How to Easily Come Up With Excellent Ideas for Articles, Part I
Bear with me, I'm going to get to it....
I have a friend, Cara, she has always wanted to be writer. Several times I asked her why she hadn't pursued writing. Her answer was always the same old, "I'm just too busy." Huh. Good answer, I suppose. If there is no time, there is no time. In January (2009) Cara was laid off from her job, with the knowledge that she would not be called back. As just another number adding to today's looming countercyclic economic indicator (ummm...unemployment rate), Cara went through a bit of a depression, as most people do. Being her friend, I tried to comfort and support her, and drank a good many bottles of wine with her, strictly for supportive purposes only, of course. This went on pretty regularly, at least two or three times a week, that is until I became a CCC (constituent of the Countercyclic Club) as well. Yes, we formed our very own club and snubbed those who weren't members. We held nightly meetings, rain, snow or shine. You could say we were very dedicated. The location varied from night to night, depending on which local bar was having happy hour or two dollar drink specials. There were also strict rules to be in our club such as staying up all night, sleeping all day and not doing jack to work towards anything that even smelled like a goal, outside of showering and brushing our teeth.
Then one day, Cara, out of the blue chirps, "I'm gonna start writing!" "That's fantastic!" I said! "I support you one hundred percent! When are you going to start?" "I think tomorrow." She replied. "Tomorrow it is!" I agreed. And we continued to drink. A couple of weeks later, I remembered the conversation and asked her how her writing was going? She went on to say that she hadn't written anything. When I asked her why not, she replied, "I ain't got nothin' to write about!" "Nonsense!" I said, and I told her what I am about to tell you.
So you think you ain't got nothin' to write about, huh?
"It's no use! I'll never be a writer!" Cara would cry, "I don't have a job, I don't do anything but drink, I can barely get out of bed before the sun goes down" and on and on she'd cry. Then I just said, "Stop! You have more to write about than you can imagine!" She didn't believe me, just like you probably don't, but I'm going to tell you the same thing. If you are alive, you have plenty to write about.
Maybe you think like my friend Cara, "I lead a boring life, what do I have to write about that other people will want to read?" Well, let me show you how to come up with more topics than you'll have time to write about. First you need to grab a pen and paper. This will require your physical participation. You are going to start by answering some questions, which I will give you a whole slew of, and you will probably come up with a whole bunch more on your own. I like to divide the questions in to Main Questions and Relative Questions. These are my labels, you can come up with your own if you like. These Main Questions will be like headers of an outline or the trunk of a tree. The Relative Questions you can assimilate to the body of an outline or the branches of a tree if you need a bit of a visual to help you. So, if you have your pen and paper, we can get started.
Main, Relative and Sub Questions
Ok, I want to give as much help as possible here because I know many people get stuck. They for some reason can write and write and write and then suddenly just don't have a clue what to write about. I am going to have to break this in to several more hubs, otherwise it is just going to be entirely too long. Let's use a general category, Well Being. Under well being I would lump physical and mental health, fitness, nutrition, spiritual and emotional as well. Sound good? Great, since we are on the same page with that, lets get started.
At the top of your paper, list your general category. And then you are going to begin with your questions. You want to come up with your Main questions and then you are going to answer them. To your answers you will come up with Relative Questions. When coming up with Relative Questions, if they aren't rolling for you, you can ask yourself, Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How in regards to your Main questions. You can even ask things such as What are the advantages/benefits? What are the Disadvantages? You could end up having more levels of questions, you could have sub questions or supporting questions under your relative questions, you can call them whatever you want. Once you get going, the questions should just start rolling, but in case they don't, I am going to give you more than enough to get started with here and in the related hubs. If you're confused, don't be. You will understand it once you see it. So, lets get started.
General Category: Health/fitness/general well being
Main ?: How Do I Stay Healthy?
Answer: I work out. I eat Right. I take daily supplements. I pray. I meditate.
Relative ?s: Why do you work out? Where do you work out? How often do you work out? Do you belong to a gym? Which gym? What do you like about that gym?
Answers: I work out to stay healthy, keep my weight down, keep my cholesterol down, so I sleep better, so I have more energy, to keep myself mentally alert, to keep my body toned, to keep my stress level down, it's fun, I enjoy it, it's my "me" time.
