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10 Guaranteed Ways to Never Run Out of Blog Post Ideas (#2)

Missed the first posts in this series? Check them out here.

#2 Read Voraciously

If you want to be a good writer, the best thing you can do is to immerse yourself in good writing. Surround yourself with well-written books by authors that inspire you to think, dream, and do.

Writers and bloggers are constantly pouring out words to the world. If you don’t replenish your creativity supply, your well will soon run dry.

Yes, You Have Time To Read

You might be saying, “But I don’t have time to read!” Can I encourage you to evaluate if that statement is really true? I believe everyone, no matter how full their life, can make reading a priority — even if it’s just a few pages from a book every day.

You usually always have time for what you want to have time for. As has well been said, “If it’s important to you, you’ll make time for it. If it’s not, you’ll make an excuse.” So in most cases, it’s not a matter of not having time; it’s a matter of choosing to use your time differently.

Could you cut out some of your Pinterest-hopping, Facebook-viewing, or TV-watching? Or, what about finding ways to add reading to things you’re already doing?

A few examples:

  • Listen to audiobooks while you’re driving or cleaning.
  • Read the classics aloud to your children at the dinner table (even just 5 minutes every night).
  • Always carry a book with you in case some free minutes open up in your day.
  • Be a little crazy like me and read on your iPad while walking & running on the treadmill. 🙂
  • Find many .

Read From a Wide Variety of Perspectives

In addition, I think it’s important to be challenging your mind from different perspectives. I try to always be reading a few well-written blogs and books from a broad spectrum of genres. This allows me to continually be exposing my mind to new ideas and inspiration.

I usually have 3-4 books going at one time — each from a different genre. For instance, right now I’m reading a novel by Lynn Austen, a spiritually challenging book, a biography, a homeschooling book, and I’m getting ready to start a new business book.

I do something similar with my blog-reading. I follow about 20 blogs total: a few deal blogs, a few blogs on simple living, a few blogs on leadership/business, a few blogs on parenting & homeschooling, and a few book review blogs. Since each of these blogs approach things from different perspectives, I’m challenged and inspired in unique ways each day.

Evaluate Everything You Read

One very effective way to grow as a writer is to always evaluate what you’re reading. Analyze how the blogger or author is communicating their points.

If I’m really enjoying a post or book, I’ll often ask myself, “What is the author doing to effectively draw me in and keep me reading?” This simple question can teach you so much about how to write well.

By making reading a priority, exposing myself to new ideas, challenging my mind, and analyzing what I read, it not only is helping to hone my writing craft, but it also sparks many, many new blog ideas!

Real-Life Example #2

When I was reading One Question by Ken Coleman, this quote stuck out to me: “Good questions inform. Great questions transform.”

As I mulled over it in my brain for a few days, he not only inspired me to ask more questions of people, but also to encourage you all to ask more questions, too. And that’s where part of my answer to How Do You Develop Goals That Are At the Same Time Stretching But Also Realistic? came from.

What are some of your favorite well-written books, blogs, and authors to follow/read? I’d love to get some new ideas & inspiration!

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50 Comments

  • says:

    Funny – even in my book club half of the members don’t read the book let alone more books. I think once I stop learning, I stop living. Learning can happen in other ways and through other methods – but the cheapest I have found is through books. My one graduate class I needed to take cost $850! And that was at the public in-state university. Books are cheaper!!!!

    The down side is that I am trying to remember the book I read 3 weeks ago and 10 books ago for book club! LOL

  • says:

    I agree that reading is fundamental – especially if you want to write. My ministry partner and I write almost daily in order to encourage women to give God priority in their everyday lives. Check out the Glo Girl Blog at We’ll have a free ebook in the next month or two!

  • says:

    I like the idea of following some core blogs. I think my issue is I follow way too many blogs and it gets overwhelming. I need to whittle the list to 10 or so and then really make sure to check them out daily! Thanks for the tip. I’m relaunching my blog this Fall and am LOVING the timing of this series!

