Lola’s Ramblings is a feature on my blog Lola’s Reviews where I ramble on about a book related or a non-book related topic. These are discussion type of posts where I talk about a topic and readers can weigh in on the topic in the comments. Usually these posts are everything that doesn’t fall under any standard header, like tours, cover reveals, memes, challenges, recaps or reviews. Lola’s Ramblings posts are discussions of a certain topic and my point of view on them. The banner for this feature is designed by Michelle from Limabean Designs.
Many bloggers do discussion type of posts and one day while thinking about discussion topics I decided to write a post about exactly that, how I come up with topics for my discussion topics. Basically everything can form inspiration for a topic, but there are some common ways/ techniques on how I come up with topics. I also share some common types of topics I write about and what I do once I come up with a topic.
How do I come up with my discussion topics?
There are many different ways of coming up with a discussion topic, but in general most of my discussion topics come to me through one of the following ways:
- By reading a book. There are lots of discussion topics that are inspired by a specific book or books. Or something that happens in a book or scene which suddenly makes me think to write a post about. These are often topics like Cliffhangers, Love Triangles or Why I hate the obligatory break-up scene. They can be inspired by a specific topic or a trope or trend you see in multiple books.
- By reading a blog post or social media post. Reading blog posts on other people their blogs often can give me ideas for my own blog posts as well, these posts can be reviews, memes, Sunday posts or discussion posts, but something this blogger says gets me thinking about a topic and inspires my own post. Or sometimes it’s even a comment or post on social media that gets me thinking. I often try to link back to the blogger if I remember where I got the inspiration, but as I write my topics down and write them later it can happen I forget where I got the idea for a topic. An example of this is how the topic for my What’s the right length for reviews and blog posts post came to me when I was reading Nosegraze her post about how she likes long meaty blog posts.
- By thinking/ daydreaming. While I am brushing my teeth, cooking or showering are some of the best moments to come up with discussion topics. I just let my mind wander and sometimes that thinking or daydreaming leads me to a good idea for a discussion topic. Sometimes I even think out the most important key elements of a post and then rush to write the ideas down so I won’t forget. Often these topics are inspired by a topic or book I am thinking about and sometimes they happen through asking why type of questions. I like thinking about the why behind things and they can be a great way of coming up with discussion topics as well.
- By something that happens or I do. Sometimes something I do or what happens can make me think about that behavior or action, which can lead to inspiration for a topic. For example my post about how much will you pay for a book? was a topic that came to me while I was browsing amazon and deciding which book to buy with my gift card money.
- By a post I am writing. Sometimes while writing one blog post or review I can come up with a topic for another post. Or a discussion topic I write actually is part of a broader topic and I decide I can write another post about another aspect of that topic. or the question I use for a review stop can spark a whole discussion post as well.
Which type of discussion topics do I write about?
Most of my discussion topics fall into one or more of the following types of topics:
- Books. Most of my discussion topics are about books, specific scenes or reading books.
- Top Ten lists. I like lists and now and then I like to do a top ten type of discussion post. Examples of these type of posts are Best Books I read in 2015, Top Ten New to me Authors 2015 and Ten New Releases I want to Read in 2016. Often these posts are either about books or reading habits as well.
- Reading and reading habits. Lost of posts are about reading or reading habits. Sometimes a book can inspire these, but usually there are more generic and applicable to reading in general. These are topics like Do you re-read books?, How do you find new to you authors, How can expectations influence your enjoyment of a book?, What do you Remember About a Book? and Do You Beta Read?. Many of my topics are of this variety. Sometimes a specific book or post can lead to these topics, but often they are inspired by just thinking about reading habits or when I pick-up a new book or add it to my reading list and it gets me thinking about a certain topic.
- Blogging, other hobbies and personal stuff. Not all my discussion posts are inspired by reading or books, but most are. Sometimes I come up with topics about other topics, like blogging or hobbies I have or more personal type of topics. These are usually inspired by what I am doing at that moment or thinking about those things ad then I suddenly realize hey this would make a great topic. An example of this is my post about how being a vegetarian changed my life in which I talk about being a vegetarian. Or my post last year about my bookmark collection.
What do I do with my discussion topics?
Once I come up with a discussion topic I write it down, either in my notepad, but usually on my google calendar. Then when I want to write a discussion posts I go through the list of possible topics I collected and pick one. I usually try to keep quite the list of possible topics as I don’t always feel like writing a post about a certain topic. I like to keep my options open, so I can choose a topic that I want to write at that moment. I do this for both my Lola’s Ramblings and Lola’s Advice topics and so far it works quite well for me. I always have some topics to write about and once I sit down to write a post I pick the topic I want to write at that point. It does mean that there are topics on my list that have been there for months if not years already, but that’s okay. I’ll eventually write them or not, either way is fine. I usually don’t try and force myself to write a certain topic if I don’t feel like it as that usually doesn’t work, although if I want to write a post and don’t have a preference for either topic I just pick one that I feel I can write and start writing. Usually that works and I end up with a full length post at the end, sometimes a post doesn’t work out and I keep it as a draft and see if I can work on it more later or it just stays a draft forever. I have a few drafts for topics that didn’t work and I probably won’t go back and actually publish them.