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On writing articles and columns April 06, 2005 12:46 AM

I'm a non-fiction author and columnist and, as a columnist, I have deadlines to meet. At first it was easy coming up with topic ideas and writing about them, but now I seem to be struggling for new topics or new slants on topics I've written. I'e had some things work for me to generate a topic idea, but they don't always work all the time. One successful practice was to talk to friends about an issue and see if they say anything that gives me an idea. Or, listen in on conversations around me. Again, I've had some success generating topic ideas, but not all the time. At least I don't suffer with writer's block once I get a topic to go with! So, can anyone share their ideas for coming up with fresh topics? Any topic generating tips? Anything?! I'm listening with open ears! Your humble topicless writer  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
Writing a column April 27, 2005 5:01 PM

Having the need to meet a deadline, weekly, monthly,what ever, is a difficult task. I produce 600 works a week every week, and have been doing it for several years. My experiance has been to write what I know. What I know is learned by going to coffee every morning at about 6am, and by actually listening to the Redhead.  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
I have a couple of suggestions April 27, 2005 11:27 PM

I know as a writer, and a journalist and ex editor, generating ideas can be hard to do on a deadline. Of course, as a writer, I am sure you read all the time. I would suggest however, to pick up some reading material from sources such as that are generated by minority newspapers, online or otherwise. Often times the issues we think are important may be covered differntly in these newspapers and you may end up with a different perspective in forming your own opinions. For example, the idea of prison poulations. However if you pick up and read Native American news you will discover that in some states there is a disprortinate amount of Native Americans per capita in federal prisons than other reacial groups... this may lead to other questions, why? etc... Another idea would be to go to neighborhood association meetings, block watch group meetings, or other community meetings. As a journalist writing opinion or just fishing for information these are great places to learn what is on the minds of local citizens. Keep a notebook and jot down ideas as they come. They may not ammount to nothing at the moment but they may lead to other ideas in the future... Good luck!  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
 April 29, 2005 12:24 AM

All good ideas, thanks. My column is related to my field of expertise and isn't generalized to just anything. Years ago I had a column "Unasked Advice" that was an open topic -- and many things around me sparked a new topic! I think I'm getting lazy because I got a lot of my ideas working with clients, writing about their situations, reading other authors on the topic, reading other articles on it, etc etc etc. I recently started a blog with tips and advice and could turn these snippets into a full column. Hello! do I hear myself here?! That's good material for the next few issues!  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
on generating ideas... May 19, 2005 4:27 AM

#1 suggestion: Read! Dig out the encyclopedia, run through the New York Times Classifieds, surf the internet search sites, check out the ingredients on the box of cereal on the breakfast table... Ideas always flow from outside sources.  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
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