What you have just given me is a rough outline of an article. The benefits of Working out, according to you. You could write it from a personal point of view (1) or you could actually research it on the internet and write the article from a scientific view (2), or you could do it with a personal point of view and use the facts to back up what you you believe (3). You could even break it down further and get more topics out of it. How Regular Workouts Keep You Healthy (4). Exercise: The Key to Weight Management (or weight loss)(5). How Often Should You Work Out to Stay Healthy? (6) Top Ten Reasons I Work Out at (insert gym name),(7)
Notice I didn't even get in to relative questions about the supplements, praying or meditating. You can do that on your own if you want more topics. You can also see where there could even be more topic ideas from the relative questions that you might think of that I didn't list here.
Main ?: Have you ever had any surgeries or injuries? Major or minor.
Answer: Yes. I had my appendix out. I Broke my arm once. I had 30 staples in my leg once.
Relative?: How did you know you needed your appendix out? How did you break your arm? Why did you get 30 staples in your leg?
Answers: I was having sharp pains in my stomach and was rushed to ER where they told me I needed my appendix out. I jumped off a roof, on to a trampoline and was catapulted on to the grass, which was wet from the sprinkler and I slid and twisted my arm behind me and it broke. The staples were in my leg due to a motorcycle accident I was in.
Articles from this: You could write about the only three times you have ever been in a hospital (8), or you could break it down in to three stories about each situation (9, 10, 11). People love to read about personal stories regarding real life situations. Or you could put some sub questions out there and break this down in to many articles. What are the signs and symptoms of Appendicitis?(12) What does appendix removal surgery entail?(13) Why do we have an appendix? (14) How long does it take a broken arm to heal?(15) You could list what the ER visit was like, did you have Dr.s visits while you had the cast on? What did it feel like? How long was it on? Was your arm any different when you got it off? How long did it take your arm to get back to normal? Did you have to go to physical therapy once the cast was off? You could also write an article on, Trampoline Safety(16). Was the accident covered under a home owners insurance policy? If yes, you could do an article on Getting Your Medical Bills Paid Through Home Owners Insurance(17). The staples in the leg, here you could do a personal story (18) or You could go a couple of angles with the Motorcycle, Statistical Dangers of Motorcycles (19) or Motorcycle Safety(20).
Main ?: Are you or have you been, or is anyone you know now or in the past, addicted to anything?
Answer: Yes, I was addicted to cigarettes. My brother was addicted to prescription drugs.
Relative ?: How long did you smoke? How many times did it take before you finally quit? What prescription drugs did your brother take? How did he/or someone else, realize he was addicted? How did he overcome the addiction?
Articles: My battle to Stop Smoking(21). or My Brothers Battle with Prescription Drug Dependency (could specify the drug)(22) Sub ?'s: What method did you use to quit? How do you stay a non smoker? How did the prescription drug addiction affect your life? The lives of his loved ones? Did he have to go through a treatment plan or did he join a group for addiction? See how these sub questions are getting you more and more article topics? The Most Successful Methods to Quit Smoking(23). The Top 5 Stop Smoking Plans(24). The Dangers of Prescription Drugs (in general or use the specific drug name)(25, 26), Recovering From Prescription Drugs(27), The Effectiveness of Drug Treatment Programs(28), Groups to Help You Stay Clean(29).
See How easy this is? Out of that one general category and 3 main questions we came up with 29 different articles, and I am sure there are more in there. And once you get going on your own, it really is much easier. The actual process of writing things down and asking yourself the questions forces your brain to actively participate instead of just trying to follow my ramblings. You will see once you try it. So here are some more Main questions for you to answer get more topic ideas rolling.
Main ?: How do you deal with stress?
Main ?: Do you or anyone close to you have any physical sicknesses, conditions or diseases, or have you had in the past?
Main ?: Do you or does anyone close to you have, or ever had, a mental illness, including things like depression or anxiety?
Main ?: What types of things do you do for your spiritual and emotional well being?
Main ?: How do you consciously work at keeping a positive mental attitude?
Well, that should more than get you going. I'll be posting the related hubs with a lot more main questions and relative questions, (some with answers and topic ideas, some without, just like here) over the next couple of days so watch out for them! I'll also link them to the bottom of this hub once they are done, so you can check back here in a day or so for more ideas. I am sure this will work for you if you just give it a try. It is how I do it and I have note books with literally thousands of topic ideas, that who knows when I will get around to writing them all! Good Luck! I can't wait to read some of your articles!