Lola’s Ramblings: How Do you Come up with Discussion Post Topics?

Posted June 23, 2016 by Lola in Lola's Ramblings / 38 Comments


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.

How Do you Come up with Discussion Post Topics? Which type of discussion topics do you write about? What do you do with your discussion topics and how to you decide which post you write?


38 responses to “Lola’s Ramblings: How Do you Come up with Discussion Post Topics?

  1. I do sometimes get inspired by other posts. One of my upcoming posts I came up with the idea for while I was commenting on someone else’s post and started talking about it lol. But I think most of my discussion post ideas just kind of randomly come to me. I mean, they’re obviously based on things I’ve noticed in books, things I’ve noticed in reviews, things that have been on my mind, but I usually can’t pinpoint an exact moment or an exact book or thing that gives me the idea. But like you I also like thinking about the “why” behind things, and that does sometimes create discussion post ideas for me.

    I noticed recently that when I first started doing discussion posts, they were mostly about reading habits, people’s likes and dislikes, etc., but lately I’ve started writing discussions that are more opinionated and actually about topics I’m passionate about and things I’ve noticed, like my feminism posts. It was like, I realized that I finally had a place to share these opinions and thoughts that have been in my head where other people would actually see them, so I finally started using that to say the things I wanted to say, you know? But I have scheduled some lighter posts for the near future to balance out all the serious discussions I’ve had lately.

    As for how I write them, I used to keep a list and then sit down and pick a topic, but that wasn’t working for me. Now I just get inspired with an idea and write as soon as I’m able to get on the computer. Then I kind of let it marinate for a bit (few days, maybe even a few weeks) before I go read it over and make edits. It works best for me that way πŸ™‚ It’s interesting to see how someone else comes up with discussion posts though! It’s always interesting to learn the different processes people have.
    Kristen @ Metaphors and Moonlight recently posted…Book Review: My Zombie Boyfriend (The Undead Canadian Book 1) by T. StrangeMy Profile

    • Reading a post on another blog or sometimes commenting on it can really help with coming up with your own discussion post topics sometimes.

      If I can remember how a discussion topic came to me I usually try to mention it in the post, but often it’s also something I read or saw and that ideas sorta stays in the back of my mind and eventually turns into a topic. Like my trigger warnings (scheduled for next month) topic was vaguely inspired by a book with a trigger warning, but it’s more that seeing that trigger warning eventually made me think about the topic and thus write a post about it.

      I also try and have a mixture of different types of discussion/ ramblings post, some are more opinionated and quite some are a bit lighter too. I do think a blog is a great place to share your opinions about a topic and often you notice it when someone is really passionate about the topic they’re writing about.
      I think you’re doing a great job with your discussion posts and I like how you share your point of view on a topic while also being open to other opinions.

      If I can write the post when I get inspired I do so, but that not always works out. So I stick with the list. When I write a post I schedule them ahead, but the week before the post goes live I re-read the post and do some more edits. Some posts hardly need nay editing, other times it can take some time.

  2. I find inspiration comes from everywhere. Often from books, or something that’s on my mind, or a book quote or a comment on my blog, pins on pinterest, a comment from real life friends, or thoughts I have when reading other blogs. I just think I have to be aware and make a note IMMEDIATELY so I don’t forget! I do that in a notebook if I have one around or else using the evernote app on my phone. And that way, I always have a list of ideas and just work on what takes my fancy. Like you some things on my list I just never feel like making into a post but I keep them there as I might work them in someday.
    And I love discussion posts, they are fun to read and fun to write. And I love reading all the comments just as much.
    Trish @ Between My Lines recently posted…7 things nobody tells you about bloggingMy Profile

    • It’s amazing how inspiration can come from almost everywhere. And yes it’s handy to have a notebook or something close by to write down ideas.

      That’s interesting you also have a list and topics you might never write, but they stay on there.

      I think reading the comments is half the fun of writing discussion posts :).

