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Find Your Next Article Topic Through Observation


One challenge for bloggers of all sorts is that of finding interesting topics for articles. I’ve found it’s not too hard to come up with many topics simply by turning on one’s observational skills

Up, Up, and SomewhereAs I write this article I’m wrapping up a day of travel from Portland to the Bay Area for a workshop and the evening’s meet-and-greet activities, and I made some observations throughout the day. Think about what you write about, and see if you can find something interesting amongst the things I’ve noticed today:

  • the woman next to me on the plane who saw my iPad and asked if it was “a droid”
  • the Southwest Airlines boarding process, which is different than all others
  • saying goodbye to my wife and kids
  • the business process where airlines will oversell a flight and then bump people because there isn’t enough room on the plane
  • a friend making an email introduction between his boss (who will be at the same workshop) and I
  • being told that I’m the focus of an article someone is writing about connecting with people online and then turning those connections into meatspace meetings and friendships
  • using time on an airplane for leisure (sleep, reading a tabloid) vs. business (writing, reading an industry publication)
  • the notion of a VIP or premium customer who bypasses the line that’s for the “regular” folks
  • the temporary inconvenience of road construction which will lead to more capacity when it’s finished
  • meeting a podcaster in real life whose work I’ve followed for several years online
  • learning from other workshop participants vs. learning from the workshop instructor
  • keeping in touch with family while on the road

I could see topics for article about business, tech, mobile, travel, friendship, and family. What other potential articles could be written based on the observations of a day?


  • Carrie

    Thanks so much for this post! I just came back from a trip (#carrienytrip), and while I felt pretty certain what I would write about before I left, I ended up with very different ideas after I came back this weekend, such as: the neat personal consoles in Virgin America, my mother’s questions about Twitter, marketing ideas from a Broadway show, and a “Proustian” moment inspired by an egg cream! You are so right on in your observations.

  • Chelsea Lampard

    Thanks for the inspirational briefs! I’m so much interested about observation  and it’s very appealing. I like that efforts and simply enjoy this contribution. Keep it up dear!

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