Simple Ways to Find Ideas on Which to Write

DarrylBrooks by Kaleidico on Unsplash

The simple answer to how to never run out of ideas is to, wait for it, never run out of ideas.

Genius, right?

But stick with me, and we’ll get through this.

I currently have seventeen ideas on my list, and I’m starting to get twitchy. That’s not enough. I could burn through those in a week. Some of those ideas, I’ll get lucky, and they will turn into two or three articles.

Some, I’ll look at and have no idea what I was thinking. Or I will know what I was thinking, but I didn’t think it through. It’s a thought, but not an article. Those I’ll save to my notes list. Maybe it becomes a paragraph somewhere.

But seventeen? I need to get busy. I’ve written before about my concept of a sustainable rhythm. And the core of that process is I write at least one article every day. Every day. That eats up a lot of ideas.

So, how do I make sure I never run out?

First, you have to have an easy way of getting them out of your head and into a more permanent storage device. A laptop, phone, tablet, even an old-fashioned paper notebook is excellent. A head? Not so much. I’ll probably watch some TV later, and that will empty my head of every thought except puffed or crunchy Cheese Doodles.

How often have you had the sudden realization that a great idea was just there? And now, it’s gone. If you are a paper and pencil kind of person, you’re all set. Just whip out your notebook, scribble a note and refer to it as needed. I would certainly go that route for the simplicity and effectiveness except for one small detail.

I can’t read my own writing.

So, I use my devices, one of which is always with me. But even then, you need a common repository for those ideas. No matter which device you are using, your thoughts end up in the same place. Evernote, OneNote, and Google Keep are just three solutions.

But where do you get the ideas to begin with?

I look. I listen. I observe. I read.

Pay attention. Ideas are all around you all the time.

I just wrote an article about how to find things to take pictures of. In that piece, I described a process where I just sat at my desk and looked around the room. In the space of a few seconds, I had half a dozen subjects for my photography. Here is that list, directly from the article:

  • A pile of paper overflowing my shred box. Illustrates shredding, environment, recycling, waste.
  • A wall-mounted charging station full of LED lights and cables. Illustrates technology, power, cabling.
  • An antique armoire full of great details.
  • My new guitar, good for at least a dozen images
  • An old, ladder-back, cane-seat chair. Full of texture and details.

And here is a list of articles, not including the half-dozen I could write about how to photograph these subjects.

  • Why Shredding Personal Documents is Important
  • Why Shredding Personal Documents is a Waste of Time
  • How to Recycle Effectively
  • How to Go Paperless in Your Office
  • The Evolution of USB Cables
  • The Environmental Impact of Our Electronic Lives
  • How to Tell a Real Antique From a Fake
  • How to Learn Guitar
  • Playing Guitar for Older Adults
  • The Best Three Guitarists Today
  • How to Find an Ergonomically Correct Chair

And, I didn’t even try that hard, or look that long. And speaking of recycling, do that. You can not only get many ideas from a single source; you can write the same idea multiple times. You mean I should repeat myself? Yes. You can write the same idea multiple times.


You have to give it a different slant. Use different words. But the same idea? Absolutely. When you finish this article, (Not now, finish it first) Google the title of this article. Wow, look at that. Why do people keep writing about the same thing? Simple, because people keep reading about it.

Partially, because everybody wants to find an easy button. Try this. Hold down Shift-Alt-P-Z and type in 47 and hit enter. A list of fifty article ideas will appear on your screen. Really?

No, not really, you moron, you have to work for it. Maybe read one more article, and it will all be made clear. This one for instance. Tell all your friends about it; they will thank you for it.

Actually, I am the only one that will thank you for it, but do it anyway.

The other and better reason to rehash the same subject is timing. Everybody wants to read something new and fresh. It doesn’t matter if the information hasn’t changed. Most search engines will factor age in the results. And many people will filter or sort on the date of the information.

So, once your article is old, no matter how great it is, it will eventually fade from the results. So, what do you do? Write it again. People are still searching for the same answers. Make sure yours show up in the results.

Go back over the last few years and take a look at your best-performing articles. Every one of them is just dying to get written again. Do that.

Here’s another great idea I am borrowing from my photography. Way back in the last century, the pony express used to bring around these brightly colored packages of bound paper called magazines. You can still find some in existence today. Maybe in an antique store or your grandparent’s house.

Or your coffee table.

That’s where I picked up the latest edition of O Magazine. That’s right, I read Oprah, get over yourself.

Now, starting with the cover, flip through every page. Don’t read anything, just glance at the titles, the pictures, and the ads. If you don’t come away with at least 50 articles, Oprah will be very disappointed.

I’m not going to give you my article ideas; I’m not an idiot. But here is a list of topics I will write one or more articles about.

  • Grilling
  • Books
  • Small business
  • Skin Care
  • Traveling Light
  • Going Home Again

And that’s just the cover.

Listen. A dying art. Most people are so intent on what they are going to say next that they don’t listen. But if you do so, you can get some great ideas. What are other people interested in? What questions are they asking? Where are they going? What are they buying? Listen to people when they talk to you. Listen to people when they aren’t talking to you.

Some call it eavesdropping. I call it research.

Finally, I will reveal my deepest, darkest secret of article idea curation. (I can’t believe how gullible you people are)

I got this idea from one of the greatest heroes in history and my personal mentor, Jesse James.

When asked why he robbed banks, he said because that’s where the money is.

Where are the ideas for writing blog articles?

In blogs. Preferably in sites that aggregate blogs, such as News Break.

If you can’t come up with good ideas on your own, steal someone else’s.

Come on, don’t get all pissy, everyone does it.

It’s just like rehashing an old idea of yours except that it’s, you know, not yours.

Okay, if you need to feel better about yourself, don’t call it stealing, call it being inspired.

Look around. Listen to Others. Read other articles.

Ideas are everywhere.

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I am a writer with over 16 years of experience and hundreds of articles. I write about photography, productivity, life skills, money management and much more.

Alpharetta, GA

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