Blogging is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration. 10% of the time, you're inspired to write about something. The other 90% you're sweating over the fact that you haven't got a clue what to say. It's no wonder most blogs fizzle and die after the first few posts.

Finding sources of inspiration is one of the grand keys to maintaining an active blog. The other day, I discovered* a source I hadn't heard of before: Amazon's list of the most commonly highlighted passages in Kindle books. (* Andrew Hansen tweeted Ruud Hein's blog post about it -- thanks for the inspiration for this blog post, guys!)

What's so great about knowing what people are highlighting? It tells you what other people think is interesting. Blog about it, and you've increased your chances of talking about something people are searching for and want to read.

Now knowing what the most popular highlights are is all find and good. But what if you're in the fitness niche and the most popular highlights don't say anything about fitness? Sure, it's a popular topic, but it's not going to hit the top of the list often.

Your out of luck, right?

Nope. Amazon has made the data searchable, so you can find the most popular highlights for virtually any topic!

What would really make this resource great would be if Amazon offered RSS feeds to enable us track the latest search results. That way we could keep on top of the hottest highlights without having to visit the site and repeat our searches all the time.

(I was going to make a scraper plugin for Grouper to do that, but it would violate Amazon's terms of use for the site. Too bad!)

Imagine what you could do with that data as an Amazon affiliate -- subscribe to the hot highlights for your niche. Then when something new hits the list, not only would you know what book to blog about and promote, but you'd know which passages to quote to get people interested in buying!

Reader Comment:
Antone Roundy said:
Thanks for the comment and feedback, Jeremy. I definitely agree that doing work you enjoy is, if not essential to quality of life, at least a great privilege. I'm grateful for the people who do the work that society needs, but that would be soul-s...
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Do you struggle to come up with things to blog about? Where do you find inspiration? Post a comment and share your insights on the subject.