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Blogging ideas: Read something other than what you want to write about

February 1, 2010
how to pretend reading a book

Source: HamburgerJung's Flickr page

If you’ve been blogging for any length of time, you’ve probably got a folder in your RSS reader packed full of subscriptions to blogs that follow your same niche. That’s good—it’s smart to keep up with your area of interest. But it’s a good idea to wander outside of your usual haunts on a regular basis. Two reasons:

1. You avoid the echo chamber

2. You’ll have more original ideas

If you’ve been finding yourself in a sort-of rut where all your posts are quotes-and-comments, you may want to reevaluate your approach (unless your blog called Quote and Comment). I thought I might list a few of my favorite non-journalism blogs to give an idea of what inspires my writing:

Kitsune Noir

“…an art and design blog that dabbles in music, movies, food & fashion, all filtered through the brain of Bobby Solomon.”

Kitsune Noir screenshot

This may be one of my favorite blogs period. I found it via the handy Explore option in Google Reader and I’ve been loving it ever since. It is what the tagline says and the most important part is the “filtered through the brain of Bobby Soloman” part. This guy’s just got an eye for cool stuff. A lot of the visuals he picks out have inspired me to incorporate my own visuals into this blog lately (scroll through my recent archives—every post has had at least one photo with it) and to not really care if what I’m saying doesn’t sound easy-to-read or whatever. Bottom line when you’re running a blog is that it’s yours, so make it something you like first, then worry about traffic and all that other crap.

Conversation Marketing and Copyblogger

“Common sense internet strategies” and “Copywriting tips for online marketing success” (respectively).

Conversation Marketing screenshotCopyblogger screenshot

Speaking of “all that other crap,” these two blogs have been invaluable. Once I’ve been inspired and have produced some content, I like to take some time to hone it and make it as nimble and effective as possible—that’s where advice from these guys comes in. I think of them as the editors-I-no-longer-have. They’ve helped out tremendously with advice on how to craft text for the Web and also with SEO headline writing—great for me, since those are things I use on this blog and in my day-to-day at the office.

Lookout Landing, USS Mariner and Geoff Baker’s Mariners Blog*

(A bunch of Seattle Mariners blogs.)

Lookout Landing screenshotUSS Mariner screenshot

Mariners Blog screenshot

These are just straight-up for fun. Your RSS Reader can’t be all work, all the time—you have to have something to unwind with. Sure, you’ve got books and all, too, but what’s nice about just-for-fun blogs is that you’ll probably accidentally soak up some advice that’ll help you improve your own blog. What makes your for-fun blogs so enjoyable? And what about that can you copy over to your own blog? (For the record, I could do better at this. The only thing I’ve really ‘ported from my Mariners bloggers is, in fact, the Mariners.)

*For more on Geoff Baker’s blog as it relates to blogging and journalism, see this fanboy post I did a while back.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. February 2, 2010 9:09 am

    Another top post Paul – couldn’t agree more. But it goes beyond blogging too – with any creative discipline, like video/multimedia for example, creativity needs to be fed a varied diet of lots of stuff. Some of the best ideas come when you throw two disparate things together and see what happens!

  2. February 2, 2010 1:32 pm

    Well said. It’s kind of like working out: If you do the same workout all the time, your muscles get used to it and you level out pretty quick. You’ve gotta change up your routine, increase/decrease reps and weights pretty regularly if your body is going to respond to the exercise and gain strength.

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