To make money online, you need traffic. To get traffic, you need content. Now where have you heard about this before? Needless to say that content is one of the most important part of all your blogging efforts. This is particularly true if you are monetizing your blog or blogging for business. However, come a time when the need of creating content meets writer’s block. Not sure what to write, not sure where to start, and you keep thinking and thinking and nothing, nada, zero. You just can not get that magic click of what to write next.
What can you do to beat writer’s block?
If occasionally you suffer from the Writer’s Block Syndrome (WBS), sometimes, the best thing to do is just have several cups of coffee (beer if you prefer), blog hop, make comments, have fun Twittering, and clear your mind. But hey, you are stubborn and determined to write something. You are afraid that you are lagging behind your competitors and you must post an article, at the risk of killing your blog. Should this be the case, here are some tips to help you source content for new articles:
1. Your old articles: These will include your archives of articles that you have published in the past. It is very easy to go through them and If you have been blogging for a while, chances are, you have written some articles that needs updating. Review some of your older posts and see whether there are outdated information where you can provide a newer or fresher version of the events.
2. Comments: Check your comments and look for possible hints to prepare for your next article. Sometimes people leave questions and even suggestions that are worth exploiting. What better article to write than those that your own readers suggest? You can also visit your favorite blogs and browse through the comments section. The same method applies.
3. In the mood: Contrary to writer’s block, there are days that you are on the roll. Take advantage of that vitamin and write as many posts as you can. Make them short (250 – 400 words) and schedule them for publishing. Those days can easily rack 3 – 5 articles in a snap.
4. “Top 7” or “List of” Articles: Everyone likes content they can read very fast. Why not create top 7 lists (or any number of “Top” things) related to your area of expertise. You can begin by creating a headline such as “Top 7 Blogging Tips For The Newbies” and then number the list from 1-7. Come up with a sub-headline for each tip and then do one paragraph describing the tip. You’ll find these are easy to produce and crank out several of them per week.
5. Forum Posts: If you belong to a few forums that you might call yourself a “resident expert” on, chances are that you have made forum posts that can be easily converted to a blog post. All of your old forum posts that are greater than 250 words in length can be a source for great new articles that you can put into distribution and create more traffic.
6. Keyword Research: Google Insight or any keyword research tool can discover topics that people are currently searching for that can be related to your area of expertise. Use this as a springboard to launch another article, each related to answering or providing short tips on how to solve or get more out of the keywords they searched for.
7. Free Articles: Article directories can be great sources for ideas. Go to some of the best article directories and browse through the area you are interested abut and sort them by “freshness”. Scouring through these directories can easily provide you with some ideas to write about, in your own voice.
8. Ask a series of questions. Stuck? Rather than writing an article, why not brainstorm a list of questions your readers are most likely to wonder about. You can for example ask anything from blogging questions to experiences they had with Google+. Obviously it would be wise to answer them. Depending on the amount of responses you get, this is a very simple way to turn a series of questions into reports or perhaps even fresh ideas for new blog posts.
9. Don’t obsess about writing something. Try avoiding the “I must write something” the first thing you think about in the morning. It could be very depressing, specially when you are not inspired. If you can’t really think of something to write about, spend your time interacting with your friends, commenting, etc. Perhaps you can even pick up something you left undone on your to do list. That could be a great time to tackle on things you have pending. You may be surprised, that sometimes just by not thinking of having something to write, is when good “ideas” pop up. When that happens, go for it 🙂
10. Social Media. Sites like Quora, Mahalo, Twitter and even Google+ have many people asking for help or questions. Perform a search about topics that are related to you and scan through those. You might just find something that can spark an idea and get inspiration. Sometimes, responding to “real” questions is easier than second guessing.
11. Interview someone. Reach out to known bloggers and interview them on their topics of expertise. Preferably, the interview will be about something that is relevant to your topic. Conduct the interview via email, Skype, podcast, etc. Then construct a blog post around it.
12. Create Videos. OK, not really a writer’s block breaker, but you can take advantage and perhaps create videos of a “how to something”, by transforming a popular article you have to a PowerPoint presentation and then to video. Not only you are generating content, you are also getting the advantage of marketing your site on a different medium.
