The desire to start a blog, or any business for that matter, tends to stem from passion. There’s a subject you know a lot about and you want to talk about it, and you want to leverage this knowledge to promote your business or build an online community.
At first, the topics and inspiration come to you easily. There’s plenty of material you want to go through and items you want to discuss. You never struggle to put words into your content management system. Over time, however, conjuring up ideas for a new post can become far harder than you ever thought possible. You’re running out of steam, struggling with loose concepts you don’t really care about just for the sake of a post, and then you finally run out of ideas altogether.
You’re probably familiar with the concept of writer’s block; the idea that there is a point at which a writer just can’t seem to keep going with their work. Blogger’s block is no different. It’s a phase you enter when you are thirsty for inspiration but there doesn’t seem to be a drop to drink. Your blog and its readership wait for the lightning bolt of inspiration to strike, but you just keep coming up empty. As a result, new traffic may slow down on your site.
So, rather than letting your blog fall silent to the point it is invaded by digital tumbleweed, here are a few options to get you back on track.
#1 – Stop Blogging!
Even if your blog is a source of income or a major part of your content marketing strategy, it’s important to take a break from it every now and again.
There’s nothing to be gained from sitting over your keyboard, panicking about the fact that you’re not coming up with anything. There’s even less to be gained from publishing something just because you need to publish. If you do that, you’re undoubtedly going to be compromising the quality of what you write.
Rather than continuing to go around in circles, give yourself at least two days away from your blog. It might be just what your mind needs to get the creative juices flowing again.
#2 – Edit Old Posts
You probably have posts on your blog that are a few years old and might not be quite up to your current standards. Blogging is always evolving, and you might find yourself embarrassed by your archives if you look closely enough. If you go back and edit these historic posts to be more SEO friendly or improve the picture quality, you not only help your blog, but you could also find yourself coming up with fresh ideas.
You might even find that you now think differently about a post you wrote before, or have developed a better technique, having developed as a writer over the years. This gives you an immediate launch into writing a new post that reflects how you feel in the present.
#3 – Look At Other Blogs (Within Reason)
When authors need to shake writer’s block, they often read some of their favorite novels in the hope of unblocking themselves. It makes sense to translate that to blogs, but do be careful not to be too directly influenced.
Competitor’s blogs and industry news are often the best sources of ideas for new blog posts that will be relevant to your readership or target market, but it’s important not to copy them directly.
If a blog has just written “10 Things I Love About Summer”, don’t write “5 Reasons Summer Is The Best Season.” It’s far too close to the source material.
However, something topical involving summer (outfits, makeup, styles that work well in summer, for example) would be considered inspired-by rather than a direct copy. Ensuring you don’t focus on individual posts but rather the blog as a whole can also help with this. See if you can muster up thoughts and emotions from the entire blog, then expand on these in your own writing.
#4 – Browse Forums
Forums might not be as on-trend as they used to be, but there’s still plenty online to use as fodder for blog posts. Find a forum that is relevant to your niche, then dive on in and see what people are talking about.
A great way to do this is to look for questions forum users are asking about your niche. You can then write a blog post in response to those queries, even if you never publish your reply on the forum itself. If one person is asking the question, it’s likely someone else is too, so you’ll scoop up traffic from Google searches and break your block at the same time.
#5 – Write About Not Being Able To Write
It might sound odd, but it works. Often the problem with blogger’s block is not in the words themselves, but your attitude to the words or even how you feel about your blog as a whole. Writing that out can be hugely beneficial, especially as it might be the first time you see the real causes on screen. Maybe you have been feeling dejected with your numbers not growing, or you’re concerned about the quality of your images — all real issues that can cause a block in your mind.
At the very least, this post will inform your readership of what’s happening and why there are no new posts. The fact it might help you shake the block once and for all is just a lovely potential bonus.
Blogger’s block is an inevitability, but that doesn’t mean there’s no light at the end of the tunnel. If your creativity can suddenly dry up and cause a block, there will always be a way to get it running again. It might take a few false starts and sputters, but eventually the walls will come down and you’ll be able to blog freely once more.
Stephen Van Delinder is a Co-founder of Reputation Resolutions, a company that serves individuals and businesses in restoring, building, and maintaining their online reputation and brand. Armed with certifications in Digital Marketing from New York University, Google, and Microsoft, Stephen applies his knowledge of online reputation management to help people and businesses look their best online.