Never Run Out Of Ideas – Destroy Blogger Block/ September 1, 2014
New bloggers are often concerned about keeping up with their blog, and posting new content regularly is a major challenge in the blogging industry.
Most bloggers post inconsistently, sometimes going for months without generating any new content at all…and even those that don’t completely stop posting will often publish 3 articles this week, 1 next, 5 the week after that, and so on…
Since it’s critically important to post on a regular schedule while you’re building traffic (and you’re always building traffic) that’s a huge problem. You lose readership quickly when you stop posting, or if your posting schedule is unreliable.
This type of writer’s block is a common problem…
But the solution is NOT inspiration.
Why Doesn’t Inspiration Cure Writer’s Block?
Here’s the thing:
Writer’s Block is rarely caused by a lack of ideas.
Writer’s Block is caused by a lack of motivation.
Creativity breeds creativity, so if you’re writing about anything that you find interesting and enjoy reading and writing about, you’ll never run out of ideas.
[bctt tweet=”Blogger Block is not a lack of inspiration, it’s a lack of motivation #bloggerblock” username=”@kitty)lusby”]
We’ll talk more about brainstorming later, but for now, let’s make something clear:
Blogging is a skill.
Creativity, too, is a skill – not a talent. Anybody can learn it, and everyone gets better with practice.
The more you practice, the better you’ll get at being creative on-demand, but having ideas doesn’t actually cure your Writer’s Block.
Have you ever been in this situation?
Your blog’s posting schedule, which you decided when you were new and excited, is 1 new post every Monday evening at 6 PM when your readers are getting home from work.
You know you should have a post completed by now, but you’ve done nothing, and now it’s 5 o’clock. As you sit and stare blankly at your computer screen, your mind keeps wandering to all of the other things you could be doing that are much more fun, like scrolling Facebook or getting oral surgery without anesthetic.
It’s frustrating, isn’t it?
Obviously, you’re not in the mood to write, and this blog thing that was so much fun a few months ago is now a chore.
That’s Blogger Block, the computer nerd cousin of Writer’s Block, and it happens to all of us…but it has NOTHING to do with running out of ideas, and everything to do with an unmotivated mood.
How do I know this?
I regularly brainstorm to generate ideas for blog content, both for this blog and the various sites I manage for clients. Despite having lists of literally hundreds of ideas and outlines for killer content, there are days that I stare at my computer and kind of wish for the apocalypse so that I don’t have to write anything.
We all have those days.
How you handle those days will determine whether your blog succeeds as a business venture, or turns into an expensive hobby.
The Right Way To Handle Blogger Block
To truly be effective, your Blogger Block strategy should start long before you have one of those rather-die-than-write moments.
You’re still going to have them. Sometimes you’ll lose your motivation, lag in energy levels, and generally not be in the mood for writing anything. That’s true of every career – you’re always going to have days when you don’t feel like doing your job.
On those days, if you have a deadline (even if it’s a deadline you set for yourself!) you’re just going to have to power through.
Get rid of distractions.
Sit down at your computer.
And write the damn post.
Yeah, it’s hard, but when I worked in the mortgage industry, there were LOTS of days that I was praying for the Rapture so that I didn’t have to look at one more past-due mortgage note, and I still got it done. It’s part of being a grownup – and if I could do that for someone else’s business, I sure as heck can do it for mine.
Of course, you’re reading this blog post for strategies to keep you from getting to that write-or-die point.
So let’s talk about that, shall we?
Never Have To Face Blogger Block Head-On
There are lots of reasons a person might start a blog, but if you’re here, I’m going to assume that you want to use blogging to develop a full-time income.
I’m also going to assume that you’re willing to run your blog like a business…since it is a business.
That means I’m going to talk to you like a grownup, okay?
You should never get in the habit of writing blogs on the day you’re supposed to post them.
ALL of your blog posts should be written, proofread, revised, edited, and then scheduled to post. That means you’re working a week or two ahead at the absolute minimum.
I recommend that you work a couple of months in advance – if you have a weekly posting schedule, that means that you should have 8-10 posts scheduled, and you continue to write new posts every week that will go live according to that schedule.
Yes, you still need to write a new post every week.
Yes, you need to put the same level of care and effort into all of them.
That’s Rule #1: Work ahead. That’s the best way to avoid the aforementioned high-pressure writing scenario that might tempt you to publish substandard content.
