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Searching For Inspiration

November 28, 2014

Have you ever wondered how writers think up the things they do? Where does their inspiration come from? How do they come up with new ideas every day? I’ll explain.

I appreciate your taking the time to read my ramblings. I’ve been writing this blog for over two years now, for the last year and a half it’s been every weekday posting at 7:00 AM.

I wanted to take just a minute and explain a little about the writing process, at least my writing process. First, the format. I write in the evenings, sometimes late into the night. WordPress, my hosting site, lets me schedule the post time. I’ve been late, and early a few times. I write when I’m traveling and then forget to convert from East Coast Time to Mountain Time and the post goes up two hours early. Or, I mess up the AM/PM settings and I can’t figure out why it hasn’t posted by 9:00 AM.

Every entry is typed on my iPad. I have an external keyboard, but I’ve written a few with the onscreen keyboard as well.

Each entry is about 800 words. That’s what I aim for. Some go long, occasionally one goes short. I try to reference my own prior posts. Partly I do this to provide additional insight into whatever point I’m making. But, often I’m trying to pump up the numbers on my previous post. Okay, maybe it’s just to provide more insight. Today is the 460th blog post on this blog.

Yesterday, I posted a book review of the excellent book “Influencer.” I do these reviews occasionally. It might appear the schedule is random, but it’s not. I post a book review on every holiday.

That might seem odd at first glance. But, I’ve tried to build this blog with business people in mind. I envision you guys and gals, going to work, turning on your computer and seeing my blog. Almost like you would read the morning paper. That presented a problem for holidays. You aren’t firing up your computer, you’re probably sleeping in and then going off to do stuff with family and friends. My compromise was the book reviews. They aren’t exactly content in the classic sense. But, they still add value for those of you who have to work holidays.

The holiday schedule also explains today’s post. Yesterday was Thanksgiving in the United States. Many people take today (Friday) off as well. I figured I would take this pseudo-holiday to explain a little about my process.

I tend to group my posts in one of 5 broad categories. Personal Development, Professional Development, Book Reviews, Team Building and Training. Today’s post for example goes under Personal Development.

This blog posts to my Facebook account, My twitter feed, my LinkedIn! account and it gets emailed to people.

Lets talk a little about the question I opened with; inspiration. I’ve had people ask me if I’m in danger of running out of ideas. I’m reminded of something my friend Howard told me.

Rodney, never be afraid of sharing an idea for a story. It’s not the idea that is valuable it’s the execution.

His point was that ideas are cheap. For me, It’s often a matter of choosing which idea to write about. I keep a folder with my ideas in it. The folder has about 100 ideas that are various stages of development.

I have zero buffer. I write every day Sunday – Thursday. But, if I had to sit down and come up with a new idea on the spot, I don’t think I could do that every day. However, if I don’t have a topic in mind, I go to the folder and find one. The problem is not that I’m worried about running out of ideas. The problem is that I have an abundance of ideas. I have to try and pick one that will be valuable or at least entertaining to you, the reader. I worry a lot about picking wrong.

As for the origin of the ideas, inspiration comes in many forms. I’ve gotten blog ideas while sitting in church. I’ve come up with ideas while talking to my kids. I’ve thought of business applications while camping.

I do try to avoid relying too heavily on current events. It’s for a selfish reason. I don’t want someone stumbling onto a blog post 6 months from now and realizing that the post was all about Thanksgiving. Everything is new on the internet. I don’t want to remind the reader that some of the content is old.

I’ll close with the things I don’t write about. I don’t write about the company I work for. This is my own blog and in no way represents the views or opinions of my employer. I would hate for something I posted here, or a comment someone made to reflect poorly on my employer. That’s a good way to become UNemployed.

I also don’t use real names. Some of the stories I tell have a “villein, someone who acted stupidly or maliciously. I don’t want to hurt that person. That’s not why I’m telling the story. It’s easier to just give them a different name. . .That includes when I’m writing about my kids. The only real names I use are public figures, or people who have given me carte blanche to use their names.

I’m thrilled with the chance to write everyday. It’s something I enjoy. I’m constantly slightly astonished that there are people who seem to enjoy reading my ramblings as much as I enjoy putting them down on paper. . .more or less.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday at 7:00 AM Mountain Time. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and one grandchild.

Follow him on
Twitter (@rodneymbliss)
Facebook (www.facebook.com/rbliss)
LinkedIn (www.LinkedIn.com/in/rbliss)
or email him at rbliss at msn dot com

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