Blogging and Writing

Is There a Finite Well of Blogging Material?

hand water pump and bucket
Image by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay 

At various points along the way in my 3 1/2 years of blogging, I’ve wondered if I’ll ever run out of things to write about. It hasn’t happen yet, and it’s not going to happen anytime soon, but I do still occasionally wonder if there is, in fact, a finite well of material to blog about. I think the answer could depend on a number of factors, so let’s chat about what those might be.

To start off, there are people who’ve been blogging for 10+ years and are still going strong, so in a bigger picture sense, there does not appear to be a finite well of material.

It probably depends on what you write about. If poetry is your passion, creating poetry on your blog 10 years from now probably isn’t going to be all that different from writing about poetry today. Being niche(ish) might help if it keeps you focused, but there’s probably the risk of burning through the major topics that fall within your niche. If somehow I managed to say everything there is to say about mental health, I’m not sure I’d have enough to say about other topics to be motivated to keep blogging with anywhere near the frequency I do now. In the meantime, though, I think being pretty loose with my niche helps keep things feeling fresher longer.

Another factor is probably what you’ve got going on in your life. If I’d been getting a lot of inspiration for posts from my work as a nurse, it might have been hard to keep generating ideas once I was no longer working. It would be the same if you were writing a lot about school or therapy or travelling and those things were no longer happening in your life.

Where to get ideas from

I get a lot of ideas from other bloggers. It might be the main topic of their post, or it might be some little tidbit that I mention. Copying someone’s work is plagiarism, but borrowing a topic and writing your own spin on it is inspiration. When in doubt, credit the blogger for the inspiration. For me, this is probably the steadiest source of ideas, and I would guess that I get inspired by tidbits more often than the main topic. Unless we all crash and burn at the same time, I see this as an idea source that keeps perpetually renewing itself.

A few other sources of ideas:

  • prompts organized by other bloggers
  • articles from elsewhere on the web
  • the news
  • social media
  • Google Trends shows you search terms that are popular
  • Hubspot has a blog ideas generatorβ€”just enter between one and five nouns, and it will come up with five potential blog post titles for you

Having a system

Depending on your writing approach, you might have some sort of system to keep track of ideas when you think of them. If I were to try to think of a new topic every time I sat down to blog, that system would probably crash and burn within a few days Trying to yank ideas out of my head on demand is like fishing for octopus in a puddle (does one fish for octopus?), so that’s a definite no. Instead, I start drafts for things I intend to write about soon-ish, and have a blogging spreadsheet that includes ideas for later.

Easy posts

I think it’s totally okay to recycle older posts, either by republishing them or by writing new versions. I’ve noticed my writing style has evolved over time, and the way I would write about a topic now is a bit different than the way I wrote about the same topic 3 years ago.

Whether you’re short on ideas or bursting with ideas, there’s nothing wrong with “filler” material (curtains, one might say). That might be some favourite quotes, photos, listicles, or anything that doesn’t actually require much thought. I’ve noticed that what I think of as filler on my blog often ends up doing better than the posts that I like the most and spent the most time on. Go figure.

Release the shoulds

cartoon purple should monster

Being flexible and self-forgiving can make it easier to keep the blogging train on the tracks. If you’re mostly writing what you think you “should” write about, that’s going to get uninspiring pretty darn quickly. If you feel like you need to stay firmly in your niche, it may start to strangle you. The should monster is not your friend.

Overall, I think that as long as your manner of blogging is sustainable, the ideas can continue to flow. Do you ever worry about your blogging idea well running dry?

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54 thoughts on “Is There a Finite Well of Blogging Material?”

  1. Ah, yes curtains 😹 I often get ideas/inspiration from reading blogs – they might cause me to think more deeply about some topic or just think about a particular topic altogether – and yes, I always mention my “inspiration”. I’ve always got something churing around in my head but I don’t always write about it – something are better left in my head rather than on the page.

  2. A really great inspirational piece Ashley Leia. And, it occurs to me that as a person moves through life even the same topic changes its nuances, thus perhaps, adding something profoundly new to a frequently visited (blogged) topic
    Great share as always! πŸ‘Œβ€πŸ™πŸ™

  3. Do I worry about my blogging well running dry? Yes. Is my worry rational? No.

    I have well over 200 posts in my blog post draft folder. Not all of my posts will be ultimately published, but I’m guessing that many will. When adding things up, what this means is that at the rate with which I post (one per week plus my weekly COVID update), I have enough to keep me going for at least 2-3 years, even if I stop drafting blog posts (which I continue to do).

  4. I’m not worried about running out of ideas, but I think most topics have already been done, at least in some way. It’s the same with music, how easy can it be to be perfectly original when there’s so much other music out there?

  5. Huh! Interesting question!! I think with me personally, I’m always off on some sort of bizarre adventure or errand-gone-wrong. If I’m desperate for fresh blog content, I can always phone my mother. (BOOM! Ohh, I see what you did there, Meg.) [Groan.] In all seriousness, she’s been very kind and supportive lately, so I think her relationship with her live-in boyfriend is very good for her, except for when they’re arguing over severed animal heads. (He disapproves of, uh… taxidermy and hunting. My mom says the deer heads were her late husband’s and should be respected. This has been their major bone of contention, to the best of my knowledge.) Taxidermy! Score! For any blogger who needs a topic, there we go. Oh my. πŸ˜€

    There are times, though, when I have nothing to say; and most often, I choose not to blog at those times. It’s sort of an intuitive thing. If I’m really bored and want to blog, I’ll pore over all the advice columns, but sometimes they yield no fruit. Especially Annie Lane’s column–her questions and answers are so generic as to be vapid and difficult to comment on (aside from how generic her answers are). Or I’ll read Ask Amy. She’s brilliant at reframing things, so except for when I’m completely in disagreement with her (which happens), I usually read her column and am impressed and have nothing to add.

