31DBBB Day 13: Take a Trip to the Mall and Improve Your Blog
This is Day 13 of 31 Days to Build a Better Blog, a group project 60+ of us bloggers are doing together in an effort to help each other become better bloggers.
Today’s assignment is to discover different ways to derive inspiration. As I read the assignment I found myself cringing a bit as it looked like I was going to add something more to my plate (as if most of us don’t have enough already). Then I began to realize it wasn’t adding anything at all but rather forcing me to get things done.
Take the Time
As I thought about the idea of pushing myself away from my computer and going to the mall it became apparent I was going to have to leave the house. Not something I really like doing (at least going to the mall part). But I decided, begrudgingly, to follow the suggestion to see what would happen.
As I entered the mall I began making my observations and it suddenly became interesting. I saw the people, the businesses, the advertisements and the structures differently. I started asking myself some questions. Who are these people? Why are they here? What attracts them to such a crowded space? I started to see people rushing by but I could sense they each had a purpose and a direction. Each store was intentionally designed to reach a certain people group. They used colours, displays and other attractions to grab these people’s attention. It was interesting how the mall itself was laid out to make it easier for people to find their particular niche store.
I accumulated a large amount of data in a very short amount of time. So, I sat down in one of the chairs and began to record what I had observed. I even took time to ask myself some more questions and reflect on the answers. By the time I was done I could sense I was ready to write this post.
Prepare yourself with the right attitude. Keep in mind this is something that will make you a better blogger. Also equip yourself with some tools to help keep you on track. A standard pen and paper is a start. However, I also found that I would like to take along some tech tools to help me. These could include: an ipod or iphone, a notebook, a digital camera, a digital recorder or other tool that would help record my thoughts.
Review the Process
Go – somewhere and intentionally make it interesting for yourself. In order to refuel and get some addition insight I found I need to get out and go to the mall, the library, the park, the sports arena, the amusement park or some other place of interest.
Observe – the things that are happening all around us. Many bloggers are already keenly observant. But this skill needs to be continually worked on or it becomes dull.
Question – like a child. Asking questions can be difficult but it is the way Jesus got His disciples to discover things for themselves.
Who? – Who is at the mall?
What? – What are they buying?
Why? – Why do the stores use certain colours?
When? – When do the stores see the most activity?
Where? – Where are the displays put for the various stores?
How? – How do the malls direct traffic?
Record – your observations so that you can take time later to go over what you have heard, seen, felt, smelt and touched.
Reflect – on what is going on around you as often as possible. I have found that I need to intentionally make the time for quiet reflection in order to bring together and make sense of all the experiences I have in a day.
Share – what you learned with others. Blogging is often just answering questions that you or someone else may have asked.
- Where are some of the places you find you are most inspired?
- What are some practical ways you gain inspiration?
- Post a link to a post you have written with a comment telling what inspired you to write the post.
The Extra Mile
A few other things you can do to take your blog, other bloggers, and this project even further today…
- Reply & give other bloggers feedback on the little things they do.
- When other bloggers include a link to a new article they’ve posted today, click, read, and comment on it.
- Check previous posts in the series for new comments.
- Tweet, share, & bookmark this post.
- Please review Seiji Yamashita’s blog, The Ignition Point, and give him some feedback.
Rob Ross is the coordinator for Oikos Ministries (a network of organic churches). He is a disciple of Jesus (Making Disciples) who lives in Calgary, AB with his family. Connect with Rob on Facebook or Twitter.