I’ve been a writer a lot longer than I’ve been a blogger. I started writing when I was in middle school and never stopped. Even professionally, I’ve been writing for a good 10 years but only blogging for maybe 4. In all my life, I’ve never had writers block so bad as I do with blogging.
I can think of a million stories to write, but after a while, I start to feel like I’m completely running out of new GOOD ideas for blogging. This very post was born after an hour of going through my list of posts to write, trying to decide which to focus on. None of them screamed “write me!” So I figured the best way to overcome my blog writer’s block was to write a post reminding me (and you) of ways to overcome it.
Ten Tips for Overcoming Blog Writer’s Block
- Write down every single idea you have, no matter how bizarre or lame you think it is at the time. If you get in the habit of writing down ideas, you’ll end up with a nice file to choose from. Even if it seemed like a boring idea at the time, it may inspire you to come up with an interesting new take. I organize my writing ideas in a nice binder. Of course, there are times when even that doesn’t help, so read on.
- Read the news. Pretty Opinionated isn’t really a newsy site, so this doesn’t help here. I am responsible for coming up with the majority of ideas for the editorial calender for OurFamilyWorld though, and that’s where Bing news comes in really handy. I prefer Bing to Google, but use whatever engine you like. The trick is to not limit yourself to news about your niche topics. I’ve found inspiration for the bullying section in sports news, for kids health in technology and so on.
- Write something every day. On days when you find you just don’t feel like writing, create outlines or lists. Write half a post. Something is better than nothing. If you can’t finish it, leave it in draft and go back to it another day.
- Stop forcing yourself to write linearly. The biggest mistake writers make is assuming they have to start with an intro, write the middle then add a conclusion. I used to sit in front of my computer for an hour trying to think of a 75-word intro when I already had the middle written in my head. I stopped writing linearly and started with what I had. Sometimes I start with the end and work my way back. The rest falls into place.
- Use blogging prompts wisely. I’ve never been a big fan of writing prompts because I feel like they box me in to one specific topic. Still, sometimes they can give you different ideas. Like The Sits Girls had a prompt to write ten things about yourself. Well, I’m a pretty open book and besides, I’ve already done a few of those posts. So I figured I’ll write 10 Things You Probably Don’t Want to Know About Me and spill all my more embarrassing traits. That one should be coming up soon. I have to work up the courage! If you use writing prompts, just be sure to give it your own unique twist.
- Check out the list of weird holidays. Every single day is some sort of “National Day Of…” Tomorrow happens to be Donald Duck day. Just like every month and week honors one cause, person, place, etc. When I’m totally strapped for ideas, I head to BrownieLocks. They have the best list I’ve found so far.
- Write about your town. Every town has something interesting in it. I’ve written about a bunch of places in the Poconos and still have other spots in the area that I want to cover at some point.
- Do keyword research. I do not write to keywords on Pretty Opinionated. I can’t stand writing for SEO, I think it’s making us all weaker writers. I have Yoast, but rarely remember to use it. Mostly I just use it to plug in my meta description. Still, when I can’t think of a good idea, I use the keyword planner to put in a random word and see where it takes me. Like, with Easter coming up, I’ll use it to get ideas for that.
- Read other blogs. I am incredibly anal about making sure that I don’t accidentally (or on purpose) ride another blogger’s good topic mojo, so I rarely read other blogs as a source of inspiration for my own posts. I read at least 50 other blog posts a day. Sometimes I skim, sometimes I read every word. It really depends. I do this not only to support other bloggers but also because it gives me ideas indirectly. Say I read an amazing over at Jade Louise Designs (one of my favorite sites by one of my favorite bloggers). I know darn well that I can’t make anything even remotely as pretty as she does, but it may give me an idea for a great roundup post. By the way, for roundup posts, always ask permission before using another blogger’s photo. Most will say yes, but it’s always nice to ask!
- Get out of your own head for a while. When all else fails, get the heck out of your own head. Watch mindless television, read a book, go for a walk. Have a conversation with a friend. You may just find inspiration in the strangest places!
What are your favorite tips to overcome blog writer’s block and find ideas to write about?