100 Questions To Ask All Struggling Writers

DISCLAIMER: These articles were originally posted on Odyssey in January 20th, May 12th, and July 25th.

Since this article marks an entire year that I have spent writing for Odyssey, I will say that I never ran out of ideas. I have found that I myself have answered some of these questions during the process of writing this listicle. Either I answered my own questions, or I already had the answers before they inspired the questions.

The point of these questions, as mentioned in the sub-headline of my first series of questions, is that ideas are not always internal, rather they are everywhere and can be materialized into written form in a wide variety of ways.

1. Where do you see yourself years from now?

This is the typical job interview question which you can ask in article form.

2. If you could take a magic carpet ride, where would you go?

You might either go to the Isle of Man or, as referenced in the headline picture, the top of the Roraima mountains.

3. What do you look forward to in a mate?

This can have to do with physical looks or personality.

4. If your life changed, what would be your alternative plans?

Perhaps you thought of a Plan B in case anything happened.

5. Is there an issue where you see hypocrisy?

Perhaps it is a political issue or a favorite TV show.

6. Is there something that can only be explained in poetry form?

How else would you use grandiloquent, elaborate words?

7. What have you written in your notes?

It would either be a hint as to what you should write your article about or it might be about the article you planned to write.

8. What would you name your own children?

Maybe you wanted to name them after the people who made a significant impact in your life. Maybe you might name in your native language if you are member of the indigenous community.

9. What movie/TV series/book did you watch/read as a child that you would like to introduce your own children to?

It might even be a birthday present.

10. Have you written articles that have “who,” “what,” “where,” “when,” “how,” and “why” in the titles?

This may cause you to think about how to write out your headline title.

11. If you were to pursue an independent study course in your university, what would be the subject?

It would have to be a subject that is not available in the courses and yet is something you want to explore in-depth.

12. What would your one YouTube video be about?

Or if Odyssey Video actually becomes a thing, you could start off with a video you put a lot of faith into.

13. Have you wanted to satirize something?

Perhaps you have the need to turn typical tropes, customs, or character traits on their heads.

14. Is there an upcoming holiday?

This does not always have to be your favorite holiday, rather just a day in a year that can be examined.

15. What are your experiences in work and education?

In my case, I was an editor for the literary magazines of the colleges I attended.

16. How much do you know about your own identity?

This could involve your birthplace, ancestry, culture, or heritage. You do not always have to insert yourself in the articles, but you can make analyses through personally driven articles.

17. What songs would you put in a playlist for what purpose?

I have done the same in my articles about amazement and sadness.

18. If you could ask yourself more than one of these questions, what would be the same answer that ties them together?

This would help you in more ways than merely asking questions.

19. If there was one thing you could change about Odyssey, what would it be?

Although there has been major changes to Muse, that does not mean that there are no more problems.

20. Is there an embarrassing fact about yourself that you would like to share?

Maybe the article will get it off your chest.

21. Which props would you use for a photo for a headline picture?

Whatever would make your cover stand out.

22. If you could rename [blank], what would it be called?

In my university, there was debate whether to change the name of an administrative building.

23. What is one of your biggest virtues?

This is one of the questions from the Proust Questionnaire.

24. If your name is the same as many other people, what makes you different?

Story of my life.

25. What skills/interests did you bring to your university/workplace?

It might be an interesting way to share tips that are employable.

26. What languages do you have proficiency in?

You might use some words and explain how you learned them.

27. What number would you consider important when writing a listicle?

It could be 11 or 50.

28. Where would you like to work/intern?

This would make you think more about your future career path.

29. What are your favorite colors?

Notice I wrote color in its plural form. This is the type of question that would get you to think of both an article topic and a basic color scheme for your headline picture.

30. Have you ever hyperlinked your previous articles on your new articles?

This was always a habit of mine and can be traced back to #15, considering how the article you are linking inspired your new article.

31. Have you ever looked at the “Acknowledgements” page of your favorite book?

The author would not have written the book without the help of editors and family members.

32. What do you find unreachable?

This could include an ambition you once had.

33. Is there a serious topic you want to discuss?

Perhaps it would act as a catharsis.

34. What are the indigenous nations in your state?

In my case, I researched the Lenape. It would not only help you write a topic and give the indigenous community modern relevance, but Odyssey might piqued any interest from the reservations.

35. Do you have any home remedies?

If it helped you, it might help everyone else.

36. Have you surveyed a group of people the same question?

I see articles like this on Odyssey that have the headline “I Asked [Blank Demographic] About [Blank Topic] And These Are What They Said.”

37. If you had one million dollars, what would you spend it on?

This is a million dollar question (no pun intended) that we were all asked at one point.

38. Have you written an article for every Category?

This includes 500 words and Listicles.

39. Is there a mystery that you cannot put a name on, but would still like to explore it?

There are some mysteries out there that make us seem small, so small we cannot even put a name on it. For example, I do not know what the font in this picture is called and yet I see it everywhere.

