You’ve got your blog. You love writing. You open up a blank screen to start writing. You’re ready to take over the world!
Then… you stare blankly at your laptop like a deer in the headlights.
At some time or another, it’s likely to happen. You’ll get writer’s block and have a hard time figuring out what to write about.
It’s happened to me a few times and it’s happened to a ton of other people I’ve talked to over the years. It’s actually VERY common.
So what do you do about it?
When I first started writing, I had a ton of ideas in my head and was writing pretty much every day. In fact, at one point I challenged myself to write on two daily blogs PLUS I had guest sites I was writing for as well. In 30 days I put out over 64 articles. All at least 500 words each.
Let me tell you, I don’t recommend pushing yourself that much but it was a huge learning experience for me and I’d love to share a couple of tricks I got from that experience with you.
Spend an Hour Brainstorming
When I first started writing, I’d just open up my PC and start writing whatever was top of mind for me. It was great since I had so many topics I could talk on that I thought I’d never draw a blank.
Then I started slowing down on ideas and spending more and more time “thinking” about what to write.
Here’s how I got over that one.
I opened up my mind mapping software and spent an hour brainstorming everything I could think of on my topic. I use Xmind from http://xmind.net. You can use whatever you want but I love the flexibility of that one and the free version is likely all you need.
Start by just blasting through everything that comes to mind. Don’t leave anything off the list and get it all out of your head.
What do people want to hear about?
When I was running my web design agency I had about 10 questions that I got asked so many times that I could answer step-by-step how-to’s off the top of my head without even looking at a computer.
You’ve got stuff like that in your head too. Just think about those “FAQ’s” that people ask you about and use those as content for your site. (Add them to your mind map!)
Simply asking your audience what they want to hear about is a great way to get a ton more ideas. I’ve been known to ask a question on Facebook or even email my list with one simple question… “What would you like to know more about right now?”
Then I read each and every reply. That alone gives me a ton more to add to my mind map.
What’s Hot in your Industry?
Is there any breaking news in your industry that people would be interested in knowing more about or that they SHOULD know about? Depending on your topic, that could give you a non-stop supply of things to write about alone.
One of the tools I love to use is “Google Alerts” (Just Google it). It’s SO easy to set up. Pick keywords related to your topic and you can have Google email each day with the latest news around that topic. Simple as that!
Other People’s Content
Now to be very stern on this, I’m not talking about stealing other people’s content. Never do this as it’s a quick way to lose your credibility. With that said, here’s how you should use other people’s content…
Read a lot of blog posts from others in your industry.
- What are they writing about?
- Did they cover everything that was needed?
- Do you have more that you could add to what they said?
- Did you disagree completely?
That’s a great way to come up with more content for your site. Write something with your own take on the topic they write about. Be sure to link back to them and give them credit but add your own two cents worth.
The best part of this tactic is that you not only get more content but the original author will likely pay more attention to what you’re doing and may share your posts as well in the future. This is one of my favorite “on the fly” idea generators.
Now back to that mind map you created. Any time you get a new idea, add it to the map. You might have a few ideas come up at a time. Add them all. (I have one that has over 100 topics that I can write on, many of which I could write several things about.)
Now, let’s say you’re ready to write your daily post and you have a complete block. No one else has posted anything that strikes your fancy….
Just open up that mind map you did with all those ideas you have and pick one.
It’s getting the creative juices flowing that’s the hard part. Once you have that, the rest should be a piece of cake. Spend one hour a month just brainstorming ideas and storing them in your mind map. Then any time you need a little boost in creativity just open it up and pick what grabs your attention for the day.
How often do you experience writer’s block? What ways have you found in the past to solve this?
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