    • Crystal says:

      Thanks for your kind encouragement!

      There is SO much information out there and it can be overwhelming! I stick to blogs that I’m truly learning and gleaning from — and I add a few new ones every six months or so and pare a few from the list that are no longer things I’m interested in or just aren’t really meeting my needs anymore.

  • says:

    For light summer reading, I recommend the novel “Where’d You Go Bernadette” by Maria Semple. Semple was a writer on the tv show Mad About You, back in the 90’s.

    Don’t forget about essays if you have just a few minutes to read. The late humorist James Thurber wrote several really funny collections of essays that I’ve been re-reading for years. “The Dog that Big People” is a must read for all dog lovers (or haters).

    • says:

      Essays would be a great idea! I had a similar thought: poetry…stew on one each night before bed, get through 365(ish) poems a year!

      • Crystal says:

        I love the essay and poetry idea. Anyone want to recommend good poetry books? That’s definitely an area I should challenge myself to read more. Because {ahem} I’ve read all of about zero poetry books… though we do study some poetry in our homeschooling, if that counts for anything. 🙂

        • says:

          Mary Oliver’s American Primitive is an excellent collection.

        • says:

          I’m just wading into the world of poetry (outside of my college days, that is!). I started by just going to the poetry section at the library and browsing; I picked a collection that includes lots of poets with the hope that reading a bit of this and a bit of that will help steer me toward poets I like and want to read more of.

          Hopefully other people have more knowledgeable answers!

        • says:

          One of my most favorite poetry books is “Good Poems” edited and introduced by Garrison Keillor. I like this one because the poems are arranged by subject and the book has a wide range of poems, from those written a few hundred years ago to modern poems. It’s a really accessible poetry book.

        • Rebecca says:

          Practical Gods by Carl Dennis is the only poetry collection I enjoyed reading while in college (I studied English). Even 4 years later some of the poems have stuck with me, particularly “The God Who Loves You.” It’s definitely worth checking out!

      • says:

        I’m glad you mentioned poems. I have a son who is 10 and off and on during his life, we’ve read a poem at night before story time. Sometimes, they’ve been “kid” poems, other times, any poems at all. During those months when we’re reading poems consistently, my writing improves dramatically and his language skills shoot up. This is something we’ve got to restart again I think. Maybe in September!

  • Brighid says:

    I’d love to know what leadership/business blogs you and others read.

    My blogs that I read regularly are all centered around cooking, a daily fact of life for me. (simplebites.net, punkdomestics.com, heavenlyhomemakers.com, goodcheapeats.com and foodinjars.com)

    • Crystal says:

      Oh, I love the blogs you follow — though Punk Domestics is new to me. Will have to check that one out!

      A few Leadership/Business blogs I love: JonAcuff.com, MichaelHyatt.com, GoinsWriter.com — among others! 🙂

      • says:

        I’m also a big fan of JonAcuff.com! Not only is he hilarious, but I find that his posts are always so timely and encouraging.

        After hearing Jeff Goins speak at a blogging conference a few years ago I became a fan of his blog! Not only is he a talented writer, but he’s a fabulous speaker too!

  • Marta says:

    Which book review blogs do you like?

  • Shannon says:

    Would you mind sharing which blogs you follow?

    • Crystal says:

      It changes every six months or so as life ebbs and flows and I’d risk disappointing someone if I posted the list here, but thanks so much for asking!

  • says:

    I am finding lately I am getting a lot of reading done while waiting in line here and there. I keep a few free books (thanks to ereader girl) on my kindle app on my iPod (because I don’t own a smart phone) and carry it every where. Whenever there is a line I get out the iPod and read. It has not only got me reading more but totally changed my attitude towards waiting, I use to hate lines, now I see them as an opportunity to read more.

    • Crystal says:

      Oh, I LOVE this! And I’m the exact same way about seeing waiting as a reading opportunity! In fact, most all of the ebooks I read are read in little snippets here and there while little free moments (like waiting in line) pop up throughout the day.

