Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Fleshing out Article Ideas – One at a Time

by Linda Gilden @LindaGilden

When pondering one great writing idea what’s the best thing to do? Turn it into many ideas!

Last month I talked about choosing ideas form the millions that are constantly circulating around us in Swimming in a Sea of Article Ideas. But once you “grab” one of those ideas and decide that will be your next writing topic, why not turn it into multiple articles.

For the sake of simplicity, let’s start with the subject of dogs. You are a dog lover and as such have decided to write about dogs. That is a very broad subject, which is a very popular subject. But before you even start to write your article you must narrow it down a bit because you could never do the tremendous subject of dogs justice in about 1000 words.

Before you start to write, take a few minutes to brainstorm dog topics. Think about it this way.

What would be a good starting point to write about dogs? How about starting with an article about “Dogs, Man’s Best Friend”? That may take your thought in an entirely different direction and you may pause to think about friendship, who your best friends are, and what they mean to you. While you are thinking along those lines, you may want to jot down your thoughts on friendship in your idea journal so you can come back to them later.

Coming back to the original subject of dogs, think of a woman’s angle. Maybe something about “Companion Dogs—Great Company for Those Who Live Alone.” As I am thinking about dog companions, it reminds me of articles I have read about dogs who visit nursing homes to cheer the residents up. Another angle related to that would be therapy dogs and the many different ways dogs are being used to help people with disabilities. You could also do a profile article on “Buddy—the Service Dog.”

Then we might think of a man’s angle. Perhaps “Hunting Dogs” or The Fun of Having a Canine Partner in the Field.”

A children’s angle for an article may be “Ten Best Dog Breeds for Children,” “Caring for the Family Pet,” “How to Train Your Dog,” or “Great Games to Play with the Family Dog.” You could write some of these for parent magazines and then switch your slant and write dog care articles for children’s magazines.

See how easy that is? You just choose one general topic and then let your creative brain see how many articles you can get from your one idea. You can also do this with a writer friend. You will both leave the brainstorming session not only with lots of new article ideas but a fun memory as well.

I have made a chart to help organize my ideas. If you would like a copy of my article idea chart, feel free to email me at


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. Thanks Linda for helpful information.

  2. Ahh... to watch the mind of a master craftsperson at work. Great ideas Ms. Linda. I love how a devotional idea can morph into a longer article. How like articles can come together to create a manuscript. It all starts with that single thought or idea; that I am certain God plants within us. Thank you for your sage counsel this day. God's blessings ma'am.

  3. Great writing tips. Amazing how one single idea can become many.

  4. This is a great tip. It would speed up the writing process in that a writer can put their titles down as ideas to be developed on their 'list' in draft mode. The thing I have to remember to do when putting them down as a 'draft' is to make sure I leave a note/scripture/something so when I come back I still have the thought that went with it. Nothing worse than staring at a draft and wondering—what in the world was I thinking? LOL

    1. That's a wonderful idea Ms. Donevy; leaving yourself clues about your thoughts at that time. I switched from Post-It Notes (they were 3 and 4 deep in some places) to an Excel worksheet to collect my ideas on. Some days I am amazed at how many I've had. That's my clue that I need to take a "writing day." God's blessings ma'am...