How To Pick Topics for Your Blog or Newsletter by LA Bourgeois

How To Pick Topics for Your Blog or Newsletter by LA BourgeoisLet’s welcome back LA Bourgeois as she shares with us “How To Pick Topics for Your Blog or Newsletter.” Enjoy!


Each week, I write at least one hopefully delightful memoir essay for my newsletter, “Diary of a Lesbian Housewyfe.”

In my quest to make people smile, topics have included making jam political, defining non-binary, vacations in unexpected locations, and how Star Wars Day is a sure sign of spring sunshine.

And occasionally, people will ask how I choose my topics. And other questions like:

  • How do I remember what happened?
  • What are my techniques for remembering or noticing topics that would be good for the newsletter?
  • How do I know which stories to write and which to leave alone?

So, I’ll answer them and cover how I make notes, use Morning Pages for idea generation (and other things), write lists, choose themes, plus other tools that help me pick topics for my blog, Substack, or newsletter.

By the time you get to the end of this article, hopefully you’ll have more ideas about how to select topics for your articles. Let me know!

Make Notes

Okay, so most writers do make notes anyway.

Anytime something strikes you as significant, write it down.

I use a handy journal, a note-taking app, or even the voice recorder on my phone to keep track of these moments.

Once I’m back at my computer, I’ll pull up those notes and re-read them, taking note of what I found fun, funny, or poignant.

Often, those scribbles and sentence fragments prompt a drift of thoughts that end up in a full essay.

Morning Pages

“Morning Pages” arrived in my life when I started reading Julia Cameron’s work.

The idea is to start each day by writing three pages in a journal.

Write down whatever you think, no judgment, no goal.

The idea is just to get the words down on the page and get your mind into the writing mode.

This practice can serve to get worries or to-do lists out of your head or to allow you to practice whatever writing you want.

Since writing longhand is tough on my aging hands, each work day begins with fifteen minutes of typing anything that pops into my head.

I write affirmations, worries, to-do lists, thoughts about what’s going on with my life.

Sometimes, I’ll just write what happened yesterday. From those notes, I’ll scavenge ideas.


If I’m having a hard time coming up with an idea, creating a list of things that happened to me that week or at an event can prompt a piece. I’ll make a list of numbers on a piece of paper, one through ten.

Then, I go back through my week or event and write down everything that happened. There’s no judgment in this list. “Drank a beer” is equal to “Listened to my wife instruct her mother on how to use Google Maps for directions.”

When I hit a point where I can’t come up with another thing, I’ll challenge myself to come up with another one. Pushing through that point usually unstops the brain and allows several more things to come through.

If nothing comes from that list, sometimes I’ll create a piece that is just a list based on a theme. It might be a list of books I’ve read, movies I love, or small, weird occurrences that populated a day.

People love lists of recommendations (See Austin Kleon’s “Ten Things Worth Sharing” posts), and you can use your own passions and delights to form lists that many readers will thank you for.


Selecting a theme for a few pieces for the newsletter can provide a framework to prompt several stories.

A three-part series told the story of designing and knitting a colorwork sweater for my father for Christmas. Last year, several stories focused on traveling up the East Coast.

Once a month, I write a list of lessons learned during the current month. When you pick a theme, you have an automatic starting point which helps, especially if you’ve been feeling stuck in your writing.

Write a Letter

Some of my most popular pieces are simply letters. I call them “Newsy Notes” and have written them from Pittsburgh, PA, Brattleboro, VT, and my Sick Chair during a recent cold.

Writing a letter about the current happenings in your life or a visit to a new location or a recent adventure of any sort captures your voice and delivers it to your readers. Especially those who know you personally will love reading about your most recent adventures.

Respond to Something

Is there a quote that you love?

Did something happen in the news that bopped you in the funny bone or gave you a visceral reaction?

Does a certain piece of art inspire? 

Write about that!

Your reaction can spawn an amazing piece and, if you’re writing about a timely event, can even draw the attention of others.

Your Turn: So Now What?

After reading that list, can you think of other ways to select stories to write about? Are there ways that have worked for you in the past? If not, what do you imagine might work to select or prompt stories? Comment below and let me know how you do it!



LA BourgeoisLA (as in tra-la-la) Bourgeois is a Kaizen-Muse Certified Creativity Coach and author who helps clients embrace the joy of their creative work and thrive while doing it.

Get more of her creativity ideas and techniques by subscribing to her newsletter at

You may also like...