It happens to every blogger, sometimes more frequently then they’d care to admit. They sit down at their computer intending to whip up a quick blog post and… nothing. Not even crickets. The best they can come up with is a blank page. Call it blogger’s block, call it writer’s block or throw in your choice of profanity, you can get over the hump if you create a sense of urgency.
Remember back when you were in high school and your teacher used to give you four weeks to read a novel and then write a five-page report, complete with character analysis, plot analysis and a synopsis? If you were like most high school kids you didn’t even crack the book until the day before the report was due and then you just stayed up all night and wrote your butt off.
It probably wasn’t your best work, but you got it done and you passed. But the only reason you even started it was because you had a deadline, an imposed sense of urgency that could only be ignored under penalty of a severe grounding by your parents. If you had not had that penalty hanging over your head, had you started reading the book the day it was assigned, you probably would have just sat there staring at a blank page – just like a blogger.
Now, there are all kinds of things you can do to avoid blogger’s block. You can keep a running editorial calendar so you always know what you’re going to write about when you sit down at your computer. You can read lots of books and blogs for new ideas and write those ideas in an idea journal, and then transfer them to your calendar as needed.
But you’re still going to have days where you’re stuck staring at a blank page and can’t come up with a single good idea. That’s when you need to create a sense of urgency. Something that forces your brain to start working and your fingers to start typing. Here are some suggestions:
If you normally don’t start working in the morning until you’ve had a cup of coffee, tell yourself you can’t have that caffeine until you’ve written at least four paragraphs.
Drink two large glasses of water. Within about 20 minutes you’re going to feel a certain “urge.” But you can’t get up to take care of it until you’ve written at least one page of content.
Sit down at your computer at 8:40 p.m. and tell yourself you can’t start watching Grey’s Anatomy until you have a blog post written. (Grey’s Anatomy comes on at 9 p.m. And if Grey’s doesn’t work, choose your own favorite TV show.)
Put a frozen pizza in the oven and tell yourself, no matter what, you can’t remove the pizza from the oven until you’ve written a blog post. You’ll have about 20 minutes before your pizza starts to burn.
The next time you find yourself staring at a blank page, set yourself a deadline that has a penalty if you miss it. There’s nothing like a sense of urgency to get the ol’ creative juices flowing.