How to Conquer the Blank Page: 10 Tips That Really Work
I’ve been blogging for years now, and if there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s this: Is not as freakin’ easy as it looks! There are days – and we all have them – when you just absolutely can’t come up with anything to put on that darn page. Thankfully, my years of experience have taught me a few tricks. I’ll share them with you now. But when you’re done reading – you have to share yours.
Read, Then Write
If I can’t come up with something to blog about in the first five minutes or so, I stop trying. After a while, the harder you think about it, the bigger the writer’s block. Instead, go read some of your favorite blogs and see what everyone else is talking about today. Don’t even think about your blog. Read with an open mind and chances are some idea will jump out at you and beg to become your next blog post.
Keep An Idea Notebook
Of course, you could always plan ahead so you’re never in this situation. Keep a small notebook handy at all times. Carry it in your pocket when you’re away from your desk. You never know when your writing muse is going to whisper a killer idea in your ear.
Just Start Writing
Years ago, when I first read this tip, I thought it was nuts. If you were having trouble writing how could you just sit down and start writing? It didn’t make sense. But the blogger said that every time she had trouble she just sat down and started writing about anything that came to mind, even if it was gibberish. Within 11 minutes, she said, you’d be pumped up and ready to write. And you know what? She was write. Try it. It really works!
Talk To A Friend
I’ve always had trouble writing technical posts that involve a lot of detailed explanations and “how-to” stuff. When I’m writing this type of content I think my writing sounds very stiff and formal – not a fun read, at all. To put some personality back into it, I imagine I’m explaining this “technical whatsit” to a friend. I even imagine the questions he might be asking.
Read Recent Comments
Need an idea for today’s post? Check out yesterday’s comments. Or the comments on your most popular post last week. Or the comments on some other blog.
Listen To Your Networks
I generally start each day off with a visit to my social networks so I can see what everybody’s talking about for the day. If you have a Twitter account, look at the trending topics.
Define The Question
Start your article with a question. Like I said, I sometimes have difficult writing a technical post, like “How to Change Your Font Programmatically.” But it’s easy for me to come up with an article, like “Need to Improve Your Bounce Rate? Change Your Font Size.” There’s more than one way to skin a cat. If you have a topic you want to cover but you’re having trouble getting started, change it from a How-To article, to a Q & A article, or a list article, or…
I don’t know about you but sometimes I just get tired of being “nice” and “informative” and … blahhhhh. Sometimes you just wanna kick up your heels and raise a little … well, you get the picture. If you’re having trouble conquering that blank page, look around. What’s everybody talking about today? Now – DISAGREE! Of course, you’ll want to be able to back up your opinion, otherwise you’ll just look silly. And be careful about naming names and pointing fingers. You’re writing a controversial blog post to start a discussion, not a war.
How Do You Do It?
As a blogger, and as an interesting person, you do all kinds of things, all day long. Pick something and tell your readers how you do it.
Mash-Ups And Top 10′s
If you’re really at a loss, look at your analytics and put together a list of your Top 10 posts for the past 30 days. Or put together a list of the Top 10 people you follow on Twitter. Create a Mash-up of the best blog posts you’ve read this week, or the best YouTube videos you saw, or the best places to find XYZ.