients. Learn how to use the power of the ‘six critical questions' to get incredible testimonials–and attract clients that make every day an absolute joy.
2) Do you sometimes wonder if planning books are written just for the ‘organised' people?
Learn Why Most Planning Fails: And The Critical Importance of Chaos in Planning
3) Does your websites, brochures, presentations, etc..confuse your clients? .
Put some sanity into your design with some really simple tweaks.
3) Yes, you needs visuals on your sales page, but how do you use visuals to immediately improve your sales conversion?
Wow, what great tips! I launched my maths blog last week and plan on posting twice a week. I do have lots of topics jotted down but these tips will keep me going on those days when I just don’t feel like writing about any of the topics on my list. Thanks!
What a brilliant idea. I have a blog page attached to my online shop and write other articles for local media. This is a great way to get ideas.
Charles Onyeneke says
Quite interesting and insight-filled. I’ll also suggest checking out photo galleries and picture collecting sites like Flickr.com, Photobucket.com, SmugMug.com, and even Facebook.com. Browsing through the varied pictures and the sometimes out-of-the-ordinary scenery can wash up your imagination and give you a fountain of writing inspiration.
Many thanks for this post.
like this! like this!
I have 20 articles to write due tomorrow and this helped!!!!
Thaaaankkksss a loooot!