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I don’t have any article ideas

I have found myself in this predicament. I can’t think of anything to write about or can’t think how to make an article out of a vague thought I have.

Luckily, there are SO many ways of overcoming this.

Firstly, are you reading enough? Watching the news and just generally keeping up with popular culture? As a journalist this should be part of your daily routine so if it’s not, start now. Read news articles, watch TV or listen to the radio and think: what do I think about this? Have you got a strong opinion about a particular issue or have had a similar (or even better, completely opposite) experience? Those kinds of ideas could be the beginnings of a comment piece or a blog post.

Are you leaving the house and talking to people enough? Most of my ideas for original articles come from conversations in the pub. Find out what’s going on in people’s lives, what problems they are having, what they think about what’s in the news that week. The internet is another way of doing this, read comments on articles and find out what people are talking about in forums.

Think about what you’ve done in your life and what your family and friends have done. Is there an interesting real life story there?

Know anyone with an unusual job or who’s had a strange experience?

Have a look at Guardian Experience for stories of unique experiences.

A Working Life for interesting accounts of every day jobs.

There are loads of magazines who run real life stories, Cosmopolitan and Glamour are probably aiming a bit high but what about Woman, Woman’s own, Bella, Chat it’s fate or love it!

This is my bedroom floor:

Newspapers and magazines

Dedication.

Go and spend £15 at WHSmith and get a copy of as many newspapers and magazines as possible, not just the ones you read either. Take some time to study them all, have a look at each column and section. You’ll see that you don’t have to be thinking of two page features, write a short letter for the letters page, give some advice in a blog type space, or send in a small tip off about that strange thing you came across last week to G2.

If your head is not flooding with ideas after taking this advice, you may need a brain scan.

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About Rhian Jones

I am a freelance music business journalist based in London. My career began when I saw an apprenticeship with freelance education journalist Janet Murray advertised in the Guardian. I applied, and after a gruelling two-day Alan Sugar style assessment, got the job, quit university and relocated to London to pursue my dream of a career in the media. The apprenticeship ended on a high when I secured my first journalism job at Music Week. I spent my week days writing news stories, interviewing and learning all about the fast paced nature of putting together a weekly magazine, all while gaining invaluable insight into the inner workings of the music business. After three years and a few promotions, I left my position as news editor to go freelance in 2015. Alongside two regular gigs as London correspondent for US trade rag Hits, and contributing editor for Music Business Worldwide, I've written for publications including Company, Grazia, The Sunday Telegraph, the Guardian, The Independent, Music Ally, Billboard, The Journalist and Music Teacher.

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