What can I write about today?

Today’s post is concerned with the writing topics or to put it in a question:

 What can I write about today?

Are you a beginning writer or are you one of those who are struggling with the writing block and don’t know how to counter it? Hopefully here you will find some ideas for your writing spree.

  1. First, you can write about the composition process itself; that is, to put it in my favourite language terminology, the writing metaprocess. This usually includes the issues writers face: creativity problems, writer’s block or the time when you are sucked out of inspiration.
  1. Write about the books you have read and you are planning to read. Pen a review, write recommendations for prospective readers, reflect on what you have read, what have you gained from your reading. Did it help you to expand your worldview? Are you a faster reader now? Share your knowledge with reluctant readers.
  1. Pen some words on the texts and articles you have made familiar with recently. Reading books is this big idea today, but many people neglect the importance of reading just anything. Newspaper or scholarly articles are just as well profitable. The more diverse reading sources you use the better off you are. Share your heterogeneous reading habits with your audience.
  1. Write about the books that are lingering on your bookshelves. Start with sketching the picture you have when you face your bookshelf. Is it disorderly or are the books neatly arranged in rows? Do you organize your books in categories or do you let your library be an inspirational mess? Take a picture of your library, post it to your blog and provide appropriate captions.
  1. Draw up a short resume about the breaking news that emerged in the headlines today. If you are not in the journalistic mood, pick one subject that has been skipped by web or TV news channels. Or take up a historic event that happened two hundred years ago and write an account of it.
  1. Write about the annoying TV shows you’re roommate is watching behind your back right now. Write what makes you cross: is it the volume, brainless dialogues from a soap opera or is your roommate flipping through channels without the intention to watch a programme for more than one minute?
  1. Go about your room, have a close look at the things you have ignored for a long time: your photos, dusted plates, pictures on the wall, a broken alarm clock, …..write a story about them.
  1. If you feel like telling the whole world what you are planning to do today, don’t hesitate, look through your schedule and tell everybody what you do and what people can learn from you.
  1. Have you delayed writing that important article? Why don’t you look at it from a different perspective? How about pooling new ideas, having somebody proofread the draft? Why don’t you arrange the references in order? Use a citation manager, read an article that is close to your subject. Take copious notes from it and use them in your writing.
  1. Do you take notes regularly? Pick a few random notes and write a snippet article on each. Whether it is just a new word, or a new health condition you have not known about before, elaborate on the notes, research them in an online encyclopedia or a specialist forum, and finally share with the world what you have written about them.
  1. Share with the world what your fields of interest are. Even if it is not very likely that you have found a niche nobody else is interested in, it is still worth making publicly available what hobbies you pursue. You can always be from that rare part of the world where people have a different outlook on things, where people have different insights and knowing them can benefit everybody on the planet.
  1. Make the world a stakeholder of what is of concern to you right now. Share with people what worries you and makes you happy.
  1. Act like a business insider. Browse the areas of interest that are of relevance to you and have a go at writing an expertise article on the domain that is closest to you.
  1. Browse a dictionary – write a new dictionary entry about a rare word and publish it on the web. As a language aficionado, I suggest that you study the etymology of the world, its pragmatics, examples of use and its frequency.
  1. Browse an encyclopedia – write a new entry on the subject that is missing. As a language enthusiast, I choose topics from the realm of linguistics, then research a problem that have not been covered by grammar books yet and write an article that suits my interests or can be useful for a wider audience, for example Foreign Language Learning population.
  1. Or write a new article for Wikipedia or other peer-reviewed websites. In this case it is very likely that your output will be criticized by native speakers and that’s an additional bonus you cannot overlook.
  1. Write a movie review you have watched recently. Give it a new twist and when focusing on the plot, give more attention to the stage directions. If in trouble, try to download the screenplay of the particular movie and discuss some of the scenes which have a complicated character. Focus on the movement, position, tone of an actor, the sound effects and lightning. Write a new narration of a scene that is interesting for you, comment on the camera angles that could have been directed differently. Contact the directors and tell them about your innovation. If lucky, you may get some useful feedback or praise.
  1. Criticize a movie that is a far cry from the Academy Awards. Examine the movie under the microscope and try to squeeze out of the movie’s flesh what is likely to be useful and what could have otherwise rendered it an art-house.
