We've all been there- you're sat in front of your computer, you've got a good few hours set aside for writing, and you're raring to go. There's only one small problem: you can't think of a single thing to write about.
Even if you're the most fluent and accurate writer in the world, your work lives and dies by how engaging your topic is. With that in mind, here's a few tips on how to sniff out a killer subject— the cornerstone of every great post.
Identify Your Subject
Like the team on Criminal Minds, you have to identify your Unknown Subject. What do you want to write about? You probably have an idea of what areas you're interested in. You can have many interests, but you can't write about them all at once. Which movie are you invested in? Which TV show kept you awake for hours, desperate to reach the end? Which article have you fervently commented on via your favorite Movie Pilot channel?
From the staggering impact of Marvel movies on cinema to a cute fan art drawing of Damon from The Vampire Diaries, any movie or TV related topic is viable. Just go with what you want to talk about and the rest will follow. However, there is one very important question to answer before you proceed...
Would you want to read and/or share this?
This is where you have to be super honest with yourself. You might enjoy writing a comprehensive guide to the dust particles under your bed, but other people will probably not want to read it. If you want other people to read what you've written, you have to seriously consider the wider appeal of your topic.
A quick look through Movie Pilot will let you know if the topic has been done to death or totally ignored. Check the comments section for subjects you're interested in, and check out the related articles. Join the conversation, or start one of your own if you feel your topic has been a little neglected, or you can add something new to the thread.
Of course, if you want to write a 12,000 word magnum opus about the dusty recesses of your home furnishings, go wild! We won't crush your topic dreams, as you're free to write on whatever you're passionate about. Just be prepared that the likelihood of reaching a million views on such a topic is slim to none.
Where to find inspiration
- Movie Pilot (of course!)
- Facebook, Twitter, Instagram: if you follow your favorite movie actors, directors, producers etc. online, you may find you pick up hot news before other sources. It's amazing what you can glean from these stars, unfiltered through the press!
- Social news sites: Bustle, Mic, Buzzfeed
- Movie Websites: Total Film, Comic Book, Slash Film, Bloody Disgusting
Most importantly, READ. Check out other articles. What was it that you liked about that article? Did that author make a minor point that needs expanding into a fuller discussion? Something as simple as a small remark in the comments section can spark your creativity.
Unblock that Writer's Block!
The blank page can be a daunting thing, staring back at you with its merciless blank countenance. Here are some top tips to break through and tap into your creativity when writer's block has you like...
- Just write on the page. It doesn't matter if it's nonsense gibberish, just start writing about your topic. This is to get you typing and to make the process feel more automatic. Eventually something good will come out, and you can edit out the mad rambling you used to get you started.
- Set yourself five points you want to make. Breaking the full article down into smaller chunks can make the whole process seem less daunting.
- Start with a question. There's a helpful process known as the Question Method to help those cogs in your brain turn when they're getting stuck.
- Remind yourself it's not a big deal. A blank screen and a burning desire to prove yourself can make a heady cocktail of worry, but there's no reason to feel like that. You're writing about something that makes you happy — the movies and shows you love — and it doesn't matter if it takes a bit of time. Give yourself as much time as you need for your ideas to develop, and for your passion to flow!
- Don't be afraid of making mistakes. It sounds mega cheesy, but mistakes are awesome. They're like little reinforcers for your memory to make sure you don't make the same mistake again. Use spellcheck, read your article thoroughly before you publish it, and you'll know that you've done everything in your power to deliver something fantastic. Nobody can ask more of you than your best.
Chapter 9 Assignment
Your writer's block-busting assignment is to write a story inspired by another conversation you've read on a topic you love. Use your wider reading to create a unique post idea. For instance, if you read a tweet from your favorite celebrity confirming their casting in an upcoming project, write a post about who they could play. If you read a comment discussing how great Cloverfield is, write a piece on 12 found-footage horror movies which are way scarier.
- Have you looked through forums and discussion boards, websites and social platforms, read articles from writers you like on your favorite topics and found an interesting debate that's been started?
- Can you add to the conversation? If not - go back and try again with a new topic. The point is not to reiterate what's already being discussed, but to spark a whole new conversation about something that's not been explored.
- Have you done a google check to see if a similar article or idea has been written?
- Have you written something that you would want to share?
Use the sources above to inspire you, and write a post stemming from your research.
If you have any questions or want to brainstorm ideas, get in touch on the Facebook Group.