Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Swimming in a Sea of Article Ideas

by Linda Gilden @LindaGilden

Recently I attended a swim meet to watch some of the grandchildren. Chatting with a few friends between events, someone asked, “How do you find ideas to write about?”

“Well,” I said, “it’s kind of like all the world is a swimming pool full of ideas and at any time all we have to do it look around and pick one.”

“That may work for you,” my friend said. “But I can’t ever seem to find anything to write about.”

As another event for the six and under swimmers began, I said to her, “Look at this event. Some of the swimmers are just three years old. They aren’t quite ready to swim an entire lap without a lot of encouragement. In the lanes where the youngest swimmers are, a teenager is also in the water several feet in front of the swimmer coaxing him or her on to the finish. The encourager never touches the swimmer but keeps the swimmer striving to get where the encourager is.”

“That’s really sweet, but what does that have to do with finding ideas?”

I looked at my friend. “Think about all the things you could write about that spring from watching those teenagers helping the youngest swimmers. You could write articles about
  • The role of the swimmer needing help
  • The role of the encourager 
  • The importance of encouragement
  • Finding someone who is where you want to be and asking them to help you reach your goal
  • Ways you can help someone reach their goals
  • Mentoring others to help them improve
  • Mentoring is not just for adults

Those are just a few things that come to mind immediately.”

Ideas are all around us. Paying close attention everywhere you go will fill your notebook with thoughts to develop into articles. If you continue to make a list of ideas when they come to mind, you will never lack for anything to write about. (Just make sure to write down enough information to help you remember all the details.)

A few entries from my notebook include
  • “Dorm room robbed. Me waked up to pray at 5 a.m.”—a perfect start for an article on prayer and the importance of praying when you are prompted. 
  • “Melt down. B telling her to “shhhh!” I need a hug.”—reminds me to write an article on living with a special needs child and how all family members can be involved.
  • “Ninja Warrior”—watching a television show and realizing how all of us need to feel success and the hard work it takes to achieve it.

See how easy that is? If you have trouble making applications with “slice of life” scenarios, find someone who does it well. Look for a writing buddy or group who can help you brainstorm different ways to use the things you observe to teach valuable lessons through your articles. You can do this!

Start today by creating an idea notebook. Or an article idea file in your computer. It will save you time and help you bypass writer’s block and get right to writing every time you sit down at your computer.


Linda Gilden is a wife, mother, and grandmother. She loves to take one subject and create multiple articles from that information. Linda finds great joy (and lots of writing material) in time spend with her family. Her favorite activity is floating in a pool with a good book surrounded by splashing children.

To find out more about Linda, her writing, and her ministry, visit You can also connect with her on Twitter and Facebook.


  1. I love how you think, Linda Gilden! :) I carry a pocket journal everywhere I go in case an idea pops up. Or, if I'm driving when it hits, I'll send myself a text message via Siri.

    1. Thanks, Cathy. It seems like everywhere I look, there is a great article idea that I simply MUST write!

  2. Wonderful post Ms. Linda! My "take-away", it's all in your perspective. Write what you see, but remember to look with the right eyes. Eyes of faith and wonder, hope and goodness. What an inspirational start to my day. God's blessings ma'am...

    1. You have a great perspective, Jim, and so much wisdom to share with others. Keep it up!

  3. Ideas are everywhere. We just need to pay attention.
    Nice post, Linda.

    1. Absolutely! Paying attention is a great asset for a writer!

  4. Nice article, Linda. People have asked me the same question, "Where do you get all your ideas?" On the rare occasion that I get low on ideas, I call one of my children and get a writing prompt. Even the grandchildren come up with some pretty amazing ideas for humor articles. I hope they are budding writers; they seem to possess a sixth sense for seeing things others pass by.

  5. I can't imagine not having ideas. Wow.

    1. Neither can I, Donevy. However, I have learned that some people have to learn how to look for them. You can train yourself to do that. Sounds like that is something you easily figured out!