Oh no – it happened again! I sit and stare blankly at my screen. I planned to write an article on some generic topic related to blogging but for some reasons it feels impossible now – I lost my concentration and have no idea what I should write about. Does it sound familiar? I bet it does – we call it Writer’s Block and it happens to lots of people all the time. Don’t worry – it is not that hard to overcome it.
First of all you need to relax – if it’s daytime and the weather is nice I go out for short, 20 minutes walk to the park or to the shop. When I am out I try not to think about my writing task. When I am back I open the window so it feels like I am still out. I turn on some relaxing music on Youtube, put my headphones on and now I am ready to tackle the problem. Try not to force yourself to write about something you don’t want to write about! You need to find a topic you feel comfortable with – it will make the task much easier.
How to overcome Writer’s Block?
Enter your generic topic into Google – you will instantly have great list of popular articles. Take a look at the Related Searches box at the bottom of Google SERPs:
You can also use Soovle tool to find best suggestions from most popular search engines for your keywords. Read some articles and make some notes – you can actually assemble whole article using this technique.
Choose the right time to write – it seems like not very important but believe me difference may be dramatic. I prefer to write or code about midnight or when I am alone at home – this way there are no distractions and I can totally focus on writing task. You need to find out what time and environment works best for you. Some people may prefer to write outdoors for example.
Revisit your old content – check what you were writing before. Sometimes you will find new angle on some old topic or you may cross combine two different ideas into one, brand new but still related. If you find out recurring patterns you may turn them into series. Worst case scenario – write article about your best content and link there your old articles.
Use good news service – try to find out what is going on in the topic you want to write about. I usually use alltop.com to find out what is going on in tech industry. Just click some generic topic related to your interest and read displayed tags – there are hundreds of ideas out there. If you cannot find your keyword try the alphabetical list from menu. Hovering mouse over the post titles shows excerpts – so you can instantly “feel” if you like the topic.
If you are still stuck – it is time to bring out big guns: you should use Quora. It is a free service where people can ask real questions and get real answers from other users. It is god blessing for bloggers because you can turn answers into blog posts that solve real problems! Another great use for Quora is tools and service discovery – you can learn a lot from users answers.
How to prevent Writer’s Block?
The best method of overcoming writer’s block is to prevent it – here is what I do to not let it happen:
Keep track of your ideas – it seems obvious but many people don’t do it. I have spreadsheet on Google Drive where I keep all my ideas grouped by topics (generic blogging, tools, web design, WordPress, plugins, themes etc). I have a direct link to it on my Desktop so if I think about something it takes me few seconds to add new idea to the list. When I am on the move I use my new email client to send idea to myself (and then schedule it for later, when I am back home).
Keep your abandoned articles – sometimes you start writing an article but it is not going well, so you just abandon it. Don’t delete it! You may use it later when you have Writer’s Block – it will be much easier to write when the article is already started. This is why I use Google Drive to keep my articles there – I can access them from anywhere.
Browse the web frequently – it will help you to find new ideas and new angles on your old articles. If you describe tools and services use StumbleUpon – it is one of best free websites for discovering new stuff. I use it all the time and I have found many interesting things (I was actually amazed what is out there).
Create a writing schedule – I made myself some simple outline when I want to blog about what and I try stick to it. So on Mondays I write about that generic topic, on Tuesday about that etc. If I have any problem with creating content I just switch days. I put the schedule on the wall in front of my eyes and I try to think forward about my topics – it really, really helps. I also do a research day or two before so I am not stuck on the actual day.
Writer’s Block happens to all of us but I hope you find these tips helpful and you will overcome it.
If you know any techniques not listed here please share them in the comments – thank you!