I hope the last two days have helped you find, or hone, some clarity on the what of writing, .
Today I'm going to share with you my newest, and most personal way, of deciding what to write about. Starting next week, we're going to talk about how to organize this what into when by creating an editorial calendar that actually works to get and keep you motivated. Don't think discipline, unless it's in a sexy kinky way. Then yes, it's about discipline. You could also think about it as dedication, devotion, and flow -- but I'm getting ahead of myself.
Curating Topics from the Heart + Soul
This version of topic generation puts us in the place of our heart and souls, and comes from the place of intimacy and personal passion rather than strategy. For those of us who are seekers, poets, and personal memoir writers, it may seem totally natural to create a bevy of topics from this place... but for me and my business, it has made sense to come from here as well, so even if your blog is more informational in nature, I think this could still work beautifully.
Step 0: Fluff your writer's sanctuary (of the day) and get ready to settle in for 15-30 minutes. Include, as usual, a delicious beverage to sip while writing and if possible some great tunes. If this whole "writer's sanctuary thing" sounds totally new to you, go back to your welcome email and scroll down to the PS's. It's in there.
Step 1: Take three breaths into your heart. Connect your heart to the hearts of your future readers, your ideal clients, and the joint venture folks who are waiting to meet and collaborate with you. You might visualize a gossamer golden or brightly-colored web connecting you to them, already in conversation with you. Use your intention and the power of your imagination to begin investing energetically with these folks who are already out there, and perhaps in some ways beyond the obvious, already in conversation and relationship with you.
Step 2: Grab your journal entries, your morning pages, your notes and scribbles into one place and start scanning and skimming them. Notice what grabs your attention, seems to hop off the page at you. Where does your attention and energy naturally go? What are the images, phrases, words and concepts that are pulling you right now, as you spend time delving into this personal writing pieces? If it feels right to you, underline, circle, or highlight key phrases, questions you've asked in your writing whether or not they were ever answered, and realizations you've made
Step 3: Find the common threads and themes. Begin compiling these phrases, words, concepts and ideas on another piece of paper. See where there are connections and repetition. Again, you can use highlighters or markers to make this visual -- everything having to do with love and self-care might end up being circled in bright pink, while all of the stories about cooking with your great aunt end up being blue.
Step 4: Connect the Dots. Brainstorm ways to translate these personal realizations to be relevant for your readers, but don't let yourself get bogged down -- you may not understand in this moment how that story about skipping homecoming to go camping with your girlfriends will eventually be meaningful for your breastfeeding and babywearing blog (etc.), but if it feels juicy to you, trust that it will once you delve into it more.
Step 5: Post a couple of your ideas in the Facebook Group and get feedback. This will give you a sense of what people really resonate with, and probably also lead to more fabulous potential topics.
Until tomorrow, then, my dear heartful bloggers!