31DBBB Day 11: Come Up With 10 Post Ideas

Written by justapen

This is Day 11 of 31 Days to Build a Better Blog, a group project 60+ of us bloggers are doing together in an effort to help each other become better bloggers.

Today’s assignment is either really easy or really not depending on the kind of person you are, how long you’ve been writing/blogging/in ministry, and how many times you looked at the title of this post and said “is it really only day 11?!”

For me, this is actually not nearly as difficult as it seems.  I’m sure there are plenty of bloggers out there, who looked at Darren’s advice to take the five most recent posts and come up with two new ideas from each who then turned around and say “but I can’t think of anything!”  And if not, good for you.  Go forth and blog!

For those of you who have real problems with this assignment, I’ll bet your difficulties come under two categories.  The first one is “Well who wants to hear about that?” or some variation in which you disqualify the validity of your idea/writing.  The second is “no one is interested in that ANYMORE.”

Well I’m going to share with you three of the benefits of being 25 besides being the last generation to really enjoy Saturday morning cartoons. (And yes, I’m really 25 years old).

  1. The world is simply waiting with bated breath to hear my next exhale of brilliance. Ok, maybe not quite that bad, but this kind of optimism and attitude that allows you to value your own writing and ideas.  If you value your ideas, other people are more likely to value them as well.  Don’t throw out an idea unless your reason is “well I don’t really want to write about that.”  That is the only acceptable excuse for the psychological trauma you’ll inflict on that poor idea.
  2. Everything is new and fresh. It doesn’t matter if you’ve heard it before; it doesn’t even matter if you’ve written about it before.  It’s still new and fresh.  It doesn’t matter if people are saying “that’s not culturally relevant,” or “post modernism can’t accept that” or whatever else it might be, if it’s important to you, it’s important to others and they won’t care if it isn’t the latest thing in Vogue magazine, they’ll still gravitate towards it.
  3. I have learned from watching too much TV. The power of advertising has completely brainwashed me so that slogans like “Trust your instincts, obey your thirst” and “Just do it” are now completely applicable to all areas of life including writing.  “Trust your instincts, write about what you yearn to write about, then do it.”


  1. What blocks you from coming up with ideas to write about, or from writing in general?
  2. What are some other ways to come up with ideas to write about?
  3. How much does self value impact the actual value of your content?
  4. (insert snarky, age-relevant discussion topic here)

The Extra Mile

A few other things you can do to take your blog, other bloggers, and this project even further today…

  • Reply & give other bloggers feedback on the little things they do.
  • When other bloggers include a link to a new article they’ve posted today, click, read, and comment on it.
  • Check previous posts in the series for new comments.
  • Tweet, share, & bookmark this post.
  • Beginning today we will review one 31DBBB participants blog each day.  So, please review Phillip Gibb’s blog Synaptic Light and give him some feedback.

Seiji Yamashita writes the Ignition Point blog.  You can also follow him on twitter at @justapen.

About the author


I’ve been all over the place, and tried to learn a lot, but the only thing of which I am certain, is that I am the instrument, the pen, and not the Author. Everything I do or say, all my material comes from God…at least the good stuff. If it isn’t any good chances are I tried to come up with something on my own.


  • My challenge is not so much coming up with ideas — like Chad, they come to me in the course of my day. My problem is that when the idea hits me, I have a burning desire to write about it, but not the time. Then later when I review my notes for post ideas, I may have time, but the muse has left me.

    I'm sure this is not an uncommon problem for writers, and that it's about learning discipline. I'd love to hear how others get past this.

    Yesterday, I wrote two posts. The first sat as a sketchy draft for several days, but finally came out. It's Refocusing this blog, essentially talking about my new elevator pitch (and subsequent redesign) but without using those words.

    My second post came when I saw the news: R.I.P. Ronnie James Dio. When there is a "hot" item like a piece of news or a viral video, I am trying to write about it right away without putting it off, so that I can post it right away to ride the wave of interest. This also avoids the difficulty of having the muse leave me.

  • I normally leave blogging until a subject hits my thoughts from things that I hear. It works well for those spur of the moment blog posts.

    However, it doesn't provide me with consistent blogging opportunities, so this lesson really applies to me.

    Sorry, have to go now! Must think of things to write! Ciao! Aufwiederzehn! Arrividerci! Goodbye! Totsiens!

    Gone thinking…

    • I'm like this.

      I've also read the theory behind getting ideas many times before today and still I don't get the organised approach to blogging.