  3. Discussion topics come to me out of the blue most of the time. Like today’s post on being either a morning or night person. I was listening to a podcast when I came up with that one. But sometimes I need to be inspired, so I have a long list of discussion ideas in Evernote that I got from some blog a few months ago, and I will go to it and do some brainstorming with those keywords to come up with something unique.
    S. J. Pajonas recently posted…Are You A Morning Person Or A Night Person?My Profile

    • It’s interesting how something small like that can suddenly spark a whole post. I liked your morning or night person post :).
      I prefer to have some topics written down so that I can just pick one. Sometimes when I am feeling inspired I can’t always write the post directly. There are some posts I really want to write, but just need to find the time to write them.

  4. I find that if I don’t write about a topic soon after the inspiration hits me, I often don’t end up writing it. I have some drafts with topic ideas that I thought of but didn’t have time to get to right then – most of the time, they just sit, but I keep hoping one of these days I’ll feel inspired to write about them!

    Funnily, while I was in the middle of reading this post, I was like, “I should go write a discussion RIGHT NOW!” And I did! I just finished it, and then popped back over here to finish reading your post and comment!
    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction recently posted…Moonchild by Kate L. Mary – ReviewMy Profile

    • That’s great you got inspired in the middle fo a post and then wrote a post before you finished reading my post. Sadly I can’t always write a post when i get inspired. I usually can keep hold of the inspiration for a while, but sometimes if I don’t write the post right away the inspiration goes away.
      I have some half finished drafts I probably never finish and some topics on my topic list I probably never write, but I just keep them there, just in case. Who knows maybe one day I suddenly get inspired to write them.
      Lola recently posted…Lola’s Ramblings: How Do you Come up with Discussion Post Topics?My Profile

  5. You know for the longest time I didn’t do many discussion posts, now I’m trying to do one a week. Lately I’ve been inspired by all the Game of Thrones stuff going on in the blogosphere, plus I’m re- reading the last book, so yeah… πŸ™‚ But I have some other topics in mind and hopefully I can keep doing them regularly. As for inspiration I think big ones for me are reading books and seeing other posts or getting an idea from reading another post or something in the blogosphere. Someone might cover something and I’ll think oh yeah but what about this or something like that. πŸ™‚ And I try to credit them too if they were an inspiration.

    Other hobbies like fantasy art or gaming stuff sometimes give me ideas too. although I try not to get too far afield of bookish stuff or no one reads it lol.
    Greg recently posted…Exile for DreamersMy Profile

    • I usually do one a week, when I started blogging I didn’t do discussion posts, but eventually started writing them. I haven’t read or watched Game of Thrones so I can’t really weigh in about that, but that is great you’re having some inspiration of discussion topics and I hope you can keep doing them.

      Same here I try to stay close to bookish stuff or more personal habits type of posts or blogging related as I do notice less people are interested in the other stuff. I actually scheduled a gaming related post for early August, so we’ll see how that goes.

  6. I loved reading about how you get your inspiration for your discussion posts! <3 For me, I would say that all of mine usually come from (like you said) from reading, while I'm in the shower, cooking, cleaning, etc, but mostly when I'm reading and reading other blogger's posts. You guys are so inspiring and you give me ALL the feels so it's easy to always have a good discussion post on hand when the time is right! <3 πŸ™‚

    lovely post L! πŸ™‚

  7. They just come to me sometimes. I just had an idea a few minutes ago. I was listening to an episode of What Should I Read Next, and the guest mentioned Eleanor & Park, and I had a feeling about that book, and it sparks a discussion post idea. πŸ™‚
    Kate @ Mom’s Radius recently posted…On pre-ordering books…My Profile

    • Inspiration can come to you at the weirdest moments sometimes. Just hearing something or reading something and then eventually that might spark a topic.

  8. I used to write down discussion post ideas, but I haven’t any in awhile. Probably because I haven’t thought of too many new ones lately; I have some in mind from a long time ago and I just need to sit down and write them. That’s good you just focus on the topics you are ready/happy to write about in that moment. Sometimes things just spark your interest more than others.
    Let’s Get Beyond Tolerance recently posted…#UncapLove: Burt’s Bees and GLSEN Team UpMy Profile

    • I have weeks where I come up with a lot of topics and also those where I think of none for weeks. And sometimes I just need to sit down and write some of the post instead of just collection ideas.

