Wednesday, December 05, 2007

10 Surefire Ways to Get Past Writer's Block

1 - Read other blogs. This is my favorite way to nix blockage. Even if this doesn't work, you can always find some interesting posts on other blogs to comment on, so you're still building community! You can find the ones I read regularly on the sidebar.

2 - Discover new blogs. Or the 'going down the rabbit hole' method. Pick a blog that you read regularly. Now look at the blogroll, and click on a blog you have never heard of. Odds are, it's going to cover a completely different subject matter than your own blog. Do this a few times and you'll be amazed at the range of topics that you'll uncover other bloggers yammerin' about!

3 - Check your archives. Remember that great post you wrote last year about '10 Trends to Watch for in Social Media in 2007'? Maybe it's time for an update! Also pay close attention to the comments that your readers left, maybe someone made a great point that you overlooked?

4 - Write your headline first. Want to write an amazing blog post? Then write that amazing headline first, then you've forced yourself to deliver the goods ;) It's also a great creativity exercise as you have to find a way to make your writing match the promise your headline is making.(For example, pick a headline such as 'The one trend in social media that every marketer must understand', and then force yourself to give the answer in your post) Copyblogger has more info on this.

5 - Share your knowledge. What's working for you? Have you found a way to get 10+ comments from every post? Is your traffic up for 6 straight months? Do you know how to tweak your blog template so that it's perfect? Then share the love man! We are all learning together, and after all, it's the share economy!

6 - Ask for help. The other side of sharing knowledge, is asking for help. Feel free to lean on your readers to help you out of a tight spot, as they will be happy to help, and again, it's a great community-building tool!

7 - Check your other social sites. I do this regularly as there's so many great options. Facebook groups are always discussing interesting topics and usually the people involved are friends that I haven't met yet. LinkedIn's Q&A section also has some great discussions, and the thing I like about LinkedIn is that it's also usually a different audience, in that many of the members there aren't blogging or engaging in social media, so they have a slightly different perspective. Another option is to check out Twitter, as the discussions are completely different, and my friends are constantly posting links to new posts/articles.

8 - Get some sun, ya freak! Sometimes you simply have to push away from the computer. But even then you can find inspiration. Ann has admitted to doing this before, but how many of you have been doing something and thought 'wow that's cool, I am going to have to blog about this!' So why not carry a pen and pad with you on your trips or just your run to the grocery store?

9 - Save a post for a rainy day. Just as we all get writer's block occasionally, we also go through spurts where we can churn out more posts that we know what do to with. When excessive inspiration strikes, why not save one or more of those gems as a draft for the next time writer's block strikes?

10 - Make a Top 10 list! Guy Kawasaki is famous for his numbered lists. We love these because the info is 'easily digestible' and the nuggets that we can use are right there. And you can also tie it into the 'write your headline first' exercise from Step #4 above. Originally I was going to make this post cover just 6 steps, but I changed it to 10 in the title. And I'm glad I did, because it forced me to think about the methods I use to thwart writer's block, and I think the 4 steps I added were probably better than my original 6!


Email Me


Anonymous said...

Great list, Mack. You're spot on (as usual).

Mack Collier said...

Thanks Cam, glad you enjoyed the list!

Gavin Heaton said...

Great list, Mack. Try also taking a shower -- there is something about the atomized steam that clears your thinking.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this post. What great ideas. Sometimes I run old copy through writing software like ArtimesPro to help spice it up and make it fresh again. Often this helps jog me on to even brighter ideas!

Mack Collier said...

David sent me an email saying he tried to leave this comment:

"Good advice, Mack. Sometimes, I'd say, you can even let your blog remain unchanged for a day or two, rather than struggle to say something new or useful. Like The Beatles said long ago, "Let it be.""

I agree, David, sometimes silence is golden ;)

BTW since I think Blogger's blocking commenters from linking back to their blogs sucks, here's a link to David's blog

SI said...

Fantastic Ideas! I do often hit a brick wall, especially if I’m too tired. I have to say that the two most important tools I use is my thesaurus and occasionally Artemis Pro to make my articles more interesting.