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Blank Mind, Blank Screen: Need Ideas!

Q. I'm staring at a blank screen with an equally blank mind. I need an idea for tomorrow's newsletter. Help!

A. Most of us have too many ideas or too few. I've never met anyone with just the right number. Here's the secret: Once you start writing prolifically, you'll get ideas. Each idea will seem better than the one before. In fact, some ideas will be so good that you may be tempted to stop your current project and start over with the new idea!

Instead, keep a folder on your virtual or actual desktop or write ideas in a notebook. Some ideas age gracefully while others earn a decent burial.

But now let's say you're staring at a blank screen, desperate for an article for tomorrow's newsletter. What can you do? Here are five tips to get started.

1. Begin with your website's keywords. Let's say your site features "time management for stay-at-home-moms." You want to attract visitors who are searching on "parenting," "home" and "mothers." Write your keywords on top of a sheet of paper and free-associate. Busy. Homes. Housework. Hmmmaybe you can write about housework and time management?

2. Look around the room where you are working and choose an interesting object. For example, I see two sleeping cats and, through the window, a plant holder with the remains of my last gardening efforts.

My sad little plant could be a metaphor for some aspect of writing, such as ideas that die unless they're watered, fertilized and loved. Or it could be a reminder to focus on your strengths. Laziness often signals a lack of interest or skill. Let's face it, I'll never grow a nice pot of geraniums like the one my neighbors have.

Sleeping cats? Well, some images work better than others, and I've written a lot about my cats and my dog. Overuse of an image...hmm, there's an idea!

3. Call up a friend and describe what you're offering. Ask your friend, "What seems most unusual, puzzling or surprising about what I just said?"

Let's say you're an office organizer. Your friend says, "I didn't realize that people who cleared clutter often found their sales increasing. Can you convince me?" Given the state of my own office, I'd like to be convinced, too! You've got a winner here.

Heidi Challenger of Boise, Idaho, promises a year's guarantee for each home she sells. See http://www.movinglady.com/relolinks.html to find her site. Now there's a great idea for an article -- or several! What is a home guarantee? And why should we ask for one? Does Heidi have unique assets that allow her to offer a guarantee when other realtors can't? All these questions arise from her online advertisement -- and all could be developed into articles.

4. This one's my favorite. Ask your subscribers to contribute questions. You'll be sure your articles fit their interests. Last week's article on permission marketing came directly from a reader request and this week's article combines two queries. WL Ezine subscribers, take note!

5. Look at your calendar. What's the season? If you're writing for your own ezine, choose the current season or, if you're right on the border, next season. If you're writing for print media, ask the editors for a calendar. You may need to submit in June for a Christmas issue. You can go deeper, choosing month and even holiday within the month. You can get whimsical, writing about the astrological sign that governs this month.

About The Author

Cathy Goodwin, Ph.D., is an author, speaker and career/business consultant, helping midlife professionals take their First step to a Second Career. http://www.cathygoodwin.com.

"Ten secrets of mastering a major life change" mailto:subscribe@cathygoodwin.com

Contact: cathy@cathygoodwin.com 505-534-4294

In The News:

The asteroid that slammed into Earth some 66 million years ago and wiped out the dinosaurs also produced a gigantic pool of magma many times larger than the crater at the center of Yellowstone National Park, new research reveals.
Ten percent of COVID-19 patients with diabetes die within one week of being hospitalized, according to the first study of the virus to examine its impact on hospitalized patients.
Two altars in an ancient shrine in Israel have been revealing their secrets.
A South Carolina town is investigating how a massive alligator was removed from a mini-golf course this week, according to local officials.
Elon Musk and President Trump have been working toward the common goal of sending American astronauts to space from U.S. soil, which could come to fruition on Saturday.
A new study notes that prescriptions for hydroxychloroquine surged nearly 2000 percent in March the week that President Trump first touted it as a potential treatment for the disease known as COVID-19.
A heatwave in Siberia is sparking concerns about “zombie” wildfires that have been smoldering since last year.
Scientists have confirmed the existence of the exoplanet Proxima b, a planet just 4.2 light-years from Earth. Given how close it is to its star, Proxima Centauri, it could have liquid water, and "therefore, harbor life."
After originally believing the "continuously active" object in Jupiter's orbit was the first-known "Trojan asteroid" like it, scientists have issued a correction and it's just a regular comet. 
SpaceX and NASA are making preparations for their second attempt at a historic launch that will see astronauts travel to space from U.S. soil for the first time since 2011.

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