The Origins of My “50 Reasons” Blog Posts

An overhead shot of a writing desk, containing a pen, a pad of paper and a cup of coffee. Those who follow my blog regularly may have noticed that some of my blog posts have had titles starting with the number “50” and contained a list of fifty thoughts on a given topic.

For example, you might have read:

50 Reasons Why I Love Baking;
50 Reasons Why I Love Writing;
50 Reasons Why I Enjoy Running;
50 Reasons to Love Travel;
50 Reasons to Love Music;
50 Reasons to Love a Good Book;

How did this series of posts start?

There are some mornings when despite the best of intentions, I might be having a hard time getting into the flow of writing. When that happens, getting into a wrestling match with words before the coffee has properly kicked in sometimes feels like I am setting myself up for a struggle.

Starting with a more gentle writing activity where ideas can flow freely is one way that I can offset that struggle. Once the creative energy is flowing and momentum is building, I can then tackle more challenging writing tasks.

Coming up with fifty ideas on a given theme was the challenge I presented to myself to get the creative juices flowing.

The writing prompt started out as just a warm-up exercise for myself, to engage the brain in a one-person brainstorming session. But over time, the prompt turned into so much more.

The acting world provided nuggets of inspiration for this practice. One method used in rehearsals by some directors is to ask the actors to repeat the same line over and over, with different inflections, different emotions and different intensity, just to try things out. With a variety of options to choose from, the director can then select the one that works best for the interpretation they want to provide to the masterpiece.

To me, “50 Reasons” is a similar exercise for the writer in me, not only for the production of blog posts but also for fiction projects. Rather than establishing just one way forward in a situation, with a variety of options to choose from whether serious, funny, heart-warming, emotional, imaginative, or combinations thereof, a story can take interesting twists and turns.

After drafting my first few “50 Reasons” lists, I actually enjoyed the roller coaster ride, not only as a writer but as a reader as well. As an experiment, I tried posting a few on the blog just to see the reaction. I was delighted to see that the posts created a favourable buzz in terms of likes and page hits (…which they continue to generate, months or years after their initial posting).

When that happened, new ideas for the “50 Reasons” lists started formulating in my head even when I was away from my writing studio. Sometimes, ideas would hit me while stuck in traffic. Sometimes it happened while waiting in line somewhere.

Why fifty?

I can’t say that the number fifty was inspired or informed by anything in particular. What I did notice over time was that writing fifty ideas on any given theme can start to get challenging around number twenty-five. At that point, the mind needs to get a little more creative and to work a little harder, which can translate into some pretty interesting ideas.

Also, it generally takes a few writing sessions to generate fifty ideas. Sometimes it might take an extra five or ten ideas to have the freedom to edit some out, because inevitably, some of the first reasons to make it to the draft might be pure garbage. I am fine with that as I accept that this is part of the creative process.

The “50 Reasons” prompt was attractive to me in the sense that it allowed me to stretch my imagination and to probe a little deeper into a given topic. This strikes me as a skill that will come in handy when I am actively writing fiction.

Social Media Acceptance

I understand that lists are quite popular on social media. I assume that because bulleted or numbered lists are easier to scan through than content in paragraph form, lists lend themselves to a fast and efficient reading experience.

If that is the case, then I am more than happy to keep using the “50 Reasons” prompt not only as a work tool for my own development as a writer, but also in the generation of fun and enjoyable blog posts for you, my readers.

As always, I thank you for your generous encouragement!

Did you enjoy this post? If you did, your likes and shares are most appreciated.
If you haven’t already, please check out the rest of my blog at andrebegin.blog. From there, you can click on the “Follow” button to receive future posts directly in your inbox.
Sincere thanks for reading!
Have a great day,
André

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