One Dozen Sources of Inspiration for Writers

It doesn’t matter whether you write stories or blog posts. We all need some inspiration now and then to either get us into the right mood or sparkle some ideas.

So, get your notebook (If you don’t carry one, you might want to change that) out, and try some of my favorite sources of inspiration.

  • Read a newspaper & watch the news. Notice the differences in the reporting? How would you have done it?
  • Watch your favorite tv-series. Forget about the plot and concentrate on the characters. What makes them so special?
  • Go to the supermarket. Watch how people behave & what they do.
  • Take your kid to the playground. Listen to the other parents’ stories. If you don’t have a kid, borrow one, otherwise people give you strange looks.
  • Stand at the traffic lights and carefully watch the people in the cars.
  • Pick a topic and discuss it with yourself. Try to counter your own arguments. Make sure nobody sees you.
  • Sit down in a quite room and turn off all the lights. What’s the first thing you think of? Why?
  • Read the “Did you know…” section of wikipedia.
  • Open a dictionary and randomly pick a word. How would you explain it to a child? Imagine a lot of why-questions.
  • Read a chapter from a book before you go to sleep. Put it away, turn off the lights. How would the story continue if you were the author?
  • Go to flickr and look at a couple of randomly picked pictures. What could be the story behind it? What would you name it?
  • Go to sleep. If you wake up from a dream, write down what you remember. Don’t care whether it makes sense or not.

I hope one of these methods will give you a new idea the next time you wonder what to write about.

How about you? Do you have any unusual ways to come up with topics for your writing you want to share?


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Blog Action Day: On Energy Production

Blog Action DayNow that global warming has been accepted as a fact by most people, shouldn’t we all agree that we need to change the way our energy is produced?

Then why is it that we still have to listen to this “We don’t want to hurt our economy” crap?

What?

I’m not asking this from an ecological point of view, but from an economical one. The market for renewable energy is already there. Neglecting it means you are hurting your economy.

In 2000, the German government adopted a law that requires electricity grid operators to pay a higher price to providers of renewable energy than they do to providers of traditional energy.

Some of the results so far: Cloudy Germany is the world leader in solar energy production, supplying around 50 percent of the world’s solar power-generated electricity. German companies export photovoltaic components all around the world, and created 10,000s of new jobs.

Imagine the same thing happening in the United States, a country that actually has desert areas.

Solar energy is just one of many ways to produce energy without using limited resources. Wind power, water power or geothermal energy are also great ways to cover the world’s growing need for energy while reducing the emission of greenhouse gases.

Why?

China, India and a lot of other nations are experiencing an extreme economic growth. While it is, of course, great to see more and more people not having to live of one dollar a day, this prosperity comes with a heavy price tag: Consumption.

The amenities of a better lifestyle often lead to a higher need for energy. If we, as a global society, don’t manage to supply this need in an ecofriendly way, we are really screwed. But hey, maybe that problem will take care of itself.

China is, in it’s own way, the most capitalistic country in the world. Once they see a market in renewable energy, it’ll be nearly impossible to compete with them, unless you’re products are far superior.

Who?

We, the more economically developed countries, have to set an example. If we see a problem, we should analyze it and develop ways to correct it. It doesn’t matter if you think that global warming isn’t real, that the problem’s overrated, or you simplay don’t care. You have to realize that clean energy is a multi-billion dollar industry, that the companies in your country should try to dominate. If not for the sake of ecology, than for the sake of economy.

Waiting to see what happens doesn’t get you anywhere.

This post is completely off topic, I know. But every now and then you have a reason to talk about something completely unrelated to your blog. Blog Action Day is one of those reasons.


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Stumble into the Weekend 10/12

It’s getting cold outside, the weekend is approaching, and I know you are longing for something to read and stumble. As every Friday I will present you a list of blog posts I read, especially liked and therefore stumbled.

This was a traffic record week for BloggersJourney (thanks to everyone who stumbled one of my posts), I’m in a really good mood, so this list is somewhat longer than usual. I hope you enjoy it.

That’s my list for this weekend. Follow the links, read the posts, and if you like them - give them a thumb up.

Enjoy the posts and have a nice weekend :-).


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WordPress Admin Dashboard - Technorati or Google Blogsearch?

On the right side of your WordPress admin dashboard you can see your incoming links. Until recently the data was fetched from Technorati.

This changed in WordPress 2.3. Now the data is fetched from Google Blogsearch.

While I think that 2.3 is a big step forward, I prefer Technorati as the source for my incoming links. So I changed it.