    1. Yeah, I can see how your mom would be an endless source of material!

      I don’t understand the appeal of taxidermy. It’s creepyl If the poor animal is dead, let it be dead, don’t hang it on the wall.

      1. HA HA HA HA HA! Oh my gosh, I felt the same way whenever I’d visit my mom and her late husband, Jim, in Corydon. The heads! The heads! And there was a bear floor rug. [Shaking my head and cringing.] They were all in the basement! Yikes!

  6. I believe both that there is nothing truly new under the sun, and simultaneously, I believe that you can’t step in the same river twice – the river is different and you are also different each time you step. Even if you had blogged everything possible about a given niche (and who knows if that is possible?), there would probably be changes in society/scientific/personal understanding of a particular topic, and that will create newness. Freshness doesn’t have to be (and probably won’t be) a revolutionary new discovery, but that doesn’t mean you’ll never have a new, fresh angle to write about.
    This begs the question of how do you make long-term blogging sustainable.

  7. Sometimes I think about this. Not running out of ideas, but more about getting bored and boring. As you said, there’s an infinite number of poems, but only so many ways I can reply to β€œfavorite color” type of questions. My blog was boring to me, so I dumped all that old stuff last month. Hopefully, the new focus will make me happy with blogging for a long time…

  8. I don’t think we run out of blogging ideas, I think out blogging content shift and mould with us, so they will change as we do.

  9. An excellent question Ashley and a top quality post to boot.

    Do l ever worry about running out of ideas? No, More so now that l am producing less posts daily than l ever was. As Renard said above, the mind is infinite and as you have said yourself in the post, you can’t see 1] mental health topics running dry nor for an example poetry … but also more importantly is the inspiration you can receive from reading another person’s content and creating a spin off.

    Paula, said above, the higher fear is becoming bored and producing boredom and being read as boring … l have thought about this a lot – as l consider the person l am today, quite boring – to many l am not, but then, l am not them and they are not me and at times l feel like a boring old fart – whatever that could mean, it sounds pretty awful, why would anyone want to have an old fart in their hands?? But there in that line might be inspiration for many others on the mental health and niche poetry genres alone – who knows πŸ™‚

    Am l likely to run out of me, my mind, my boring mind, my, my and so on, probably not.

    Again, top notch post.

  10. Do I worry about running out of ideas? Yes, I often worry about running out, going dry.
    I like to keep things fresh, to have the reader interact in the comment section. Sometimes those comments inspire me.
    The other day I clicked on one of my tags and I found some of my own posts from over a year ago. I had totally forgot that I wrote them.
    So, I think I will take your advice, brush off the dust from those posts, give them a makeover and re-publish them.

  11. Like you Ashley, I also write around mental health and as things change i.e. governments, policies, time and so, I believe there’s always going to be lots to be discussed and shared.

    While I’ve been missing for a while lately, ideas have popped up but I never wrote them down πŸ™

    And yes, as you might know, I get ideas from other’s blogs too πŸ˜‰

    1. If I didn’t write things down I’d be totally hooped, because those ideas would have gone past the event horizon and sucked into a black hole, never to emerge again…

      1. πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ I used to quickly set up a draft post and now I have loads of the damn things in my draft folder. Perhaps I’ll manage to blow the dust of them one day πŸ˜‚

  12. Early on in blogging, I worried about running out of ideas but it was primarily because I was blogging at an unsustainable pace. Now I blog when I have something to talk about.

  13. I do the best I can to create interesting content. My filler content are the shared blog posts I stumble across either through the WordPress reader or Google.

  14. it has been just 2 years since i m into writing…n i made my page hardly 10 days back…..but my way of seeing thi si very different…i think the more ppl will blog…we will come across tjousands and millions of new views…which we coudlnt have known otherwise…so the more we are open…the more we know about each others thinking…we will have more topics to present our view in support of or against any notion or a topic…and the nature…the world …the ppl around us are so many n so vast ….that if u try more to observe things keenly….there can be no time when u will run out of tge matter ….maybe the topic be the same but…the theory will definately be different but surely one has to grow each day to find something new..in the same old world!!!

  15. I worry about blogging because I see that not many views does my post get, not many people like it. I write for myself but an audience’s appreciation always inspires.

    1. On average, I get about 1/3 as many likes as I do views on a given post. I’ve never been able to figure out why that is or what to do about it.

      1. I try to write from my heart and blog as consistently as I can, always responding to comments and commenting on others people’s blogs of I like them. One thing I have observed is that if a post has many likes then more people like it abd vice versa. Let s keep blogging

  16. I didn’t see this post when you first aired it. I found it through Rory’s questions from today (5/5/2021). For myself? No, my ‘well’ will never run dry. I do, however, experience writer’s block from time to time. To me it’s an indication that I need a break away from writing to refresh my jets so to speak. But I can always find inspiration after such a break and I rarely run out of ideas.

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