You’re about to write your blog. You sit down at your computer, but that’s as far as you get. You sit, then sit some more, and finally give up. You’ve drawn a blank, or maybe you’ve written and deleted your first sentence over and over again. We’ve all been there, frustrated by that blank computer screen and wondering how we can move past blogger’s block.
Don’t give up! Here are 8 ways to get started on your blog copy:
Consider the format. Think about the format that intuitively makes the most sense for your topic, audience, and media channel. Just deciding on the best format can sometimes get the creative juices flowing. Some common formats are Q&A, lists (also know as “listicles”), a how-to post, or a curated article that contains helpful resources.
- Do a rapid braindump. Quickly jot down a few ideas. Don’t take more than 15 minutes—five is even better. The important thing is not to dwell on the order, details, or specific wording. What you’re looking for is simply to unstick your brain, without the sometimes painful process of creating the perfect intro or nailing down the outline.
- Shut off the distractions. Are there people around who are likely to interrupt you? Is your phone going to ring? Are you receiving social media notifications? It’s time to put electronics and other distractions aside and create a chunk of alone-time so your ideas are free to bubble up to the top.
- Be consistent—or not. Some people do best with a set routine. Every day they get up at 7:30, listen to the news while sipping coffee, get dressed, and go about their day. Others need to switch things up. Working in a different space, thinking during a walk, trying different times of the day, or even just standing up can jog the brain. Find what works best for you.
- Find out what people are saying. What are some interesting things you’ve heard lately about your topic? If you can’t think of anything off the top of your head, look at industry blogs, LinkedIn groups, forums, conference workshops, or other potential sources. But no stealing! If your ideas come directly from another source, give credit and provide a link.
- Clear your mind. Being anxious or overwhelmed can immobilize us. It may be time to relax and take a few minutes to breathe. If meditation isn’t your thing, try listening to music or a podcast, walk around, close your eyes, or go outside. Even a brief break can have a huge effect on productivity. Set your alarm for 15 or 20 minutes (even five or 10 minutes might do the trick), then see if you have better luck.
- Try a different topic. Our creative minds can be fickle. Maybe your topic is worthwhile, but you’re just not into it right now. We can’t always conjure up the attitude it takes to write a certain piece, be it humorous, serious, or technical. If you’re not on a tight deadline, try switching to another assignment that is more appropriate for your current state of mind.
- Doodle. That’s right, I said doodle. Studies and anecdotal evidence have both shown that doodling can unblock your mind from clutter, improve concentration, and lower stress. Artistic talent doesn’t matter—the notebook or margin you doodle on is a judgment-free zone. Draw shapes, faces, letters, anything. Give it 15-30 minutes and just have fun with it.
So, writers, these are some of the methods I use when I get a blogging brain cramp. The ways to overcome writer’s block are endless. It’s up to you to experiment and find the ones that work for you. As for me, I’ve got three more blogs to write. After I do a quick doodle.