Since finding a topic is an important process in article writing, I have my own method to finding and keeping topics. The followings are the list of my action items to find, keep, and maintain my ideas:
- Pay attention to a shift in emotion
- Write a topic idea with questions
- Take note or make a list of ideas
- Regularly or irregularly revisit listed ideas
- Do not abandon topic ideas because of difficulty developing a story
- Review used topics regularly. They are seeds of new writings.
No matter what I am doing, whenever I feel a shift in my emotion, that is the key to my topic. This may happen when I am reading a book, watching a TV program, watching a DVD, or walking my dog. Whenever this happens, I write about it, which shows how and why I felt that way. I also write down any questions I have. If my PC is available, I open my word processing software, name a document with the topic idea, and save it to my PC desktop. When I am out and away from my PC, I write my topic ideas down in the notebook I carry everywhere. I also use voice recording on my smart phone or call my home phone and leave a message with my topic idea. I then save my ideas to my PC desktop when I am home.
In this way, I constantly keep five to ten topic ideas. When I feel like writing based on the topic idea that has just come to mind, I start writing. When I find it is not so easy to write a quality article about my most recent topic, it is saved on my desktop to wait. Some topics stay there for a long time. However, in most cases, I use these ideas saved on my PC desktop within a few days. I do not abandon any topics.
I review unused topics regularly and irregularly. I revisit my list of topic ideas at least once in 2-3 weeks. It is somehow funny, but a topic once was difficult to develop a story become a good topic to write over a time. Used topics are still useful, too. Many of them give me a new idea of writing. I revisit used topics at least once in a month.
Using this method, I keep track of all my topic ideas. The topics will not abandon you, as long as you do not abandon the topics.
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