That’s it! I wrote this post precisely because I had this syndrome the last couple of days. I have to admit that it is a horrible feeling, wanting to write something, had some ideas, and yet that keyboard is just starring at you waiting for something to happen:) What about you? Have you suffered this syndrome before? What did you do to beat it?
35 thoughts on “12 Tips To Create Your Content and Beat Writer’s Block”
Great article yet again. I enjoy writing very much. But great advice is to write relaxed, the flow will come gradually. Really enjoyed this one as I’m always struggling to come up with unique and fresh content.
You are welcome Sahil. I can totally relate to you on sometimes “struggling” to write a good posts. This happens to me when I am looking for “topics” that are relatively fresh and not one that everyone is talking about. It can really be very frustrating… Thanks for stopping. Hope if the syndrome gets to you, some of these tips can help.
What do you think about republishing older articles. When I first started publishing articles it was years ago and our audience was very slim.
It has grown significantly since then. Is it okay to add a quick editor’s note and republish an article that may have gone under the shadows in the past but would be great for the audience we have now?
Hi Bryce. Republishing old articles is actually a very nice move. This is specially true if you have many “old” articles that are good and are still valid today. Re-editing them to a new blog post is a lot better than having it there way deep in your site. Unless it gets a lot of organic traffic, your users will most likely never find them, only by accident perhaps. If you are not getting enough attention from that article and there are virtually no comments, you can even redirect that old post entirely to a new one. Re-write the post to update, and then redirect (not delete) the old post to the new one.
The thing to remember is that you shouldn’t force yourself to write an article just so that you can meet a deadline or your quota for the week. It would be better to not write one at all than to write a substandard one.
I’m lucky in that I don’t have quotas or deadlines to meet, I just write articles as they come to me. If I was stuck for something I would look at what was pre levant in the current news, looking for something that I know would generate interest and then write a post on that.
Hi Sire. Looking for relevant articles in the current news is actually a great source for content. IF you catch a break it might even generate massive traffic 🙂
Also, I definitely agree that writing just for the sake of writing is really not a wise move as most of the time, it tends to be just some sort of “filler” article and most likely will not be a good one.
DiTesco – great article – I have used the google insights more than once to generate ideas. When I’m really stuck though, I write about a personal experience, something that happened to me in the last day or two. Or even a family member or friend. I may or may not publish it, but it clears the block for me usually.
Hi Joe. Anything that helps to “unblock” our minds is absolutely a great form to beat the hurdle. Writing about personal experience actually is a much better approach, as most of the times, it is unique and real. That’s what people want, for as long as it relates to them 🙂
Great list! Lots of helpful ways to break that ole’ writers block. I find that creativity comes in spurts too. So if you keep a “idea” notebook handy you can have something to reference for ideas when the idea well runs dry
Hi Steve. LOL, i actually do that. Sometimes when I get some idea, but kinda lazy to write about it, I just jot down the “title” and leave it there for rainy days 🙂
Great ideas Fransisco. I really like the “forum posts” tip. I have been using this method for a long time and it works each and every time.
Sometimes, it doesn’t even have to be your own forum posts, you could get ideas just by reading other people’s response and threads on these forums.
Well said Satrap. Forums can be a great source for content, specially those that are “questions” related. The idea is to spark something to write about and running through some “threads” is equally a good way to go. thanks for stopping by and sorry for the late response
I love getting blogging ideas from forum posts.
It’s great when you can find a controversial thread, read through the whole thing and then give your spin on the subject.
These usually turn into high energy posts that practically write themselves…:)
Hi Mark. Could not agree with you more. Just like I told @satrap, forum threads are sometimes really great for sourcing content. All the best
When I hit writers block, I go do something else. Usually, by the time I get done checking forums, and reading my emails, I have several questions that I could write a post to answer.
I also keep a swipe file of forum posts where I have answered common questions that people ask, so I can always pull those out as well.