40. Do you have access to academic databases?

These include Academic Search Premier and JSTOR. Or if you just use Google Scholar.

41. Have you looked through search engine results but found a topic you found more interesting than the originally typed-in topic?

It usually happens to me when searching for a cover photo.

42. For your thesis, what subjects do you plan to research on?

This may help you when you are not sure if you should pursue it.

43. Or a thesis topic you originally intended to write about?

You do not want all that research to be in vain.

44. Which demographic would you be an ally of?

Based on the articles I wrote, I would choose the indigenous population, but it is not out of some SJW agenda, but rather as a means of academic exploration and personal interest (and the fact that indigenous people are intrinsically tied to their land).

45. What over-the-top topic can you think of?

It could break the ordinary article ideas that typically are found throughout Odyssey.

46. How do you get out of boredom?

The topic itself might break your writer’s block.

47. What food would you like to recommend eating?

Perhaps it is for health or just enjoyment.

48. What different topics can you juxtapose into a new one?

This is definitely what makes topic articles unique. It certainly enriched my article portfolio and helped me to never have writer’s block on Odyssey.

49. What is the longest headline title you found on Odyssey?

This one is a candidate for me, but I would recommend making a headline title that does not look like one combined with a sub-headline and the first lines of your article; especially if you want it approved by your editor.

50. What are some of the most interesting metaphorical words or phrases you can come up with?

This may seem useless, but remember that all of us use metaphors all the time in order to magnify the significance of anything we talk about. In fact, my own titles have metaphors, such as using the name of a Roman sea god as an adjective, the use of “consumption” to refer to an addiction, and the phrase “love-hate relationship.”

51. Have you wanted to write a direct letter to anyone?

It is pretty much the norm to write articles like this on The Odyssey Online, specifically when they begin with “To…” and follow that with whoever they are addressing. I have done the same for humorous and more personal purposes.

52. Have you already had articles written prior to writing for Odyssey?

You may have wanted to share them but never found the opportunity prior to signing up to write for The Odyssey Online. You may have even planned to write a blog but never got around to doing it but already had possible posts written. Originally I wanted to post my critique of the pre-Disney Star Wars film series and my literary review of “Heart of Darkness” on my blog “Abandoning Old Gods” before I decided to post them on The Odyssey Online.

53. What is popular right now?

This should be a fairly simple question since you can always look at The Odyssey Online homepage to see the “Popular on Odyssey” section.

54. If there was an Odyssey article that fascinated/enraged you, would you respond to it?

You would have to have the emotional attachment to the issue that an article was discussing that caused you to respond in some way.

55. Who do you aspire to be like?

This could include anyone in your personal life or a famous person.

56. What was your favorite class lesson?

It may have caused you to think differently about the subject that it was teaching.

57. Have you tried writing an article for experimental purposes?

You may have wanted to go beyond just the ordinary article and decided to play with the conventions of article-writing. You never know. You might end up with a list of article ideas and you might end up changing them from statements into questions.

58. Was there a place that you went to?

Whether it has to do with a national landmark, a park, or a different country.

59. If you could direct a movie based on history or classic literature, and star on “Game of Thrones” as actor/actress and the main lead, what would the movie be?

This one is not as generalized as my other questions, but I have thought of writing an article like this. I have noticed that even before “Game of Thrones” was aired that there were actors/actresses who starred in movies that closely resembled “Game of Thrones,” whether it is Sean Bean, Liam Cunningham, Michelle Fairley, Lena Headley, Kit Harington, etc.

60. Have you looked at other Odyssey writers’ article idea suggestion lists?

This is sort of a contradiction from the purpose of making an article like this, by not offering article ideas, but questions that lead to article ideas being created independently. However, I have written an article based on one of these types of article idea suggestion listicles with a unique stance.

61. If you cannot find the right headline picture for your article from a free stock photo website, where else would you choose your picture?

There are ways of deciding where to find headline pictures outside of a free stock photo website.

62. Have you tried anything new?

In my case, I tried two Udemy online courses and wrote my reflection on them.

63. Do you have a creative fiction short story that you have no ambitions to expand?

If you have no plans to submit to a literary magazine, it might have a place on The Odyssey Online.

64. What is your biggest wish?

Speaking of the headline picture, it would be interesting what your highest aspiration you would place within a coin to be dropped into a wishing well.

65. Have you used an idea generator?

Although it said six, I decided to make it seven videos I wrote about. It is entirely your choice of what to make with an idea generator, which not only include Portent but also Hubspot and Inbound.

66. What [blank] made you so amazed, it shattered your preconceived idea of its [blank group]?

This could be a scientific article that made you think twice about your disinterest in science as a subject or a song from a music genre you do not particularly like.

67. Is there anyone you would like to interview?

This may include someone you know who has a fascinating lifestyle.

68. Can you explain any form of action, life stage, or event using your favorite movie/TV series as a recurring example?

I definitely find a lot of these on The Odyssey Online, with articles containing the phrase “…explained by…” or “…as told by…

69. Why should anyone care about your favorite movie/TV series/book?

You may hold it to heart, but it is up to you to convince everyone else to feel the same way that you do.

