OK, you’ve made time and space for writing. Now you’re staring at a blank screen or page with a similarly empty brain and stressing.
What to write?
Stories happen in our businesses and our lives all day, every day. Noticing is the first step, capturing a close second. I have little black Moleskine notebooks all over my house, in my car, in my office, to capture fleeting ideas. Start carrying a notebook or make an “ideas” file on your phone. You’ll start seeing ideas everywhere. Get going with these simple story-telling prompts.
In the Beginning…
Tell us your origin story. Why did you start this company or role? Where did it all begin for you? For inspiration, check out my post on my winding road to the writing life.
What do your clients or customers or suppliers bellyache about? What are your industry’s pain points? Pick one, and write about it. Use anecdotes and examples, and lots of juicy details, to bring it to life.
Torn From the Headlines.
What’s happening in the news? How might more significant stories or current events affect your clients, your company? What stories or are debates are getting a lot of attention in your industry or community? What’s the great debate in your department or office or sector? Add value by adding your expert perspective and personal insights. Opinion pieces build thought leadership.
Start With a Quotation.
“Writing doesn’t just communicate ideas; it generates them,” by Paul Graham is one of my faves. From there, I can craft a post on what it means to my community and me. In fact, I’m going to do just that!
Do a blog-length case study of a project or initiative that made you proud. Tell us about the journey from beginning to completion, describing milestones along the way. Who was involved? What went sideways? How did you recover? What did you learn?
You don’t need to do this alone. Do a Q&A with a client, colleague or stakeholder on a project or subject your audience will be interested in.
Mark a Milestone.
Birthdays, anniversaries and significant achievements should be shared and celebrated. These are an easy way to showcase the people and turning points in your business. But go further than celebration: take us behind the scenes, to see the road to that success.
Who do you most admire? I have abiding respect, for instance, for Patti Smith’s integrity. Even as a hungry young writer in New York, she passed up paying projects that didn’t align with her artistic vision and values. Relate their ideas and values to your field and followers.
Don’t fight your word drought, give in. What images or graphic elements will complement the copy you eventually get out? You want all the elements – textual and visual – working together.