Discussion: The Art of Discussion Writing

disussion on a bookish topic-01

Without a doubt, I like discussion posts. I mean, I started my book blog writing reviews and I’ll always love reading books and reviewing them, but I love how community can come together over a discussion. Whether it’s a discussion on how to make friends who love books or discussions outlining the differences between zombies and vampires, a discussion post brings people together.

But while it’s easy to participate in a discussion, how do book bloggers come up with their discussion posts?

For me, they come from plenty of places:

  1. Twitter
  2. The world around me.
  3. A bookstore.
  4. My head.
  5. My books.
  6. My friends.
  7. A quote.

Really, an idea for a discussion can come from anywhere! Have you ever sat down to read a book and wondered something to yourself? Maybe something about the genre you’re reading, or something about a situation that seems to happen in a lot of books you read? Or maybe you’re in a bookstore and you’re seeing trends somewhere, or on Twitter where you see an article pop up about some bookish topic that makes you think.

A discussion can come from anywhere!

For me, the best way to keep track of these ideas is to write them down as soon as I think about them. Case in point, the last few days I’ve had a few ideas for discussions and haven’t written them down, which means they’ve flown from my head to someone else’s. I hope they come back to me at some point, but for now I’ll deal with the ones that I’ve written down.Β 

When you write down your idea, you can be simple and write down just a few words, or you can write a few points underneath it so that the idea is somewhat fleshed out when you go to write your post. The more information you give yourself can make it so much easier to write the discussion!

Of course, if you’re still having trouble coming up with discusson ideas, why not try the following:

  1. Brainstorm! Write down an idea on paper and write a word tree from there, writing out words or phrases that come to mind — who knows, you might come up with lots of ideas this way!
  2. Ask your readers. I have a form up on my Discussions page for readers who may have an idea they want me to talk about. No one has submitted anything yet, but it’s nice to know it’s there.
  3. Ask a friend. Seriously — sometimes friends have the best ideas!
  4. Read. There are lots of articles around on various bookish topics — some tame, some controversial. Find the ones that put a spark in you and go from there.

And once you’ve written your discussion post, make sure you ask a question to engage your readers — something to get the conversation going. And always — always! — be sure to give credit where credit is due. If an article is what gave you the idea for your discussion, be sure to link back to the article! If a friend gave you the idea, let your readers know.

How do you write discussion posts? Are you a brainstormer, or a fly-by-your-pants kind of discussion writer? Do you keep a notebook for discussion ideas?Β 



42 thoughts on “Discussion: The Art of Discussion Writing

  1. I like discussion groups but its difficult trying to find the time to do one. There are so many out there. Plus I hate getting all these emails from the discussion threads and I have no time to really respond to them all. Or I find that I’m responding to them all and I spend way too much time doing that. I’m a little old school. I think I would prefer the old fashioned book clubs. I wish I could start one in my area. It would be nice to just get together and share my love of books with others. Thanks for the tips.

  2. Sometimes I feel like I bleed ideas for discussion. They really ARE everywhere. But I don’t always write them down or follow through with them, so I also have a graveyard of discussion ideas. I usually try to word vomit into a post whenever I have the idea. That way I can always come back to it at a later time and develop it or scrap it or start over or whatever.

    • I like that idea. I’ve written discussions like that by making word trees and just writing what comes into my head and then forming a proper discussion. I like to think I can rely on my memory to remember these things, but that never happens!

  3. I keep a memo on my iPhone for when ideas strike. Sometimes it’s just that, an idea, or something I’ve been mulling over (like that ranty one I’m going to do on cover changes and how it makes my inner control freak twitchy). Sometimes I’ll see someone else’s post and that sparks a similar idea. My inspiration comes from all places – sometimes something in a book I read! I love coming up with ideas and seeing what others discuss!

  4. I have such a hard time coming up with discussion ideas. But I definitely want to start doing more of them and this is definitely a blog goal of mine. I know it raises your follower numbers too as it helps people to get to know you better. So these ideas? They help me a lot. Thanks, Kristilyn!

    • Discussions are great for getting to know your followers and vice versa … they can be a lot more personal than a review, that’s for sure. I hope you can do some more of them! πŸ™‚

  5. Great post! I do love discussion posts because it gives me a chance to not only talk about my opinions/thoughts on certain subjects, but it lets me see what others think about it! I don’t think I have a hard time coming up with discussions… unless I’m actively thinking about a discussion topic! I prefer to let random questions and/or topics pop into my head THEN write about them. I usually worry that my discussion posts are all over the place but then again, usually my thoughts about the subject are as well! Sometime I like that I’m all over the place with my opinions though, because then it makes for even better discussion. So glad that you gave us some advice and shared your thought process!

    • I can ramble on in a discussion post, too — sometimes it’s hard to stay on topic! But so long as we all have fun writing them, I don’t see anything wrong with it. It’s always nice to have some obscure topic and see that you’re not alone in your thoughts.

  6. Great post! I’ve been thinking about this lately, and I think I just made my first discussion post today. I *have* been wondering how people always have topics to discuss, but the more I read other blogs, the more ideas I’ve been getting too! Discussions are my favorite part of blogging. πŸ˜€

    • I love discussions, too! They’re great for opening up dialogue with your followers. And ideas can come from anywhere — the point is to write them down when you get them! It can be hard to remember all the ideas!

  7. My ideas normally just pop into my head. Usually I’ve seen them before though and just can’t remember where. There are so many things that you can talk about, I really like this topic! I never thought of some of the places ideas can come from.

    I do write them down when I think of them though, or I’ll forget all about them!

