Blogging is easy until you get “blogging writer’s block”. You sit there in front of your PC, with a blank screen and a blinking cursor, your hands poised over the keyboard and nothing in your head to say. You are stuck, blocked, unable to get those fingers moving on the keyboard.
No matter how hard you think, you just can’t write anything on your blog
No matter how hard you think, you just can’t write anything. Yet, you know you should write something; indeed you may want to write something. You may even have an idea in mind to write about. But will those words come? Will they heck?
Blogging Writer’s Block is one of the main reasons why so many people give up blogging
Most blogs get started with a series of enthusiastic posts, only to find that the passion dwindles as the pressure to write something – anything – takes over.
In a Technorati study which was highlighted almost a year ago, only 1% of blogs get updated each week. Indeed, 94% of blogs haven’t been updated in the past four months..! A recent article in the New York Times exposed the issue of abandoned blogs suggesting a range of issues as to why so many bloggers give up their online writing.
At the heart of all the difficulties that people face with blogging, though, is the inability to conjure up the words when the blogging software is open in front of them. So what can you do to ensure that the creative juices keep flowing and how can you be certain that writer’s block will be a thing of the past?
Have a plan
The first step in avoiding blogging writer’s blog – or blogger’s block if you want – is to have a plan. You will see on the right-hand column of this page the “Coming Soon” panel which shows the topics I am going to write about each day. They are planned in advance, so I don’t have to come up with a topic each day. For more advice on blogging, planning see: How to make blogging easy.
Set a deadline
The next way to ensure that the muse will strike you is to set a deadline. Don’t just say your blog must be done every Friday, for instance. Give yourself a highly specific deadline – 10.20am every Friday, say. Deadlines are powerful motivators, and few bloggers set them. Setting a deadline for each blog you plan to write will really help you start writing and avoid blogging writer’s block. Fine yourself if you don’t meet the deadline – £1 for every minute over the deadline, with the money going to your partner, for instance. Reward yourself if you do meet the deadline – an extra biscuit, or perhaps £1 into your beer money jar.
Switch off your email program, put the phone on voicemail, close down your Twitter page – in fact, remove anything that becomes a distraction or is a potential interrupter. Many people get writer’s block because their brain cannot focus as a result of all the distractions around them.
Help your brain
Your brain needs fuel to make it work well. Oxygen and water are the brain’s key requirements. So, make sure that you have plenty of fresh air in your office – an ioniser is particularly valuable in offices with computing equipment, so too is a water cooler so you can have plenty of fresh water. Make sure that in the hour or two before writing you have topped up on water and that if your room isn’t full of fresh air, open the window.
Feed your creative juices
Your creativity arises when the hormones and chemical messengers in your body are balanced. There is a simple, quick and highly effective way of doing this – muscular exercise. Before any writing task, get some muscular activity. It can be walking up and down the stairs a couple of times, a run round the block, a quick dip in your indoor pool – it doesn’t matter what it is, as long as it is physical. That will reduce your adrenalin and increase your endorphins such that being creative is much easier. People are almost always more productive and creative after physical exercise.
Use a mind map
Mind maps – or any other visual way of thinking about your subject – will help. Jot down your main theme and then visually plot all the different things you can think about on the topic.
They don’t need to be in any particular order – it’s rather like visual brainstorming. If you haven’t used mind maps before check out Andrew Wilcox for advice on using software for mind mapping.
Have a cuttings file
Any time you see something interesting in a newspaper or magazine cut it out or tear out the page and drop it into a file near your desk. If you see a web page, you are interested in, copy it to your iCyte blogging project. You will then have an “ideas” file – cuttings and web pages that can trigger your creative juices, give you leads and generally get your brain going.
Set up a Twitter search
Use Twitter to search for any word or phrase in a desktop program such as Tweetdeck or Seesmic Desktop. That way you will have a stored search panel that is constantly updated every time someone uses that phrase or word in their Tweets. This can be a useful way of finding new thoughts and ideas to get your writing kick-started.
Stop trying to write!
If all of these techniques fail to get your fingers busy on the keyboard, then take a break. Often, your brain needs to let your subconscious work on the problem. So, if you really are stuck with your blog simply take a break. Grab some water, get a banana, go for a walk, read a book, surf aimlessly online, phone a friend, hang out on Facebook – it doesn’t matter what it is you do, but do something different for a while. Then return to your blogging software, and you will be amazed at how quickly the words start to flow.
There is no such thing, really, as “blogging writer’s block“. It’s just a writer who hasn’t given their brain a chance to produce the words at the right time. Hopefully, using these techniques, you will be providing your neural circuitry with the right stimulus to get those fingers all-a-blur across the keyboard…!
Graham Jones is an Internet Psychologist who studies the way people use the online world, in particular how people engage with businesses. He uses this knowledge to help companies improve their online connections to their customers and potential customers and offers consultancy, workshops, masterclasses and webinars. He also speaks regularly at conferences and business events. Graham is an award-winning writer and the author of 32 books, several of which are about various aspects of the Internet. For more information connect with me on Google+