After suffering from a wicked case of writer’s block, I have finally recovered (sounds like some nasty, ailing disease, huh?). I definitely do not call myself a blog expert, simply because I’m relatively new to the industry & I believe you are constantly learning new tips and tricks to master your trade, but I wanted to share a few techniques that helped to dig me out of the deep, scary hole of writer’s block:
- Read, read, read: I gain inspiration from other blog posts. I mean, let’s face it—that’s the point of blogging, isn’t it? Just by subscribing to a couple blogs, you have an entire bank of ideas to possibly write about. Obviously, taking an idea or new approach without proper identification is a BIG no-no. Read a post, site the post, and add your own, new ideas to reinforce the importance or even contradict what you read. Key advice? Read often and put it into action. If you make reading a priority, you will be up-to-date with new practices and who knows? You could be the first one to exemplify the importance of the new practice in YOUR post!
- Write, write, write: What is the number one thing I struggle with when coping with writer’s block? Editing. I have a sick obsession with editing every sentence, every grammar problem, and every word in the midst of writing a post. I bet I am not alone. One of the best ways to combat writer’s block is to just WRITE. Who cares if it doesn’t make sense at the time; it will eventually! Key advice on this one? DON’T edit or delete until you are done. You might make the mistake of deleting a thought that could be used elsewhere in the post.
- Bounce Ideas: Sometimes you have so many ideas and thoughts bouncing around in your head that you have trouble either picking just one to write about or figuring out how to mold multiple ideas together. Ask for advice. Start off by talking to a co-worker (or someone in your industry) to bounce ideas off of each other. By talking it through, out loud, you are sure to get some key pointers organized which will lead to a post that makes sense. However, ask more than one person. Key advice? Don’t just bounce ideas off of your co-workers. Ask outsiders. It is easy to overlook the “so what?” or big picture of your idea(s) when talking strictly with people who are masters of the same trade. My loving fiancé is my “outsider” (whether he knows it or not ;)) and allows me to bounce ideas off of him to make sure it all makes sense.
- Go back to the legal pad: You may be writing for the internet or on the internet, but that does not mean you necessarily need to abandon your pen and paper. Try starting with an old school thought outline on your yellow legal pad of paper. I STILL do this. This gives you another place to jot down ideas and arrange and rearrange ideas (without accidentally deleting!). Once you have all of your ideas, an outline helps you to ultimately organize all of your thoughts into one blog post. Key advice? Don’t throw/recycle your paper right away! Keep your outlines…you never know, down the road some thoughts or ideas you didn’t end up using could craft the greatest blog post.
- Check your sent folder: Doug Karr, founder of The Marketing Technology Blog & the president/CEO of DK New Media, simply suggested checking your emails for content ideas. What a great, convenient idea, huh? Karr explained that every day we send emails to clients, prospects, etc. that explain your business, problems, solutions, strengths, and/or weaknesses…so why shouldn’t we position these topics as blog content? No reason! Karr further explained, “Nobody has a problem sitting down and writing 20 emails a day. And they do it. They don’t get nervous hitting the send button.” So, recycle those emails to help generate ideas and before you know it, you’ll have brand new blog content!
I hope these tips are useful when you’re trying to cure yourself of ol’ writer’s block. Do you have any other advice? What do YOU use to combat writer’s block?