  • I know this, in the back of my mind, but I'm horrible at heeding this advice. I'm a worship (music) director for a church, and this is very much like songwriting. Once in a while, an idea, a seed of a song, will jump into my head, and a voice in my mind will scream at me: "Write this down!!" But then I'll argue with that voice. "There's no way I'll forget this; it's too good! Besides, I'm already in bed, so I"ll just go over it in my mind a few times and write it down in the morning." Inevitably, I'll wake up and the idea is gone forever.

    I've already had this same thing happen with my blog, and the advice in the very last paragraph of today's reading addresses this. Whenever you come up with a great idea – not just when you sit down to work on finding new ideas – write it down.

    Oh, and great post, by the way. Well done.

    • Wow… great point dude! The same thing happens to me with ideas. I'll need to try to be more diligent with writing those ideas down now too.

      Speaking of which, I just got an app on my Droid that allows me to put post-it notes on my desktop. And since my phone is easier to find sometimes than a pen, maybe I'll use that to capture those thoughts and put them in a place that I am easily reminded of them until I get the chance to do something with the idea.

    • I get the ideas when in locations I can do nothing about them (shower, driving, etc) and then when I get out I've completely forgotten.

      Try writing that down! 🙂

      • Yes – exactly! Although…I guess I *could* get out of bed to write things down. I've heard of people keeping journals or notepads by their bed specifically for this purpose.

    • I find myself thinking similarly on some of these things. It seems almost anything I do or think about I think of how that could become a blog post. And the idea for writing down is great, gotta have a computer or pen and paper nearby.

  • I've started lists in the past for ideas; I even have a folder of pictures/illustrations that could serve as a jumping off point for a topic to write about. So far, I've never gone back to the list or the folder. I think the biggest reason is that my blog is about my journey and so I write about the things that have come up that day in conversation, memories, or happenings.

    However, I really do like the exercise of expanding what has already been done and asking more questions. Some of the topics I've written about could definitely be expanded.

    My post today is a good example. I wrote, "How to Develop a Good Youth Group" based on a conversation I had last week on someone else's blog. As I posted a comment to her question the article sort of just birthed itself. This weekend I took what I had written there and developed it for my own site. It will be interesting to see how people respond to it and to develop it further.

    Would love your comments as well:

    • That's my approacha s well Chad – ideas birthed from comments I've made elsewhere or something I see triggers a thought ….AND….I have the time to do something about it straight away.

      Otherwise it'll be forgotten or consigned to my bit bucket.

      Here's a thought – if time is short, then create a draft post with the heading and a brief idea on what you want to cover then return to it when time allows.

  • I also just remembered something. If you're a visual person who likes to use diagrams, as today's assignment suggests, Google docs now supports drawings with all sorts of diagramming/flowchart graphics built in.

  • 1. The major stumbling block that I face is not taking the time to stop and think or talk with others. I find that ideas usually flow when I take the time to stop.

    2. One of the ways that I get new ideas is to poll groups of people when I meet with them. In particularly students or youth leaders. I am always interested in what he hot topics are or current struggles. Another method I use for blogging, lessons, and sermon prep, is to hold group brainstorming sessions and let other add the valuable content. I also use Darren's method quite frequently for several different projects. This is a very effective method.

    3. I think self value is one of the major keys to any writer or teachers success. If they don't value themselves then they will never value their own opinions or thought process and will assume that everyone else feels the same way. Which means they will never produce the good stuff.

    4. Sorry, no snarky comment to offer.

    Here is today's post:

  • 25! Was I ever that?! Well, yes, and now I'm 60 years old. My biggest blocks to coming up with ideas is not taking daily time to pause and reflect and not allowing quality time to read widely, fear [no body cares what I say, I'll get hurt again, who am I to write]. My best source of ideas comes from stopping to think about what have I been thinking about, or where did that reaction come from. As I examine myself, I find a ton of materials to write about! Sometimes because I'm a jerk. Sometimes because I see patterns that lead to insight! Usually because I believe that I am totally human, you are human, and so we have something in common to share, talk about, or experience. For me self-value has been a two edged sword and, yes, it cut deep. On edge says,"You have no value." It cuts me off from everything – especially blogging. The other edge says, "You are alive so you have value." That edge then starts cutting away the clutter and revealing value I would not have otherwise seen or accepted. Great lesson today! If I have time later, I will blog on it.

  • My challenge is not so much coming up with ideas — like Chad, they come to me in the course of my day. My problem is that when the idea hits me, I have a burning desire to write about it, but not the time. Then later when I review my notes for post ideas, I may have time, but the muse has left me.

    I'm sure this is not an uncommon problem for writers, and that it's about learning discipline. I'd love to hear how others get past this.

    Yesterday, I wrote two posts. The first sat as a sketchy draft for several days, but finally came out. It's Refocusing this blog, essentially talking about my new elevator pitch (and subsequent redesign) but without using those words.

