Sometimes an idea spontaneously comes to mind and I'm compelled to sit down right there and then and hammer out a post and hit publish.
At other times, a topic I've been chewing on and researching finally crystallizes in my mind and flows naturally and quickly through my fingertips.
And then there are the moments when I hit a wall. Try as I might, I can't come up with a distinctive angle for my post, or decide what I want to say that will add something new to the conversation on the topic.
I call this "blogger's block."
Every blogger faces this problem at one time or another. Some folks believe the best remedy for this is to just sit down and write, publish -- and then do it again (and again).
But what if there were a shortcut? A quick "cheat sheet" to get you started?
Here are 16 topic ideas that might give you some quick inspiration and practical ideas when you find yourself up against "the wall":
1. Draw lessons from personal experience.
All of us have an inexhaustible well of unique experiences from our personal and professional lives that we can draw upon for our posts. Set the scene, tell what happened, then share what you learned from your experience. No need to conduct exhaustive research on Google. Just write what you know, share what you've learned, and give readers a peek into how you see the world.
2. Inspire readers to take action.
You know something can be done differently or better, and you know how to do it, so why not share that? Some of my most popular articles have been the ones where I was passionate--even angry, sometimes--about an issue that I felt needed to be addressed. If you feel strongly about something, it's very likely others will too.
3. Write a how-to guide.
This format offers an inexhaustible supply of potential ideas. If you know how to do something -- even if it's slightly better or different than how others do it -- then you can probably write about it. Take something you do well, break it down into steps, and then illustrate and support each step in the process with facts and examples.
4. Provide a list of useful tips for doing something better.
You're probably an expert at certain things, but haven't shared what you know with a wider audience. Write a list with tips on how to do something better, drawing on the years of experience you've acquired and the understanding of the topic that only you possess.
5. Give your perspective on a trending topic or breaking news.
People like to read and share content about topics that are in the news and that could have an impact on their professional and personal lives. Weigh-in with your take on a trending topic or breaking news item.
6. Put your unique spin on a topic.
Ever read a blog post and realized that you knew more than the writer about the topic, or believed you could do a better job at writing about it? Find ideas from content that has already been published and put your unique spin on it. As long as you add your own perspective and analysis to the topic --and you don't simply copy what the original post said -- then the topic is fair game.
7. Write a case study based on your own experience.
This is another type of post format that offers a virtually inexhaustible supply of potential topics to write about. If you've done something that has generated tangible results in an area that people are struggling with or trying to do better at, then it's likely they'll want to know about it.
8. Write a case study based on someone else's experience.
There's only so much you can draw on from your own experience that you can write about. And that's okay, because you have other people's experience to draw upon! There are so many fascinating and useful stories of success that you can draw from for your posts. Just remember to give credit where it's due.
9. Write a round-up of facts or quotes from inspiring people.
Sometimes a handful of quotes from an inspiring leader or artist, or surprising facts about their lives, can make for an interesting and quick read. The key is to tie the quotes or facts together around a central message or theme that you want to convey with your post.
10. Provide commentary on a thought-provoking podcast conversation.
I'm surprised by how little cross-pollination there is between the worlds of podcasting and blogging. Why aren't more writers diving into the amazing content that is being produced in the podcasting world each and every day, and using that content for their blog posts? Podcasts offer a motherlode of topic ideas and meaty content you can use for your blog posts.
11. Peg your topic to a recurring holiday or event.
By pegging your post to a major holiday or recurring event like Mother's Day or the annual college graduation season, your post will become more timely and relevant.
12. Interview someone and write a summary of lessons learned.
There are so many interesting stories that are waiting to be told. Just invite someone for an interview, prepare some questions around a theme, and hit record. Write up the lessons you learned and insights you gleaned from the conversation.
13. Predict a trend.
Read the tea leaves once in a while and call out a trend you know is brewing. Just be sure you've got some facts to back up your forecasts.
14. Write a fictional email to a friend.
You write lots of emails each day without considering it "writing". But what if your email were your blog post? Think about a piece of advice you want to share with someone, write it as an email to that person (without using real names, of course), and hit publish. It will flow easily, and it will sound like your authentic voice--because it is.
15. Write a fictional conversation between yourself and someone else.
You're not a writer of fiction -- or so you think. Try this experiment: Write a short dialogue between yourself and an imaginary person that you would like to talk to about a topic that you feel passionate about. Dialogue can be surprisingly easy to write, and like the fictional email technique, it will sound authentic.
16. Write a tribute to someone who has had a major impact on your career or life.
Reflect on how someone --whether you actually knew him or not --had a profound impact on your career, or some aspect of your life. These can be brief but powerful pieces that require little more than tapping into your memory and personal impressions.
This list is of course by no means exhaustive. But I hope it gives you some ideas the next time you run out of topics to write about.
Ultimately, the best cure for "blogger's block" is to simply choose a topic, write a post, and hit publish.
And then do it all over again.
A version of this article appeared on LinkedIn.