Even the most articulate and renowned writers from every time period have experienced the all too-familiar and highly dreaded idea-road stopper known as “writer’s block.” But just because it’s not out of the norm doesn’t mean that there aren’t some simple exercises bloggers can do to keep the creative juices flowing at all times—after all, fresh and frequent blog posts is what attracts new readers and keep the ones you already have. With that said, below are some pre-writing exercises and resources you can turn to you whenever the well is running dry to generate a plethora of blog post topics.

5. Brainstorm.

Perhaps of the oldest and most basic pre-writing exercises, brainstorming is still a very effective way to come up with a solid list of blog post topics. To help you with the brainstorming process however, consider using the following 3 resources:

  • Google News: searching popular headlines that are currently fluttering in cyberspace can easily help you come up original or spun topics for your blog. All you need to do is simply type in a key word(s) in the search bar and shuffle through the results page to see the latest news (including controversial studies and stats) pertaining to your niche.
  • Social Media: Facebook and Twitter are also excellent sources for you to come up with possible blog topics. Pay attention to your friend’s statuses and take note of any trends. Using Twitter specifically, make sure to use the hashtag feature in the search bar and follow important people that are associated with your blog’s niche to come up with possible story ideas.
  • Read Archives: Go back to some of the more popular posts on your blog and see if you can expand on them—perhaps you can create some sort of series.  Pay close attention to your reader’s comments as well. If there is a particular debate between two readers or if one reader makes a good argument about a subject you can possibly create an entire post on that as well.

4. Free Write.

Another easy exercise to get your noggin working and put some ideas to paper is to simply write—about anything. Whatever is the back of your mind, your most recent dream, or about your daily routine— whatever you want, just write it down. And don’t worry about grammatical errors or concentrate on formulating complete sentences (bullet point lists and even sketches can work too). The idea of free writing is to simply get you in the habit of writing everyday and to learn how to unlock your mind. Most likely you’ll end up writing down a bunch of unusable gibberish, but you may strike a gold mine and come up with some great blog topics.  *Additional tip, always bring your journal with you (no matter where you go). You never know when a great idea will pop into your head and you’ll need to write it down. And don’t be surprised; even the most mundane things can bring forth inspiration.

3. Look at Mementos.

Another excellent pre-writing exercise is to take out your old memory box and see if you can gain inspiration for a blog post topic from items that may have sentimental value to you, such as old photos and videos. It’s equally useful to collect and save unique pictures, images, postcards or quotes that you find interesting and challenge yourself to come up with a prompt/ blog topic with these items.

2. Read—A Lot.

If you a struggling coming up with fresh content it may also be a good idea to turn to the pros, you know the fellow bloggers and writers whose work you admire and would like to emulate. Reading articles in magazines that don’t necessarily relate to your niche can be inspiring as well. For example, if Teen Vogue publishes an article called How to Dress like Victoria Beckham and you own a blog designed for small business owners, you can easily write an article on How to Properly Dress when Meeting Investors. When reading material from your favorite writers, don’t just look at the topic they are writing about but also pay close attention to style and voice.  When looking at blogs, make sure to bookmark your favorite articles so that you can easily come back to them when you’re searching for inspiration and topic ideas. Look at the reader’s comments as well and see if there is a way you formulate a full-length article to respond to a question or argument.

1. Make an Outline.

Also seen as one of the more traditional pre-writing techniques, make sure to make a quick outline before you write. This pre-writing technique can help keep your thoughts organized and allow you to write more cohesively. This is because making an outline can help you group subjects together and is visually easier for you to see the similarities or differences of your points. It should also give you a better idea of how to present those points to your readers. Because of the outline, you may also come to the realization that one of your points is so strong that it can make a good piece all on its own.

This guest post was written by Mariana Ashley, a freelance writer who particularly enjoys writing about online colleges. She loves receiving reader feedback, which can be directed to mariana.ashley031 @gmail.com.