    My second post came when I saw the news: R.I.P. Ronnie James Dio. When there is a "hot" item like a piece of news or a viral video, I am trying to write about it right away without putting it off, so that I can post it right away to ride the wave of interest. This also avoids the difficulty of having the muse leave me.

      • interesting. I have to say that the more often I blog the more traffic and comments I see. It could be a good idea to restrain one's self there there is an opportunity to blog more than once in a day – and instead keep posts aside for rainy days? I am bad with that, for me it must go now. 😉
        Other than that I think 5-6 posts a week is good to keep the momentum up, buy anything less than 3 a week causes some people to loose interest. Maybe a poll would be in order here.

  • I am one that likes to have a plan. So doing a series of related posts is a good idea for me. I have several lists that will make for future posts.
    The important thing for me is to still be willing to get off of my plan and write spur of the moment things as well. These types of posts can often be more relevant and timely. So I think both are necessary to good writing, having a plan and writing spontaneousnly.
    Today's post is up, "Happiness of Hunger"

  • My blogs come to me, not the other way. Because I actively participate in other forums I am often provoked or challenged my what someone says. It drives me to go and seek answers – in my bible, in prayer and in interpersonal debate or even by looking up what others say on it using an internet search. I am often stirred by the struggles of others and write to reach out, because that is where my heart is. Beyond that, I also get genuine inspiration in my quiet times or through fellowship with others. Like Edison, I don't have original ideas, I am just good at developing the ideas of others.

  • I think my problem is when I come up with an idea I overly criticize it internally to the point that I don't think it is worth writing about. My other big problem is time. I have a blog all but written in my head, but I haven't made time to write it out and get it online. Part of that is having been out of the loop on vacation last week and now catching up from being away. Hopefully I'll be able to gear up this week and really participate in this project again.

    • Matt – how about creating a draft post with just the title and a v.brief synopsis.

      Then when time allows ou can add to it and eventually post it … this is something I need to learn.

  • It sounds like two of the big problems people are talking about (aside from the ones I mentioned) are making time to write and then keeping hold of the muse once you do make time. I don't think anyone here can offer any help to someone who is scheduled out the ear and just doesn't have the time to write and stay sane (I DEFINITELY have those days/weeks/months). But as for the muse/inspiration question I'll share my personal favorite understanding of that mystery from Stephen King.
    He says that Inspiration is what happens once you START writing. It's like an old guy with a smelly cigar and the occasional push or nudge in the direction that just makes it easier to get going. Sometimes he won't get the memo about your writing schedule and make your life difficult, but if you put your nose to the grindstone long enough, he'll show up eventually.

    PS – my post for today which has NOTHING to do with the topic 🙂

    • I would have to agree. One of the things I kick myself over sometimes is not making time on a daily basis to just write. Even if I don't publish it to a blog, the act of writing just helps in the long term.

    • I find this to be true with both music and writing. Ideas generate new ideas. As he says in the reading today, when you're brainstorming, no idea is immediately dismissed, but you won't come up with ideas until you…<drum roll>…start coming up with ideas!

      I usually charge at least $100 for each profound insight, but because this is such a great community we're forming here, I'll let you have that one for free. 😉

  • Insecurity, and wondering if people will really want to read what I wrote are a couple of things that sometimes block me from writing about something. You can look at other blogs or google "how to" to find some ideas to write about. Answer one of the how to questions people are asking on google, it's an idea.

    Self-worth I believe can have a lot to do with what you write or don't write about. In my opinion if you don't want to share it with the world don't blog about it. Blog about things you know about, things that could help others, what is inspiring you or what you are learning, etc.

    I didn't have any trouble coming up with stuff to write about, but had more trouble organizing it and figuring out which ones would be okay to blog about. Here are some of my ideas – Showing Team Appreciation, Contentment, What to look for in a college, Reasons to blog, Community, … A series of posts or a web of ideas are on Community – Your Community – What is Community, Events, Church, expand on church – outreach and connecting with the community, communication, online church, getting people to choose your church, what is the church, …That looks hard to follow, wish I could put the chart here.

    Todays current post is "The Acts 2:42 Church. What Would it Look Like Today?"

  • This is great considering my own "stepping out of boundaries" last night with my most recent blog post addressing homosexuality. Yikes. I have never blogged about such a contraversial issue. But after reading an article in the NY times, I was absolutely compelled by the Lord to respond. So I prayed through every line desiring only one thing: to rightly represent our faithful Father. Then i reluctantly/cowardly hit "publish." You can read it at

    Regarding today's assignment, similar to what some of you have said, I am not good at sitting down and just thinking up ideas. It seems my blog is more fluid, so to speak. When the Lord compels me, I write it down.

