Dietitians who write- whether continuously as an entrepreneur or less frequently for their full-time job – can suffer alike from the all-too-common Writer’s Block. Although nutrition is a broad and continuously evolving field, producing new materials for consumers and clients can get challenging.
Part of the difficulty lies in not only writing something of interest to your audience (which may be a niche subset of the population), but also effectively communicating the science in a way they can understand it and want to read it. Additionally, some of you may have a word count to meet, while others are shooting for improved SEO. Either way, you need to find a topic you can write on to fit space requirements while still sounding natural. Depending on audience, expertise, and criteria, the pool of topics to choose from may feel rather shallow.
Don’t worry. Although you may feel limited or have just run out of creative ideas, there are many sources out there that can spark inspiration. Remember, topics don’t need to be completely unique- but your spin on them can be; there are studies being published daily that you can quote to provide the most up-to-date data on what seems like an otherwise stale topic.
Below are 10 sources of inspiration for your 2020 nutrition blogs, newsletters, and podcasts.
With Christmas and New Year’s just passing, holidays are at top of mind. We saw countless materials on weight maintenance, mindful eating, and resolutions over the holidays. Yet these are still hot topics for the general population each year.
However, these can only get you through November-January. The rest of the year I encourage you to fit your nutrition writing into more unique holidays. Luckily for dietitians, we can write on the over 300 food holidays that have been successfully lobbied on to the US calendar. Whether it’s National Guacamole Day on Sept. 16, Strawberry Month in May, Pie Day on January 23, or Donut Day on the first Friday of June, you can draw from these foodie celebrations all year long.
We’ve also got some major health-related observances on the calendar. February is National Heart Month, while National Diabetes Month appears in November. Alzheimer’s has days (June 20 & Sept. 21) and a month (November) on the books. Don’t forget our very own National Nutrition Month in March!
If concentrating on holidays feels a little too bubblegum and you prefer more science-based writing, consider drawing ideas from your subscription services. Thousands of health-related articles are published each week and many are selected based on interest to the public. So go ahead and find one that you think your audience would be interested in and add to the topic with your own research and experience. You might include a poll, statistics, photos, anecdotes, or links for readers to learn more. Here are some sources that frequently pique my interest:
If you haven’t subscribed yet to SmartBrief’s Nutrition & Dietetics daily brief, this is where you should get started. Each morning you’ll receive an email with about 10 nutrition stories each summarized into 2-3 sentences. You can click the attached link to read the full article. Over 90,000 nutrition professionals subscribe to get updated on what’s new in the dietetics field. They also offer a brief on School Nutrition Association (SNA) and culinary professionals. This is a gold mine for writing inspiration. Subscribe here.
As an Academy member, at the very least you should receive the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ monthly email. Though not as concise as SmartBrief, JAND offers the latest findings in nutrition research from your peers. As dietitians, it’s our job to translate this science into understandable and usable information for our clients.
Institute of Food Technologists’ IFTNEXT is a lesser known publication among RDs, but has some of the most interesting snippets on food technology research throughout the world. They’ve already done the job of re-writing the research so the lay public can understand it, but they really only scratch the surface with their short articles. From pieces on potentially reducing schizophrenic symptoms through broccoli intake, to advancements in food storage and reductions in food waste, the free IFTNEXT subscription describes cutting edge food research that can trigger new subjects of interest for your blogs.
Active & other sports newsletters
Active is a digital newsletter geared toward runners. I don’t run, but the titles of their articles pique my curiosity every month. They produce pieces on fitness for athletes and non-athletes, as well as nutrition. They are a great source to not only find new themes for your writing or podcast, but also learn how to title your work to draw people in.
If you attended FNCE, you know there are dozens of interesting nutrition topics out there that whole sessions are presented on. Go back to the FNCE sessions recordings (prices will zero out once in your cart) to remind yourself of some of the sessions you attended, wanted to attend, or just sound like a good fit for your readers. The Academy will likely have additional information on these topics on their site or in their journal.
Although we may not miss school, it is where we learned our trade. You may consider going back through your nutrition notes from school days and remind yourself what was interesting, how it was explained to help you understand the material, and what new information has been revealed about certain areas of dietetics.
Social media & news
One of the reasons I wanted to become a dietitian was due to the confusion created by the media about what to eat and what not to eat. Every week there is another national news story about a study that suggests a specific food will either save our lives, or subject us to doom and suffering. And then there are the fad diets that light up social media and make RDs cringe. We may not like what’s being said, but if we listen, RDs can recognize these misleading media conversations are opportunities for us to write about the facts. If you enjoy spending time on social media, watching Good Morning America, or reading the newspaper, these are the perfect places to find the subject of your next blog.
Conversations with family, friends, & clients
Just like with social media, we have friends, family, and clients who are either misinformed or seeking education on nutrition. Try to recall the conversations you’ve had or overheard that are worthy of sharing with others. Chances are that if people in your circle have questions, your readership does, too.
Finally, you may choose to do an occasional food (or food-related product) review to fill in the dead air on your podcast or white space in your newsletter. It can be a single product geared toward your audience, a ranking of comparable products, or a round-up of foods that fit into a similar category. Ideas may come from Food & Nutrition Magazine’s product reviews, scouring the internet, or walking into a health food store.
I hope this list of sources alleviates your next bout of Writer’s Block. When you do get something down on paper, feel free to send it over for a quick proofread or edit. I’m now offering proofreading to RDs, healthcare professionals, and dietetic students for $25/hour with turn around as soon as 24 hours. I can also provide a quote for more involved editing services. Visit my website: Edible Edits for more information.