  1. Produce a short piece of writing on the smells you are feeling at this moment. As it is very likely that your writing process may span an entire day (and I encourage you to write as much as possible), you will perceive smells of the morning coffee, of the dew on the grass, your dinner spices, and that long forgotten smell from youth you remembered after you had looked at the photos from that period.
  1. Take a picture of what your pet is doing at the moment and complement it with a relevant caption. For a change, take more pictures and produce a series of slides or a Powerpoint presentation. If you are a computer geek, make a more advanced animated presentation, infographics or something of that sort. Remember to prepare enough textual information to enrich your graphics.
  1. Comment on what made you laugh today. Did you see an entertaining text on the back of someone’s car? Has your boss cracked a good joke today? Or have you recollected something funny from yesterday’s movie? Maybe a demotivator from Facebook made you chuckle. If you experienced at least one of the above, please share it with others in writing.
  1. Put your bookmarks in order, do a review of them or just skim through your bookmarks repository. Looking at your bookmarks in a casual way is like scanning the depths of your memory. And publishing your memoirs will certainly attract a few nosy readers :-).
  1. Spy on what other people are doing today. Be careful not to scare away the people you are watching furtively. Watch what the crew of workers is doing outside your house. Look carefully where your neighbour is walking today. Is the shop assistant in a good mood? What is she doing to do her job right today. Write a short text about it.
  1. Study something new or try a new experience, the more unconventional it will be, the better. Do something totally out of your professional scope. Keep a daily log of what you do. Write a short report and share it with your friends, colleagues or wider audience.
  1. Go for a walk, take pictures and make an album. To each picture write a short description or provide captions.
  1. Go for a walk around the city. Talk to 5 strangers, make sure that each person comes from a different walk of life, different background, age and sex. Take notes of what you got to know about the people. Write a report about the experiences and conclusions you have drawn from getting to know those people. Publish it and wait for comments.
  1. Plan writing a serious article – something you have always wanted to write about, pool your notes about it, read relevant articles, consult people with expertise on the subject, hold a brainstorming session on the article, sketch a writing plan for doing the final draft.
  1. Dig out your old notebooks from school or college, think how you can tap on the knowledge and experience from your past. Take notes, make a collage out of the notes, stick it on your wall or noticeboard. Take a picture of the whole thing, post it on the social media website and explain to your friends what you have produced.
  1. Short of ideas for your next blog post? Find out what you can find on the web. For example see this. Use an idea in your next post but please remember that the advice from this article is to write about what you have found. So make a meta analysis of the ideas you have made yourself familiar with and write  a short report on this.
  1. One of the new ideas that inspired me and which I remember at the time of typing this is that it is a good idea to change the mode of delivery of your ideas. One way of doing this is to fashion your written matter from a continuous script into a multimodal slides or multimedia presentation. See this for more stimulation.
  1. As a non-native speaker of English I find myself compelled to experiment with the language on the daily basis. That is why my suggestion for new inspirations in writing is to try out different ways of learning English and subsequently reporting on what you have learnt.
  1. Read as much as you can on the subject you are concerned with now. Note how others do it well. Write down every useful expression used by expert writers and try to imitate their style – it is no sin to steal a bit from the performance of giants in writing. As a foreign speaker of English your are entitled to imitate writing techniques. Just avoid the sinful “copy and paste” method and invent a new context for the application of the style you “have stolen”.

More on the acquisition of the foreign manners of language in a future article.

  1. Think of how you are going to sell yourself. You may write just for your own pleasure and without hope of your publication going viral, but if you come up with an idea to get a wide audience of viewers who may support you, comment on your work and eventually help you earn for your keep, then the better off you will be. Think about it and take meticulous notes of what comes to your mind on that issue.
  1. At the end of the day reflect on the writing process you have done today. What conclusions have you drawn, what do you plan to write the next day? Have you learned a new style by reading and then writing? How many new words or expressions have you mastered? Keep a reflective diary of your writing process.
  1. Write a letter to a friend and let them know what you have written today.
  1. Lastly, just let your imagination run riot and write away.

Author: nguedu

a teacher of English as a foreign language, nauczyciel języka angielskiego

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