by Nida Sea
As a writer, you’re constantly reading blog posts and news articles, doing research, and of course writing. It’s easy for your creative juices to dry up while you’re drafting and creating fresh content. But when your creativity begins to wane, you find yourself having trouble brainstorming new writing topics.
What’s the answer to this dilemma? Get a hobby.
Hobbies do more than give you something to do. They take your mind off the daily grind, which is especially true for a writer. Hobbies help you to relax, let your mind wander, and reopen your creative flow.
Ready to jump start your creativity once more? Check out the 13 hobbies that’ll make you better at brainstorming freelance writing topics:
Studying the stars, planets, and natural astronomical occurrences improve your knowledge of astronomy, but it can also expand your thoughts on the universe. New topics to brainstorm for popular astronomy magazines like “Sky & Telescope” and “Popular Science,” can come to you while studying stars and viewing them through a telescope.
It’s refreshing to look at a classic (or modern) piece of artwork and critique it. You see what the piece speaks to you and how you can relate to what the artist was feeling at the time. The same concept can be used in your own works of art, such as your writing.
Old article or blog pieces can be spun and given a new twist, and then used for new pieces. For example, a blog post about green tea and its benefits can be spun into a topic like this: “Top 5 (or 7) Best Teas for Curing a Cold in One Day.” Old idea topics aren’t useless, so take out your old articles and blog posts and use them to brainstorm fresh, new ideas.
Working with clay allows you to create something else other than words with your hands. You can be abstract or definitive with the clay, or mold it after a creature you admire.
Brainstorming works the same way. You take something simple, like a keyword and mold it into an article topic or several topic ideas. Simple keywords like ‘dog’ can be reworked into a topic such as “Four of the Best Indoor Guard Dogs for your Two-Year-Old” or “How to Train your Dog to Use the Toilet and Flush.” These ideas are off the top of my head, but you see what I mean.
Clay shapes and forms in your hands, sometimes when your mind is blank. When an idea hits, you shape it as much as possible with the clay. Do the same with keywords to brainstorm new and fresh topics.
Relaxing and interesting, bird watching lets you research and discover the world of birds. You’ll also mingle with other folks who share the same interest about this hobby. Learn about bird facts and myths, and discover cultural stories behind birds in specific regions.
All of this can translate into new ideas for popular bird watching magazines like “Bird Watching” and “Wild Bird Magazine.” You can also gain new brainstorming ideas from fellow bird watchers. Listen to what they talk about and try to pinpoint any frustrations or curiosities they have concerning bird watching.
Making candles is a fun and enjoyable past time. Different scents, colors, shapes and sizes, along with various wicks, help you create unique handmade candles. Plus, you get some awesome custom-made lighting for your votives! Candle making is more than pouring colorful wax into molds.
The process of making new candle designs is similar to how you create fresh article topics. It’s a method of brainstorming and coming up with new colors, designs, and scents before you make your candles. Similar to brainstorming, you select a topic you’d like to write about, review different angles of your potential topic, and do research to ensure it’s going to be worth writing.
Doll crafting is a fun hobby, but also a very serious one. Doll forum members take the hobby seriously by being selective of the brands and types of dolls they craft. The hair to the color and fabric of the clothing has to match, which can take long periods of time to locate the perfect match. And, dolls even have to be ‘connected’ with the doll crafter to be considered special.
Consider how seriously you take your writing. In the brainstorming aspect of it, you consider all the ideas that come to your mind and note them down. Each idea is reviewed and researched, and if it fits, it’s a keeper. If it doesn’t, it’s set aside for later use, or discarded if it can’t be used. Doll crafting can help you perfect your talent for fitting dolls exactly how you imagine them, which is how you would work a brainstorming idea into a fully fleshed article topic.
Plus, like brainstorming, doll crafting is a slow process because you want to find all the right pieces to match.
Cooking is creative, useful, and relaxing. As a freelance writer working out of your home, you have the option of making your own at-home meals. Try new recipes and make your own unique twist on classic recipes.
Cooking not only helps you to develop your skill and create delicious meals, but it can help you to concentrate on piecing together new content pieces. And, if you’re a writer in home and garden, or cooking, you can develop new ideas to pitch popular cooking blogs or magazines.
Exercise is a great way to improve your body and overall well-being. Physical activity also increases cognitive functions, which means you can focus better and withstand challenging activities like brainstorming. Doing a short, 20-minute workout is enough to boost your mind and eliminate any sluggish feeling you may have—similar to how a cup of coffee works!
Plus, if you’re feeling writer’s block coming on, head on outside for a brisk walk. Just walking down the street or around the block can clear your mind. Frustrated with your lame article topic ideas? A quick cardio workout can eliminate frustration easily giving you the relaxed mind you need to rework your topic choices.
The art of calligraphy is a calming and freeing practice. Feeling the pen in your hand, the smell of the Sumi ink, and watching the page come alive with your handcrafted words is stunning and requires a steady, yet creative hand. Calligraphy allows you to create artistic words for poems, quotes, abstract work, or even fancy journaling. You may also be able to pen brief drafts in calligraphy.
Calligraphy is often considered an artistic hobby, but it can help improve your writing by appreciating what you create. You take your time with calligraphy and each stroke is thought out carefully before making it. Like brainstorming, you come up with hundreds of ideas, but your best ideas are reworked several times and researched carefully to make sure they create a stunning piece.
Believe it or not, writing for half an hour each morning about your previous day in a journal can help you find topics. Much of our ideas come from our own experiences. When you look back on a good (or bad) day you had in your journal, you can find new ideas to use as blog or article topics.
Sometimes the best article topics are derived from emotional frustrations or concerns we have. If you notice a pattern in your journal about something you’ve recorded from your daily life, you may find others who are interested in reading about it. Review your journal once every two weeks to find potential topics to use.
Watching TV or Movies
Yeah, some say watching TV is for slobs. I say, whatever. Watching TV not only takes your mind from the present, but it can spark your creativity with certain scenes or phrases, and it can be thought-provoking or inspiring at times, which can trigger your creative juices.
You may find great moments of inspiration from specific scenes in movies that can be related to real life. Or, maybe there’s a good story about certain actors in the movie that prompts you to ask: Where are they now? These are great brainstorming topics to pitch Hollywood or gossip magazines.
Getting away from your office helps de-stress you, which you should be doing once in a while anyway. But, traveling and seeing other places away from home help you relax, and provide you a new perspective for fresh ideas.
Travel magazines love new article ideas for topics about places to see, best areas to visit in certain cities, and most active venues. You may also stumble across smaller historic locations or local-only events that have yet to be written about. It’s a perfect way to brainstorm fresh new perspective ideas.
Test your mind (and vocabulary) with mobile app games like Words With Friends, Crossword, and Yahtzi to open up your vocabulary world. For most online content, you don’t want to use an extensive vocabulary with big words. Online content is usually better digested in small, easy-to-understand words.
But, mind games test your vocabulary knowledge and these games can introduce you to new words you can use in your writing. Use these new words when brainstorming catchy headlines or short social media posts. Poetry writers would find these words ideal to use in their prose.
These are just some of many hobbies you can do to improve and enhance your brainstorming, and give you ideas for better article and blog post topics.
What hobbies do you enjoy that help you with brainstorming?