    I did like the idea on another day's assignment to keep up with news articles for fresh ideas. In fact that is how I came across the article that sparked my "most contraversial post ever."

    Oh and…love the stick drawing (as usual) 🙂 Great post, justapen. And I won't comment about your tiny little age.

  • I've read the theory behind getting ideas many times before today and still I don't get the organised approach to blogging.

    So in an effort to take it forward I instituted my first ever 'proper' series yesterday and I've labelled it "Internet Safety Sunday" or #ISS on twitter. The idea being that once a week I'll post a tip, idea, policy, review on internet safety.

    And today, I wake up to find a company has contacted me to review their software – so it's a start….

  • I know that I should plan out future posts, but rarely do. I have been waiting for this assignment to finally do it for real, but yet naps for my two boys are almost over and I've yet to plan out one post.

    I think about post ideas all the time but never seem write down my ideas. This month I am participating in my own challenge on my blog to organize 10 photos a day, and this has not only given me something to post about everyday, but I come across things that I know would make a good series of posts later (i.e. something educational about how to preserve photos). It also feels like "Ground Hog Day" every day.

    I am already thinking about a self challenge for June and this will lend it's self to a few posts as least. I have to upload new photos to my parent's digital photo frame for their anniversary and will be dealing with procrastination and a re-learning curve to accomplish this.

  • This has been one of my favorite activities so far in the 31 days project because I know Darren is right about this. Writing about fresh topics keeps me wanting to blog regularly. One of barriers in this area is that I don't set aside enough time to brainstorm blogging ideas. I need more "think" time and agree with everyone who has talked about writing EVERYTHING down. I have forgotten some really amazing blog topics and bloggable phrases by depending on my memory rather than a scrap of paper and a pen!

    My non-related this topic yet highly important and hopefully entertaining blog post can be found here:

  • I am always thinking about and looking for new ideas as I go about my day. I usually pray about what God would have me write on my blog too, since I see my blog as a ministry opportunity, also. I'm off to brainstorm and write down those ideas!

    Thanks for a great post today!


    • My head buzzes about with ideas, some disapearing because I fail to write them down, others I avoid because I am lazy. ha ha ha, I need a notebook but feel silly writing in it, I tend to write and doodle in a way that the notebook will look cool if someone else found it.

      • I do that too — try to think what my journal, etc. would look like if someone found it after I die, or whatever. Why do we do that? I'm trying to get past that and just create!


  • It's hard to find the time to write a list when I can barely find the time to write a post. My plan is to write 1 post in each of my 4 categories; stories, poems, articles, gifts each week. Of course I'm lucky to get 1 or 2 posts done a week. For inspiration I use my life experiences for my stories, my gifts or life experiences for my poems and articles and try to use holidays and occasions for my gift suggestions. I need to be more diligent at this. Perhaps 1 brainstorming session at the beginning of the month and then using the list to post each week.
    One article I read said to write post in advance and just date them in advance so they automatically publish on the days you want them to.

  • One of things I have found helpful is capturing ideas the moment you have them. I usually have a memo on my bberry to capture the ideas when i am not close to my computer or use a google doc(convenient and accessible) to jot them down when I am at a computer.

    For me I would have to say the biggest barrier is the " who wants to hear that?" question.

  • I am not prone to having trouble coming up with ideas. My main issue is finding the time to write. Still working on a schedule.

    As for finding ideas for topics to write about they are all around me. Some of my best ideas will come from my kids or my wife. I also find being an avid reader helps.

    I am finding you have to have a passion for what you are writing about. If there is no personal investment in what you write reading it is often a chore.

  • I like this idea. I didn't at first, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I will have an idea here and there as I read other people's blogs, as I go through my day, as I read responses to my own blog, etc., and I typically don't act on them unless they just keep bugging me.

    So I did the circle thing a couple of hours ago, and I confess, if I hadn't wanted it for the purpose of photographing it for my guest blog tomorrow, I probably wouldn't have gotten around to it. But it's a great tool for brainstorming ideas. Works for stories, art, poetry–lots of things. I'm glad it did it. Glad! So there! 😀

  • I just spend way too much time on the finer techy details–like coming up with an image for my post. Until I grabbed one of my sons, I prodded around for an hour! Not to mention the hopping up and down during my post. Another busy day. Hope to be a step ahead for tomorrow.

    Enjoyed the assignment as it will enrich my idea list for posts. I also like Seiji wrote about putting your list of ideas on your desktop. The whole post by Seiji was great.

    Follow my URL to see what else I said:

    and the post that spurred it:

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