  • says:

    Audiobooks are a sure way for me to get reading done. I listen to audiobooks while cooking or cleaning in the bathroom. Sometimes I just move our little CD player from one room to another. One lady I knew who wanted to get her direct sales business going would listen to motivational books on her MP3 (before the iPod days) while cleaning people’s homes (her paying job at that time).

    If you are looking for an interesting biography, I’d recommend one about billionaire entrepreneur Sam Wyly. Born in the 1930s, he started out at IBM, grew a computing business, later owned the Michael’s stores and Ponderosa restaurants (leading to the first salad bar concept). Amazing story of American business ingenuity and integrity. Check it out his memoirs at the library:

    1,000 Dollars and an Idea: Entrepreneur to Billionaire: Expanded Edition

  • says:

    I never thought of this before, but I agree with you. Some of my most passionate writing has come right after I’ve read stuff by some of my heroes–most of whom are dead, and all of which were fabulous writers–like A.W. Tozer, Charles Finney, and others. To those guys, writing was more than a hobby; it was memorializing their heart and spirit on paper. They wrote to leave a legacy. I can’t read their writing and not be changed… which of course gives me something to write about myself.

    • Crystal says:

      “To those guys, writing was more than a hobby; it was memorializing their heart and spirit on paper. They wrote to leave a legacy. I can’t read their writing and not be changed…”

      I love this — so inspiring! Thanks for taking time to comment.

  • says:

    A Praying Life by Paul E. Miller , A Severe Mercy by Sheldon Vanauken, and Not Buying It: My Year Without Shopping by Judith Levine are all books I enjoyed so much that I will probably revisit them in a few years–which is saying a lot because I always like to find something NEW to read. Excited to hear the other comments!

  • Sarah Anderson says:

    I love Susie Larson’s podcasts! I love to read, but can’t read while I am doing my work cleaning an office… So I listen to her podcasts, it is just as good as reading a book! She interviews up and coming authors or more established authors and I get to hear a 50 minute interview all about their book! IT is like pre-reading a book to see if I want to read it… getting encouragement and biblical wisdom along the way. You will not regret listening to her radio show or downloading her podcasts (like i do!) You can find her by googling her name- susie larson, faith radio!

  • Anonymous says:

    Spending more time in Gods word has changed me and challenged me to be a better wife, and mother. Literally has transformed me into who I am today. I do read non fiction books like Tozer. But it is Gods word that absorbs most of my reading time. My daughter has a blog and what inspires her is also Gods word. All her post are about what God has shown her through his Word.

  • says:

    You are so right that if you read you will never run out of blog posts. If I had the time, I could write 2 or 3 posts a day, but I have a family, a house, a garden…and lots more books to read!

    The best books I read recently are Cooked by Michael Pollan, Pinterest Power by Miles and Lacey, and Decisive by the Heath brothers. Having followed you for years, I think each one of them is your style of book. I reviewed them here:



  • says:

    Good writers don’t just happen. I taught for many years and saw a correlation between quality of reading and quality of writing. A book that inspired my down-to-earth approach to my blog posts is Plan B by Pete Wilson. He writes conversationally, allowing his personality to show through. I reviewed his book on my family blog: . My new blog: is written much the same way as Pete Wilson wrote his book – with an effort to grab the reader with this style of writing.

  • says:

    I love this. Obviously. 🙂

  • says:

    Have you read any of Francine Rivers books? I love her books. She is similiar to Lynn Austen in that she writes extremely well written draw you in and keep you there biblical historical fiction books as well as more contemporary ones all with faith and God woven nicely throughout. I just finished Her Daughter’s Hope by her which was a fantastic read about mother and daughter relationships and the rift that can slowly start to form. Her Mark of The Lion Series is really good too along with Reedeeming Love (based off the book of Hosea) I first learned of Lynn Austin from you and have literally been devouring her books too!