[bctt tweet=”Write, proof, revise, edit, and schedule posts. Work 2 weeks ahead at a minimum! #bloggerblock” username=”@kitty_lusby”]
With that in mind, let’s talk about some other strategies to build your creative skill and combat Writer’s Block:
Strategies to Destroy Blogger Block
Just as there are times when your motivation drops to nothing, there are also times when you feel like you could write an entire bestselling novel in one evening.
We’re going to take advantage of those moods, and also adopt some habits that make it much easier to get back into that mindset.
- Collect inspiration while you can. Carry a notepad and pen with you everywhere you go. Sometimes, a stranger will ask you a question, or you’ll overhear a conversation, or you’ll see a billboard on the side of the road, and suddenly your mind shifts into brilliance overdrive. Write down those ideas as soon as you can safely do so, and make sure you pull out your notepad while you’re drafting new posts.
- Learn correct brainstorming techniques. The basic brainstorming premise is this: your mind can be creative, or it can be analytical, but it cannot be both at the same time. To brainstorm correctly, you write down every single idea that comes to mind without considering whether or not it’s stupid. Once you’ve got a substantial list, you can go back later and prune the less appropriate or feasible ideas and focus on developing those that have merit.
- Participate in your community. Often, answering questions on forums and in groups, reading the comments on your and other good blogs, and attending live events in your niche is the most effective way to find out exactly what your readers want to know that nobody else is telling them. You’ll get great post ideas, and you’ll get a competitive edge. Win.
- Write something every day. It doesn’t have to be a blog post, and it doesn’t have to be something that you’ll show to another person, but writing even a paragraph every single day whether you feel like it or not is the absolute best cure for Blogger Block days. You’re literally training your brain to be creative on demand, and you’re also building the discipline you’ll need to keep up with your posting schedule for years to come.
- Don’t waste inspiration. Let’s assume you’re in a good position, and you’ve got 10 posts already written, polished, and scheduled to go out every week. What happens when you have a burst of inspiration? WRITE MORE POSTS. If you’ve got the next 2 years of blog posts scheduled and you have the urge to write 4 more today, write 4 more! Of course, if you’re posting on a weekly basis and you’ve got 2 years of scheduling done, you might consider increasing to 2 or 3 posts every week, but only increase the frequency of your posts if you’re positive you can keep up with it long-term.
- Invite guest posts, or offer sponsored posts on your blog. Inviting guest posting on your blog is a great way to diversify your content, add even more value to your audience, build relationships, and get great posts out there that you didn’t have to write yourself. You can also allow something called sponsored posts, which is a post that a third party pays you to write (or they’ve already written) that promotes their business, brand, or product. Be careful with sponsored posts, because doing too much marketing on your blog can turn off your audience quickly. However, you can make some extra income and get some filler content by taking on the occasional sponsored post.
- Use a separate, designated area of your home for writing only. This is a trick used by experts to maximize their mental output – if you have a workspace, a special chair, or some other distraction-free area that you use ONLY for one task (like writing, thinking, reading, etc) your brain will automatically associate that place with a certain mental state. So if you have a desk that you use for writing blog posts, and only for writing blog posts, you’ll essentially hypnotize yourself into being way more effective. As soon as you sit down, your blog-writing brain will fire up and be ready to work. Note: while you’re building this effect, if you sit down to work and you’re feeling completely unmotivated, get up and walk away from that spot. You want to establish it as a creative space, and you shouldn’t have any frustration associated with that spot at all.
It sounds like beating Blogger Block is simple…and it is.
But simple doesn’t always translate to easy.
The Blogger Block Bottom Line
Here’s the deal:
Beating Blogger Block is a matter of building creative skill and discipline. There’s really not much else you can do, except perhaps choose a different career.
Starting any kind of successful business requires focus and discipline, and blogging is no different. Just because you don’t have to invest thousands or millions of dollars to start a lucrative blogging career doesn’t mean you can shortcut the work ethic, too.
On top of that, the world of blogging is changing.
Today, if your blog is just slightly better than average, you shine. There’s so many people writing garbage, and so many more doing the bare minimum, that a tiny bit of effort goes a long way.
That’s not going to be the case very soon.
If you’re not continually learning, growing, and improving, you’re going to be left behind very quickly. A few great bloggers are raising the bar, and the people that keep up are going to be superstars while the rest of the market struggles to catch up.
[bctt tweet=”Beating Blogger Block is a matter of building creative skill and discipline #bloggerblock” username=”@Kitty_lusby”]
Those of us who have blogging businesses can’t afford to make amateur mistakes…like letting Blogger Block steal our thunder.
Don’t be left behind. Build your skills now, and dominate the market.