June 09, 2009

How To Deal With Writer's Block

Earlier this week we spent a few minutes talking about some of the reasons Why Blogs Fail. I wouldn't call that a comprehensive list because it really is more of a general overview. So let's spend a moment talking about one of the elements of why blogs fail, writer's block.

Content is the engine that drives the blog. Without content there is no reason for you or anyone else to visit. Call it the first law of blogging or use any other term you want, really doesn't matter. It is a given.

The challenge of producing great content day in and day out never goes away. It doesn't matter how good a writer you are, there will come a moment during which you'll stare at the keyboard and wonder why it is silent. The question is how do you break through that silence. When you haven't any idea what the hell to write about, what are you going to do.

If you follow my advice you'll start writing. You'll pick a topic and start typing. Writing is a skill and like any skill it requires practice and effort. If you don't work at it than you'll see your skill level deteriorate.

For some of you that advice will be enough, but others want a more concrete example.

One of the easiest solutions is to grab a list of topics, such as the one that Chris Brogan provided here and start typing. And if you don't like any of those you can always "google" blog or writing topics and find suggestions that way.

The idea here is that if you teach yourself to be disciplined about writing daily you'll find that the moments in which you encounter writer's block will decrease and that even when they do hit they won't last as long.

What do you think? Do you have any tricks that you want to share.

4 comments:

Elder of Ziyon said...

Luckily, I have a seemingly inexhaustible supply of material, just from reading the news and going through my daily search routines.

As far as what makes me blog, it isn't fame nor fortune. It is mostly out of a sense of obligation to find and promulgate perspectives that others aren't doing or are not doing effectively enough. If someone else would pop up and do some of what I do as well or better, I would happily change focus elsewhere. (For example, years ago I used to go through Iranian websites for ideas, since Judeopundit started doing it as well, I pulled back.)

LB said...

Like Elder of Ziyon, I also tend to rely very heavily on the news for material. The problem is that sometimes I feel that all I'm doing is giving my review on someone else's review, and I do think there is something positive about that - it doesn't always feel like what I should be doing.

On the other hand, I, too, have an endless list of topics I want to write about (I have a long file on the desktop with topics and links for background material). However, very often I don't know what to write about these topics. It's not that I don't have an opinion, rather that I have hard deciding how I want to present it. Sometimes it feels like the post would be too short, and others I think I would just be rambling.

Lastly, again related to comments and readers, etc - I do enjoy the writing itself (and I've found that my writing has improved), but I want to write in a way that will attract more of those, and I'm not always sure that what/how I would write will do that. Or that it is now.

Just my two cents.

rabbifink said...

Some days it is literally impossible for me to find something to write about.

Also, I find I am writing some of the same things over and over again. But, I have come to realize that is not a bad thing. I want new readers and new readers won't have seen my post 4 months ago.

Also, my blog is a bit constrained by its title, and thus is not open to "just anything".

When I am stuck I try and find something juicy on a news site or blog and run with it.

The worst is blogging way after the fact. I have a great post about Ida and the "missing link" but it is old news already.

Maybe I will just do it anyway...

Jack said...

EOZ,

You're one of the old timers now. You do an excellent job, quality is always good. Think about how many blogs we have watched disappear, there is something to be said for longevity.

And frankly it doesn't hurt to have someone like Judeopundit- makes it easier to focus somewhat.

LB,

You have several issues there that you are dealing with. You never really know who is reading and what their knowledge level is. So don't be afraid to pump stuff out

Consistency helps to build a community. I don't have as many commenters as I'd like, but the readers are always there.

Over time we develop a style that suits us.

RF,

Blogging after the fact isn't always a bad thing. There is something to be said for joining the chorus and being indexed by search engines.

Blog titles are important- I really screwed mine up but I haven't had a real desire to start over yet.