Monday, May 6, 2013

Where I Get My Blog Ideas

Today is Monday, May 6, 2013.

When I started this project, I wasn't sure I'd be able to come up with an idea to write about every single day for a year.  I've been pleasantly surprised these last few months to find that the ideas are flowing pretty well, after all.  I must say, however, that this blog, as well as the other one I write, are uniquely products of the Internet.  If I were required to write them in longhand, I would never have started.  I certainly wouldn't have been able to find and research so many different topics for blog entries if I had to depend on the library for information.  And... although my blog entries seldom generate any comments from readers, I do get feedback on some of these entries, and that keeps me going.

A lot of my ideas come from things my friends post on Facebook, but when I thought about that some more, I realized that I am in a somewhat unique situation, because my friends tend to post uplifting and inspirational thoughts, in addition to updates on their lives, political rants, and posts for or against on various issues that they care deeply about. 

I am reminded of a saying often attributed, most probably mistakenly, to Eleanor Roosevelt: "Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people."  Under that definition, I would say that the vast majority of my friends on Facebook have great minds.  My friends love to discuss ideas, sometimes for several days on end.  Even when the discussion involves a highly controversial topic, my friends are capable of showing maturity and restraint, and tolerance.  Very seldom do I ever hear of a friend blocking another simply because of their political views, for example, and among my friends I count dyed-in-the-wool conservatives and flaming liberals.  Some of the comments in those discussions have provided fodder for my blogs.

So many people these days post image messages, with a quote superimposed on a photo or on a solid color background.  Even the ones that are posted without comment provide seed ideas for my blog.  I scroll down my newsfeed page every day and "like" or "share" some of these posts.  When I get to an image that I want to use for a blog, I save it to my desktop.  

Later, I create a folder for a particular topic and dump the image that sparked the idea in the folder.  Than I search Google images for other pictorial ideas.  Next, I use Google search to come up with definitions, quotes, and essays or articles on the topic, bookmarking websites as I go along.  I organize all the bookmarks into one folder for convenience.  

When I've picked out two topics for the day, one for each blog, I start writing, referring to the bookmarked websites as I go along.  Occasionally I organize the information in a word-processing file first, then start writing online.  When I get stuck, I save what I've got and get up and walk around, or I stare at a green image for a while to get my creative juices flowing.  Or I consult an online thesaurus – what a blessing for a writer to have at her fingertips!

Years ago, I could never have imagined being able to write like this. I salute all those who wrote in an earlier age, when these modern conveniences did not exist.  I've realized, though, that I've become, essentially, a creature of the Internet, so it is not so surprising that I waited until the Internet and social media were ready for me to write this way.  :-)

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