A few years ago, I established myself as a health and fitness writer, based on my long-time interest in nutrition and bodybuilding. I was brimming with ideas and couldn’t wait to start my workday. But after awhile, it seemed as if I’d said everything there was to say about sets and reps and tasty low-cal meals. I’d hit a wall and had no idea how to scale it.

Thanks to my obsession with making lists, however, I stumbled upon a concept I call “finding shades of gray.” We think of gray as a singularity, when in fact the color is full of subtle diversity. Just visit the paint department in your local home improvement store and explore the color cards to see what I mean.

There is nothing singular about the color gray, nor in the world of web content writing. As I was mulling over this approach to developing new ideas on an old subject, I pulled out one of my articles on low-cal meals – a clone of the previous half-dozen I’d written – and made a list of subtle changes I could make in the focus of the article. I imagined a dinner plate holding the meal I’d described and let the image change in my mind. From “Easy Ways to Get More Grains” to “Why You Need Carbs to Lose Weight” to “High Protein Alternatives to Chicken Breast” to “Spice Up Tired Recipes with Herbs”, I filled two sides of a sheet of paper with new approaches to an old topic.

If you’ve reached a point in the life of your blog or website that feels as if there is nowhere left to go, the “shades of gray” approach might breathe new life into your web content. Take any article from your archives, write or type the title at the top of the sheet, and call to mind an image that illustrates the topic. Then imagine just one aspect of the image changing. How does this affect the way you would treat the subject next time you write about it? Make a list with every idea that comes to you, without censoring. The creative mind works best when it’s given free reign.

Another way to use the “shades of gray” approach is to watch people engaged in the subject you write about. Brand new weight lifters, for example, focus on learning how to perform exercises properly. They all worry about getting results, avoiding injury, and trying not to look silly during the learning curve. (I know this from my own early days in the sport when I felt ridiculous performing squats. :-) ) More experienced lifters, by contrast, have a degree of competence and focus on improving their technique and results. Writing web content from a number of perspectives will give your blog or website a rich range of shades, increasing the appeal to visitors from all levels of experience.