When you need to produce content for your blog, writer’s block can throw a wrench into your good intentions. Many people experience writer’s block when they’re tired, frustrated, bored, or depressed, but it can also strike when you’re in the best of moods. Fortunately, you can beat it with a few tried-and-true tricks.
Tips to beat writer’s block
When you realize that you’re suffering from an epic case of writer’s block, step away from the computer for a while. Your mind might be sending you a message that you’re feeling burned out, in which case you need a break to clear your head and regain your focus.
The length of the break depends on how you feel. Some people might only need half an hour to walk around the block or call a friend for a quick chat, while others might need to give it a day or two. If you’re on a deadline and you can’t afford the extra time, however, you can speed things up with the following tips.
Read favorite blogs
Start with a little inspiration. Just as Pinterest can spark ideas for a bedroom makeover, your favorite blogs might give you nuggets of ideas to help you break down the writer’s block wall and get the words flowing again. Check out the latest 10 posts on at least 10 blogs for the best results, and try to choose a variety of writing styles among the bloggers.
You can also go back and read your favorite posts on your own blog. It might rekindle your desire to put words on the page. Alternatively, you can try reading a book or magazine for a completely different style of writing. Look for inspiration wherever you can find it.
Just remember that you don’t want to copy someone else’s voice. Take a quick break after you binge-read blogs to regain your own voice and style before you start working on a blog post.
Start typing on Google
When you’re not sure how to beat writer’s block, Google can be your best friend. Start with a keyword related to your blog’s topic or industry. For instance, if you write a home improvement blog, you might start with the keyword DIY. Type it into the search bar on Google and read the suggested searches that come up. One of them might spark an idea for a blog post, as well as the desire to write it.
You can also select one of those suggestions, which will take you to a search engine results page, or SERP. Google often puts “People Also Ask” boxes near the middle of the SERPs. Keep following those searches until you find a topic about which you can write passionately. Yahoo! Answers and Quora can also prove invaluable for finding fresh ideas and inspiring the will to write.
Beating writer’s block sometimes requires you to trick your brain a little bit. Since you probably write most of your blog posts at your computer, switch up your habit. Instead, grab the nearest notebook and pen, then start brainstorming blog ideas in your own handwriting. When you hit on an idea you like, flip to a fresh sheet of paper and start a post. Just let the ideas flow without worrying about grammar or organization.
When you finish this exercise, you’ll likely have the framework for a new blog post. All you have to do is organize, refine, and polish what you’ve already written. Before you know it, you’ll be hitting the Post button on your blog’s CMS interface.
Create a mind map
You probably drew these in junior high and high school. Mind maps are brainstorming tools that rely on the brain’s ability to make connections between words and ideas. Grab that notebook again and turn to a fresh sheet. Draw a small circle on the center of the paper and write a keyword inside it. Next, draw a short, straight line and make another circle. Write down a related keyword.
Continue doing this, making as many branches from as many bubbles as you’d like. You can also use tools like Microsoft Word to create digital mind maps if you prefer not to write freehand. When you complete the exercise, study your mind map and look for connections. How can you unite two or more bubbles to create a thought-provoking piece?
Plan ahead to combat writer’s block
If you suffer from writer’s block on a regular basis, you must prepare yourself for the inevitable brick wall. Some people hit the wall every day, while others only encounter it once a year. You know yourself better than anyone else, so decide what precautions to take so you’re not caught off-guard.
Use an editorial calendar
Planning blog posts several weeks or months in advance can take the pressure away. Often, writer’s block results from a lack of ideas. You don’t know what you want to write, so you can’t get any words on the page. Create a posting schedule, such as every weekday, and write down the topics you want to cover for the next month. Without that task completed, you can feel confident that your idea well won’t run dry.
An editorial calendar can also prove valuable for your blog’s organization. For instance, you might do a series on a specific topic, with a new installment every day. A single idea can spawn multiple blog posts if you break them up into smaller chunks and tackle one aspect at a time.
Keep a notebook with you
Blog ideas can hit at any time, so be prepared. Carry a small notebook in your pocket or purse so you can write down ideas as they occur to you. Alternatively, use the quick-note app on your smartphone to record ideas. Either way, the goal is to capture the idea before you forget it.
When you encounter writer’s block, pull out your smartphone or your notebook and browse through it for ideas. One of them is bound to spark your imagination and send you running for the keyboard.
Mine clients’ and customers’ questions
You know your clients or customers better than anyone else. You interact with them on a daily basis, and you understand their pain points. This knowledge can provide excellent fodder for blog posts. It’s also an effective weapon against writer’s block.
Think about the questions and concerns your customers or clients ask most frequently, then turn them into blog posts. If your customers ask those questions, you can bet that other people also want the answer. Plus, you’ve already answered the questions in front of your clients, so you should have no trouble finding the right words.
Beef up an old blog post
If writer’s block simply won’t give in, maybe you need to take a break from fresh content and take advantage of old content instead. Go back through your blog’s archives, looking for a post that might be outdated or too limited. Copy the text into a new post and rework the article. Add new information, remove outdated sentences, and otherwise spruce up the copy.
Reusing content isn’t unethical or counterintuitive. You’re bringing a post that has disappeared into the archives back to life. Plus, since you’re adding new content, your long-term readers won’t feel as though they’ve missed out on your articles.
Write something personal
If you’re suffering from severe writer’s block, consider journaling for a few days. Use a plain spiral notebook and your favorite pen to write whatever comes to mind. Don’t worry if it doesn’t make sense or if it has nothing to do with your blog. The point is to string words into sentences, sentences into paragraphs, and paragraphs into pages. Try to write three full pages in a sitting to get the maximum benefit.
Beating writer’s block often requires you to write even when you don’t know what to say. A journal is a safe space because you don’t have to show it to anyone else. It can bring confidence in your writing ability, so you can finally produce a blog post that’s ready for public consumption.
You can also start a blog journal where you record ideas, insights, quotes, and other bits of inspiration for the future. You never know when a few seemingly insignificant words will turn into the gateway to a viral blog post.
Overcoming writer’s block might seem impossible now, but you’ll get through it. If you need a change of scenery, consider renting a shared workspace.
Feeling overwhelmed? Get more out of your to-do list by working smarter, rather than harder.