Hi James. Keeping a swipe of forum posts is actually a great idea to “temporarily” leave it somewhere handy, whenever you need them. Not doing this myself, but don’t see any reason why a perfectly good idea should be wasted 🙂 thanks for taking the time to leave your thoughts..
Great set of tips. I’ve found that once I get off track I’m doomed. Posting daily kept my writing muscle excercised and when I started becoming more sporadic some of the joy went out of it. My oldest site is in a field where there’s a huge site of fellow bloggers all writing on the same topic – sometimes I’ll scroll through that to get ideas for posts.
Hi Liz. Yep, that works too. Browsing through relevant articles, often times can pop good ideas 😉
This post helps a lot, DiTesco. I truly understand what are the inside content of your tips and this is very useful. Sometimes I’m struggling making a good content because of some reasons and quite of stress. Thanks for sharing this.
Welcome Vernon. Hopefully, if and when this “block” occurs, you can now have more ideas to source for content 🙂 All the best
Another great article Fransisco, very useful tips to get ideas about how to create new articles, of course there is an even easier way to get fresh unique content, this can be done by allowing others to write guest posts on your blog
Haha, that is the best idea ever 🙂 Should have put that one too, lol. Which reminds me, how about you? Interested in writing a post or two for me 😉 That would be great..
Dr. Mark Smith
The most important thing for me is not to force it. When I do, I end up writing something I am not proud of. Instead, I hone my awareness at things going on around me and things people are saying. Oftentimes this will click something and get things flowing. Of course, I am around people who are asking me questions every day so that in itself makes it a bit easier.
I agree, too, that people love lists and they can be a bit easier to write when that cursor is just blinking there, staring at you.
being in an environment where people tend to ask questions all the time is definitely a “life saver” 🙂 Tried to create a page about “question and answers” before to see if that would entice my readers to ask something… Did not have much luck there. Actually I think it is better if I ask a question on Twitter and FaceBook and see what people have to say. Depending on the amount of feedbacks I get, then “voilá” new blog post on the way 😉
Great article and fantastic tips… I really believe that mood is one of the best thing that makes me stop writing. Sometimes, even if I push my self harder, I can not still manage to write.
I agree Alexis. Mood definitely plays an important part when writing. If your mood is OK, then go crazy, if not, well there’s these tips that one can make use of 🙂 Thanks for stopping by
Jane | Find All Answers
I don’t force myself to write when I’m having this syndrome. But I do dump my thoughts on a text file (and this is not a blog post ;)). But then, the top scorers are blog hopping and social media participation. Both these help me relax, at the same time giving me the opportunity to trickle those nerves to get new flash of ideas as I’m in the process.
Thanks for the nice tips.
Hi Jane.. Haha, sounds like a great “stress” management to me. You are right though, often times when I get stuck about ideas, it is usually when I am not relaxed and the more I push harder the worst it gets. Best thing is to cool down the nerves and like you said, perhaps within the process get some “sparks”
Great tips, we all face writers block sometimes, i think one of the best things you pointed out is to revisit older post and doing updates.
This is one of my worst enemies when it comes to blogging. These days, even I am too busy with my college works, I know to myself that I could write some articles for my blog. And when I tried to write, I was able to start three different articles with different topics but I never finished any of them. WBS indeed.
Well, I liked your tips, especially the 4th one! That would be a great solution for my WBS.
Wow! These are such great tips, DiTesco. You’re right, there are days that you are on the troll. And not only days actually, there are also these specific times of the day when you’re very much inspired to write. Also, setting up a timer to finish writing something helps remove WBS. The adrenalin rush, you know.
I’m just wondering, would you also recommend having a guest blogger in times when you’ve hit writer’s block? 🙂
Great tips I especially like the idea of updating old posts.
Shared this via Twitter. Very informative post that will definitely help me get out of the writer’s block void. It’s sometimes hard coming up with fresh new content and I’m going to try and employ some interview tips for my website and see how that goes. The key is to never give up!
Best thing is to solve the problems asked by others. We regularly get mails about help on particular topic and then we write on that topic.
That’s an idea too… Sometimes, all you have to do is scour for questions in a lot f places, and you can come up with a good idea. Thanks!
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