    • It can be nice to know which topics you want to focus on, sometimes I decide beforehand which topics to write about for a month, but usually I just go with what the post I feel most excited to write at that moment.

  9. You get inspired from more sources than I do, but pretty much it’s stuff I’ve read in books or something someone said or posted.
    I can’t really save the topic for later, though. I lose the train of thought if I don’t open up a document and toss it all down first. I can come back and clean it up later for an actual post or toss it out, but I can’t just put the title down or I forget the points.
    Sophia Rose recently posted…To Be or Not to Be…Read TBR Pile Vote JuneMy Profile

    • Sometimes inspiration can come from everywhere, especially if I am in the right mindset. Posts I read or books I read are one of the more common sources though.

      I sometimes forget the train of thought for a post, but at the same time I don’t always have time to write a post right now and often writing down the topic can help. I have had a few times that I saw the topic and couldn’t remember my train of though, but often I do remember or at least enough to write the post. Although I am sure I forget some points as well.

  10. I love your discussion posts. They’re always so intriguing. I’m just getting ready to start doing discussion posts on my blog. It’s something that I’ve always wanted to do but because of the vast amount of review books I receive, I’ve never really had time to focus on a discussion post before. Now that I’ve realized I don’t have to review every single book that shows up on my doorstep, I can focus on other things.
    Angela @Simply Angela recently posted…Black Rose by Jenna RyanMy Profile

    • Thanks! I am glad to hear that. Discussion posts sure take some time to write, so I can imagine it’s hard to find time for them sometimes. I agree you don’t have to review every book you read or receive, only if you want to. I hope you’ll get to write some discussion posts, I would love to read them if you do!

  11. I enjoy discussion posts and getting some insight to the bloggers I follow. I rarely do them, even though I have a few half written. My problem is finishing them. lol. Usually they’re just something that I was thinking about and want to share with others or get their input. I should quit being a slacker and finish the ones I have.
    Christy LoveOfBooks recently posted…And I Darken by Kiersten WhiteMy Profile

    • I would be interested in reading your discussion posts if you ever decide to finish them and publish them. One of the things I like most about discussion posts is to hear other people their opinions on the topic.

  12. I love how organized you are about this! I am a mess. Here’s what happens: I am talking to someone about something, or maybe I am in the car, or whatever. Some weird thought pops into my head. If I am lucky enough to jot it down somewhere, it may make it into a post someday. If not… kiss it goodbye πŸ˜‚ And then if I do jot it down, and maybe, just maybe, I can think of something to say about it… I sit down at like, 10pm, and finish it whenever it gets finished. Seriously, I think I need to take Blogger Organization SKills classes or something- you could teach me your ways!
    Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight recently posted…Cover Reveal: The Alchemists of Loom by Elise KovaMy Profile

    • Everyone does things differently and as long as it works for you it’s good. I am generally a very organized person, so I guess that also shows here. I would stress a lot if I were writing a post at 10pm for the next day and then worry so much that I can’t get any thoughts down, so I admire people who can work under such tight deadlines.

    • I don’t want to risk forgetting a topic, so I try and write ideas down as soon as possible. Social media or posts/ comments you see somewhere are a good way to get inspiration. I’ve had a book become inspiration for a post due to something that happened or what made me think about a topic.

    • Thanks! I am glad you enjoy my discussion topics :). Writing the topics down for future use really comes in handy when you don’t always have time to write them immediately.

  13. Discussion topics come from everywhere for me. They seem to just pop into my head at the most random times and I make a note of it(I use OneNote) and then when Im in the mood for a discussion post, I pick one out to write up. Sounds like our methods are similar, though you’re way more structured than I am πŸ™‚
    Berls recently posted…Just a Few Calendar Girl Books I Read | Part 1My Profile

    • Same here, inspiration can truly come from everywhere. I tried to write out some of the more common sources here. Fun to hear you use a similar method as me with writing topics down and then picking one when you’re in the mood to write one.

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