    • Exactly. There are so many places ideas can come from that sometimes they’re like universal ideas — like what looks good on blogs, or how a sidebar should look — but then there are ideas that are so unique that I find my discussion is more of a response to their discussion and credit must be given.

  8. I like the idea of keeping track of ideas when I think of them… I need to do that more often, because I struggle with making time to write discussion posts… and when I do have the time, I often forget the ideas I had for them. So I definitely need to start keeping track of just random ideas and going with them instead of sitting on ideas for forever.

    • YES. This happens to me often. Or I’ll say, “Oh, I’ll remember this — I don’t need to write it down.” And then I’m left struggling to remember the awesome idea I had. I hope we can both do more of this!

  9. Ah yes! I LOVE discussion posts. Even though I don’t have many visitors or followers on my blog, I don’t let that discourage me because if I can just get one person to share their thoughts with me on a book related topic – I’m happy!

    I actually use OneNote on my laptop to keep track of everything on my blog. If I have an idea for a discussion, I have a page for that. If I stumble across something I’d like to share, I have a page for that as well. It definitely helps when getting ready to write because those thoughts quickly disappear from your mind otherwise.

    The one thing you suggest, that I don’t always do, is to state where your idea came from. I think that’s really smart and something I need to pay more attention to. Anything can spark an idea for discussion in my mind, but it might be helpful for readers to know what it is. So thanks for that suggestion, I’ll have to put it to use!

    • You can’t let a follower number discourage you! I write my discussion posts because they interest me and if someone else is interested in them, then that’s awesome!

      I’ve never used OneNote before … I usually keep a notebook for ideas and a pad by the computer to jot things down. I also love Pocket for bookmarking certain things I’d like to come back to.

      And yes! If you’re “borrowing” an idea from someone, always, always say where you got the idea from. (Like on my post today!)

      I’m glad this helped!

  10. Thanks for your post on my discussion post! Such funny timing!
    I struggle with discussion posts sometimes. Often I’ll take on a topic that’s too large and end up posting something so long that I have to break it up into multiple posts, so as not to scare away my “discussors”

    I was so excited when I stumbled on Jessie’s blog, and found HER post. I begged her to come and do a guest post on mine. So happy I did — so much lively discussion and opinions on YA Romance — it’s great!
    So that’s another source of inspiration I guess: other people’s blog

    I also have to laugh, because literally when I saw your comment I had another browser tab open with a summary of “For the Darkness Shows …” and was thinking *hmm this sounds like something I might like* haha – the universe aligns again! Now I MUST buy it!

    • There are so many places you can find discussion topics and sometimes it’s fun to have another blogger over to guest post a discussion topic! I’ll have to remember that. πŸ™‚

      And yes, you MUST buy For Darkness Shows the Stars … it’s AMAZING!

  11. When you think about it, it’s actually pretty easy to sit down and come up with a list of general discussion posts. The thing I want to get into more is the specific – discussions about certain books or tropes in books etc. etc. I tend toward the blogging/community OR the really frivolous book discussions, and I’d love to get into the more academic stuff, you know? I really should host a read-along or something for that though – it’s hard to get a good discussion going when not everyone has read what you’re discussing!

    • It really is! Though whenever I sit down to think of a discussion, my mind goes blank. I have general topics come to mind plenty of times during the week, but I really need to get in the habit of writing them down.

      I think a read-along would be great for a more academic discussion!

  12. I am pretty terrible at this art form and I want nothing more than to have great discussions on the blog about books and things. I think I have a few roaming around in my brain, but when I get inspired to write, it’s at a time that I’m not able to, and then the motivation gets lost. Boo. I need to remember to write ideas down more, too. I’m just not as creative with words, I think…

    • You really do have to find the motivation for writing a discussion — I agree! And I find that I can have ideas floating around, but really have to make an effort to write them down. It’s a habit that should be formed!

  13. Love this post! One of my goals this year is to start having more discussion posts. I feel so constantly behind because I can’t read quick enough to post reviews daily/every other day. Having discussion posts would really help that I think.

    • That’s why I like having other features on my blog, because even though I read a lot, I wouldn’t read enough to post a full week of reviews. AND having other features can break the monotony of reviews and allows the readers of your blog to get to know you a little more.

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  19. I have a list of discussion topics I want to do, but a lot of the times I’ll encounter something during the week that’ll totally change my trajectory. Usually it’s based on something that happens on Twitter (ie where most of my bookish chatter takes place) but it can come from wherever else, as well. So basically I try to be organized about it, but a lot of the times it’s just like THIS IS HOW I’M FEELING, so I’ll word vomit into an email draft or a word doc and sort out the rest later, y’know? But that’s kind of how I wrote essays in school. I would have a schedule and a plan but inevitably that would go to hell and I’d end up writing the whole thing on a random night from 11pm-3am through random inspiration. It’s almost like the words won’t come to me unless I’m not forcing myself to do it. Of course, a lot of the times deadlines pushed me, but yeah. As OCD as I can sometimes be in real life, I tend to info dump a lot…

    • Hey, nothing wrong with word vomit! Sometimes it’s a great way to just get all your thoughts out there so you can find the points you want to make. Kind of like writing a story — get it ALL OUT and then go back and edit.

  20. Sorry, I kind of giggled at the thought about a discussion post about discussion posts. πŸ™‚ I really like this post though! I think that since I started vlogging and everything, I can do discussions through vlogs as well. I must be weird because I’m not feeling the awkwardness of talking to a camera even though I’ve only filmed 3 times.

  21. Great post, doll! We even have a form on each of our discussion posts where people can leave ideas and such. Twitter is always the best place though especially if you’re looking to discuss on current events. No better way to get the news on the latest blog drama than twitter! >.<

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My home is where my books are. - Ellen Thompson

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