If you want to do the same, you can download the changed index-extra.php (zip) or get your hands dirty - it’s pretty easy.

Open the index-extra.php file from your wp-admin directory in an editor. Replace this part of the 2.3-version

case 'incominglinks' :
$rss_feed = apply_filters( 'dashboard_incoming_links_feed', 'http://blogsearch.google.com/blogsearch_feeds?hl=en&scoring=d&ie=utf-8&num=10&output=rss&partner=wordpress&q=link:' . trailingslashit( get_option('home') ) );
$more_link = apply_filters( 'dashboard_incoming_links_link', 'http://blogsearch.google.com/blogsearch?hl=en&scoring=d&partner=wordpress&q=link:' . trailingslashit( get_option('home') ) );
$rss = @fetch_rss( $rss_feed );
if ( isset($rss->items) && 1 < count($rss->items) ) { // Technorati returns a 1-item feed when it has no results
?>
<h3><?php _e('Incoming Links'); ?> <cite><a href="<?php echo htmlspecialchars( $more_link ); ?>"><?php _e('More »'); ?></a></cite></h3>
<ul>
<?php
$rss->items = array_slice($rss->items, 0, 10);
foreach ($rss->items as $item ) {
?>
<li><a href="<?php echo wp_filter_kses($item['link']); ?>"><?php echo wptexturize(wp_specialchars($item['title'])); ?></a></li>
<?php } ?>
</ul>
<?php
}
break;

with this part from the 2.2.2-version

case 'incominglinks' :
$rss = @fetch_rss('http://feeds.technorati.com/cosmos/rss/?url='. trailingslashit(get_option('home')) .'&partner=wordpress');
if ( isset($rss->items) && 1 < count($rss->items) ) { // Technorati returns a 1-item feed when it has no results
?>
<h3><?php _e('Incoming Links'); ?> <cite><a href="http://www.technorati.com/search/<?php echo trailingslashit(get_option('home')); ?>?partner=wordpress"><?php _e('More »'); ?></a></cite></h3>
<ul>
<?php
$rss->items = array_slice($rss->items, 0, 10);
foreach ($rss->items as $item ) {
?>
<li><a href="<?php echo wp_filter_kses($item['link']); ?>"><?php echo wptexturize(wp_specialchars($item['title'])); ?></a></li>
<?php } ?>
</ul>
<?php
}
break;

Save it, put it in your wp-admin folder, and that’s it. Incoming links once again served by Technorati.


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The Top Ten Google Keyword Blunders - Meme

BloggersJourney is a relatively young blog, as you can see by looking at my impressionable pagerank of 0. Thanks to my laziness it also doesn’t have that many posts yet. Since most of my search engine keywords are relevant and on topic, I was at a loss when Garry Conn tagged me for his “Top Ten Google Keyword Blunders”-meme.

Then I thought “Why not just use another blog?”, so my Top Ten Google Blunders are for Tobsy says, a blog I haven’t posted to for quite some time. It still gets at least 100 visitors a day, 60% of them from search engines, so there’s enough to choose from.

The Top Ten

  1. how to dress up like karl benz - Why would you want to do that? I’m pretty sure his wardrobe is out of style nowadays. And since he’s dead for quite some time, you also shouldn’t try to smell like him.
  2. is soccer the most common thing in the usa - Yes, it is. And the most popular, too. Even more than a bikini wax or a dentist appointment.
  3. are all germans rude? - Yes, we are. We just don’t call it “rude”, for us it is “privacy enhancing”.
  4. how can i become a idiot - Just keep on doing this, and you should be on your way.
  5. beerdrinking german chicks - Now, that’s a weird fetish. I don’t drink alcohol, so I don’t quite understand the charm of smelling like a pub, but if it makes you happy …
  6. nipples enslaves - Uhm, okay. If you say so.
  7. hermaphrodytes in the philippines - Okay, I remember calling David Backham a hermaphrodite in a post, but the Philippines?
  8. pictures of gay men wearing lederhosen - And I called “beerdrinking german chicks” a weird fetish. Dammit. Now the thought of a parade of gay guys in lederhosen, yodeling their way through Bavaria, will haunt me for the rest of the day.
  9. the fattest asses on the web - Oh nice. And Google sent you to me, huh? Thanks, Big G., you’re really earning sympathy points here.
  10. the worlds top 10 unhealthiest fast food in the world - Yep, you’ve come to the right place. Just ask the guy with the fattest ass on the web.

Okay, I admit - that was fun. Thanks Garry :-)


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