Writing blocks happen to the best of us. Even after you've exhausted the usual methods of generating ideas, it can be a little stressful trying to come up with new topics to write about.
Worrying about what to write can be stressful: you're more than ready to write, you're just stuck on what to write about. We've all been there.
Here are a couple of unique ways I've found to give your blog posts a bit of a spark.
Take a break
Staring at an empty page in a notebook or a blinking cursor on a screen can make anyone anxious. Writing under pressure is a hard thing to do. Rather than try to force it, take a break.
Maybe it's just for a few days, maybe it's only for a few hours. I've found going to a movie to be a great mini-escape. It gets me out of the house and I'm laptop/phone/notebook free for a couple of hours.
While I've never gone to a movie with the express purpose of sourcing new blog post ideas, it has happened. You'll never know when a phrase, song, character or plot point will spark an idea.
Even if you don't come out of the theatre with any new ideas, you have at least given yourself a little bit of time to relax.
Learn about things that have nothing to do with your industry
One of the more common reasons people get stuck for ideas is the feeling of already exhausting a topic. I've found this type of rut the hardest to get out of. When I feel tapped out for new ideas, I immerse myself in topics I don't know much about.
A few ways to do this are:
- TedTalks - there is an abundance of videos taken at Ted events with topics ranging from politics to health to finance and everything in between.
- Podcasts -like the Ted videos, you'll find that there are podcasts covering every imaginable topic.
- In-person events - attend events happening in your local area. If you're not sure what's on the calendar, check out the Meet-up website. Eventbrite is also a great tool. You can install the app and set up alerts for topics of interest in your local area.
Keep in mind, I'm not suggesting that you start writing about these new ideas. If you run a blog for a financial advisor, you wouldn't necessarily want to write about physics. But, there may be something you can take away that would be more applicable to your blog’s audience.
Stay motivated with the help of other bloggers
I've written about how Facebook groups are a great way to promote your content. They’re also an excellent way to get new ideas and stay motivated.
Some of the more active groups have weekly or monthly motivational posts. What happens is the group admin will start a post asking members of the group to share their goals or challenges for the week (or month).
Those who share, then keep each other motivated by offering support and ideas. I know from personal experience that writing out my goals increases the likelihood of completing them. Sharing them with other bloggers helps keep me on track while also learning from others.
Keep track of all ideas
I used to keep a small notebook with me at all times so that I could jot down any ideas that came to me. Over time, the notebook has been replaced by a digital version - Google docs.
I always have my phone with me (who doesn't?!) and I keep a running doc open just for ideas. The document doesn't have much structure - it really is just a dumping ground for me to jot down ideas.
I typically check the doc every few days to do a review of what I've added. I go through what I’ve put down and think about whether there is anything I can add to the points or if an idea will need more thought and research.
As you learn about new topics or treat yourself to breaks, you'll want to have an easy way to record the ideas and thoughts you come up with.
Figure out what's holding you back
Similar to keeping a running doc of ideas, spend some time jotting down your thoughts on what is preventing you from writing.
Essentially, you start with a key theme or thought in the middle of the space and then you add to it as you brainstorm ideas. I find this an effective way to work through a problem, especially as it’s a very visual representation of what’s on my mind.
If you’re trying to work through what’s holding you back from writing, give mind mapping a try. You may be surprised by what your diagram ends up looking like.
What do you think of the ideas listed above? Share your feedback below!
About the Author:
Liz Da Ponte is a Digital Strategist hanging out where marketing, social media and technology meet to play. Liz loves writing, coffee, and finding the perfect font. Follow her on Twitter: @lizdaponte