    I was one who used to always say I didn’t have time to read then in May I read whenever I would normally go on Facebook and as a result I ended up reading seven books! I’m so embarrassed to admit that I spent seven books worth of time on Facebook but it was such a wakeup call on how much time I was really spending on there. I wrote about it here: .
    Since then I have spent so much less time on Facebook and I actually feel healthier and have continued reading way more which I agree with you really impacts my writing!

    A blog that I LOVE that is well written is . She only posts about once a week I think but when she does it is always really thought provoking and invokes change in how I prioritize and spend my time.

    I love that you’re doing this series! Your blog is one that I would definitely write about if the same question was asked on another blog 🙂

    • Crystal says:

      What an eye-opener on the Facebook thing — thank you for sharing that!

      And thank you for the recommendation on Francine Rivers. I haven’t read any of her books yet and now I really want to!

    • says:

      Jo Lynn, I agree that Francine Rivers is a wonderful author! Redeeming Love is one of my all-time favorite books and definitely one that I recommend when someone asks what my favorite books are!

  • AnnMorgan says:

    Crystal, I know how much you enjoy giving to folks in need locally and around the world. You might be interested in reading “The Blue Sweater” which gives some powerful ideas on philanthropy and having an impact globally, especially in areas of deep, pervasive poverty. The author spent a great deal of time in Rwanda before and after the genocide and wrote about her experiences there as well. The title (The Blue Sweater) comes from a sweater that the author wore in high school. She gave it to Goodwill, then saw it on a child in Africa ten years later (it still had her name on the tag!). It isn’t written from a Christian perspective, but it does a great job of showing how we are all connected and how our giving can best have an impact. Don’t feel obligated, but I thought of you!

  • says:

    This is so true. I love it. I read about 50 books last year and I loved how it broadened my thinking and made me a better person and a better writer. My blog writing has slowed down now due to my daughter’s serious illness which threw me for a loop, but as I start to pick it back up, I have found reading to be so important.

  • says:

    Glad to see I am not the only one who reads about 3 or 4 different books at a time. I tend to read fiction at night, my bible and a Christian type of devotional book in the morning, and a fitness, sewing or technical type of book about photoshop, adobe or wordpress during the day if I have a free moment. I love to read and enjoy visiting our library down the street at least once a week. I have a nook but still prefer actual books.
    I too follow many different blogs with bloglovin.

  • says:

    Hi Crystal,

    I think you are absolutely right when it comes to creating time to read widely (I especially like the Ken Coleman quote).

    The one problem I find is that reading online – blogs and the like – always sends me off to somewhere new and I end up losing a lot of time. For example, your post on the Vegetarian Times subscription deal sent me down a rabbit hole of exploration of their website, because I’m vegetarian and I hadn’t ever heard of the mag before (it’s great, by the way, so thanks!).

    Any tips on how to stay on track? The internet is just full of too many wonderful things to explore.

    Cheers,
    Koren

    • Crystal says:

      My suggestion (and something that works well for me) is to only read blogs when you have time to click around a little (isn’t that the beauty of the internet?) and then be sure to set a timer. When it goes off, your time is up. 🙂

      • says:

        Aha! Setting a timer – such simple genius. I’ll certainly give that a try and let you know how I go. Thanks for the tip. 🙂

        • Crystal says:

          I’m sort of a timer fanatic… I think it might be my Type A-ness. 🙂

          • says:

            Haha. I often set myself a time limit but then fail to set an actual timer. Next thing I know, two hours has passed and I’ve achieved zilch. I need a little of your “Type A-ness”, I think!

  • says:

    This is NOT what I expected when I clicked on this from , but so true thank you!

  • says:

    For me, not only does reading give me a variety of topics but it makes me a better writer. And good writing is essential to a good blog.

    Some of my favorite writers are Jodi Picoult, Jean Thompson, Chuck Klosterman, and Wally Lamb. I wish I could pick a few favorite bloggers but that’s like picking a favorite child.

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