Finding an idea to write an article on can be hard work. For one thing, there are so many subjects to write about: politics, religion, love, friends, family, nature, and more. Once you find a topic, the hunt for a more specific idea seems simpler. However, if finding an article idea is still too much, writing a "how-to" article can be a great way to combat writer's block. Sometimes I even approach the start of class assignments as if I am writing a how-to article. Doing so helps me organize my ideas in a way that will support my thesis. The how-to article is a great general outline for any writing assignment because it forces you not only to define your claim but to then explain it in simple terms of how.
When writing a how-to, you must first choose what needs to be explained and answer questions like "Who is the audience for this piece?" Figuring out these questions will not only create an even more narrow idea of the article's topic but will help you to cater your writing to the chosen audience.
After the topic and target audience have been chosen, figure out a few of the most important things in your topic to point out. For example, if you are talking about creating a garden, what are the most important aspects of this? Color scheme? Soil types? Weather conditions? Season? This will allow the reader to be able to find the most pertinent information. Otherwise, the article can feel like digging through a textbook.
After this, simply follow your outline of key ideas and explain why they are necessary for your topic! How-to articles can lead to a great final product or act as a brainstorming session that will lead to a more immersive topic idea. They are highly beneficial for any writing assignment you may be having difficulty starting, or even if you are struggling to get past a thesis statement. Thinking of things in terms of "how to" definitely boosts ideas and concepts that can further develop an article or paper, or it may just turn into an article on how to do something specific!