70. Who would you want to give a shout-out to?

You may take advantage of The Odyssey Online in order to give a voice to artists, designers, photographers, writers, musicians or anyone who does independent work.

71. You think you could write an article about each of all of the Category Sections?

There are category sections within the Muse dashboard, ranging from Dating to Lifestyles and Sports.

72. Are there any stereotypes, propaganda, or any general use of misinformation you would like to disprove?

I set out to clarify Irish indentured servitude as different from African slavery and the Gullah language as not broken English.

73. What theories do you have?

There might be an issue that you would like to discuss while backing up your argument with evidence.

74. If there is an article with a question as a headline, have you wanted to answer it?

This question is merely Question #20 in my previous questions article in reverse. I did the same when looking into colonization of Titan.

75. Which side would you take on a particular issue or interest?

This can have to do with politics or any other issue.

76. What is one of your childhood memories?

For me, it was probably what a lot of other Millennials can relate to, which is riding in my parents’ truck, listening to classic rock on the radio. This inspired me to write my article about some of the more saddening songs.

77. What does this hashtag mean?

Whether it is #OwnVoices or any other hashtag, it would be worth examining the meaning behind it and who uses it.

78. Can you share some quotes by famous people in history?

They could be used in your sub-headline or be the entire focus of an article.

79. Have you wanted to write an article based on the picture you wanted to use for its headline?

They say a picture is worth a thousand words and perhaps they are right.

80. What has been occupying your mind every single day?

This nagging thought may be an article waiting to be written.

81. What is relevant right now?

This could involve any round-the-clock news or your area of interest.

82. Why do you write?

One of my articles attempts to answer this question and is even named after it. Of course I needed to have a unique slug and metadata title. You would also know that it is my article when the headline picture consists of Jon Snow finally coming to the realization that he really does know nothing.

83. What makes life worth living?

This may not always have to be your favorite dessert dish, rather it may be a topic that would require serious introspection. This question and the previous question could provide the same answer.

84. If you are pursing a college major, what have you learned from it?

Since I am an English major, I wrote about how analysis is an important skill. It does not just have to answer what you learned from the curriculum, but how your worldview was shaped by it.

85. What makes you mad?

This is a fairly easy topic to write about and does not need any explanation.

86. How can you identify a major problem in your life?

In an article like that, you could write about how to pinpoint it and how to remedy it. The answer may include confronting any mistakes you made or regrets you have.

87. Do you have any unique experiences?

I chatted with one of my Group members about how her experience from brain surgery, to going to a Ravens game was an article in of itself.

88. What topics haven’t you written about?

Before I wrote about an article about sexual health, I wrote mainly about linguistics, film, and literature.

89. What film/book/ character(s) fascinates/irritates you?

These topics provide an incredibly important part of popular culture as well as attract possible readers who might be searching for what piece of media fascinates or irritates them. This was what made me write about my overall experience reading the “Song of Ice and Fire” series, as well as a character whose psychology fascinated me.

90. Are there any articles or videos you enjoy that can be hyperlinked?

A YouTube video of an Irish Gaelic translation of Avicii’s “Wake Me Up” inspired me to write my first article for Odyssey Online.

91. How attractive is your article to a future employer?

Always remember that your article could catch his attention if it is resume-friendly.

92. If not, how can you MAKE it so?

What argumentation are you trying to make and why is that? Even if it is a ranting article, how can you convince the reader to agree with you? What kind of perspective are you taking?

93. What topics can you think of when looking at the headline picture?

Perhaps you thought of traveling to Roraima?

94. Can a detail in an article you already wrote and published be expanded into its own article?

This was where I gained the inspiration to write about the link between consumption of pornography and misogyny, since an article I wrote dealing with pornography addiction mentioned that briefly. This answer may require more introspection and writing down many possible titles based on that single topic.

95. If you could co-author an article with someone in your group, what would be the topic?

Whether you share the same topic ideas or differ, what really matters is how much you can incorporate collaboration into your portfolio.

96. What is a topic that you think is rarely discussed?

In my case, I feel like people confine endangered languages into some National Geographic special and not as a daily reality for a lot of people in this world.

97. What articles can you write to cover an entire month of deadlines?

Not only is this a way of keeping up with the deadlines, but it may help when you are struggling to conjure any more topics or you’re preparing for an elaborately long article that might consume an entire month’s worth of research.

98. What “how-to…” tips do you have?

This article could involve instructions that are either simple or complicated.

99. And most importantly, what kind of questions do YOU want to ask any readers?

The articles you write might be the answers to your own questions. You could even make your questions into the headline titles, just like I did when pondering whether Pocahontas’ language could have new speakers or engaging the reader’s curiosity of a location they may not be aware existed.

100. Have you thought of putting all of these questions into strips of paper, putting them into a closeable jar, shaking them, and randomly selecting one out of 99?

If you are struggling to write any of these topics, you could just randomly pick one.

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