This is a guest post by Steven Wesley.
You’re tired, it’s late, and you cannot think of a single thing to write. Every writer has been there—desperately wanting to craft a new blog post, yet nothing shows up on the page. Perhaps it’s the dreaded writer’s block that creeps up every so often. Maybe you are simply too burnt out to form another sentence.
You believe in these statements as if they are insurmountable facts. Blogging may seem like the last thing you want to do at the moment, but just remember: you are a writer.
The words you continually pour into each blog post are single-handedly your doing. You got yourself into this lovely, messy world of blogging, and you will continue to power through—even if it feels like you can’t do it anymore.
So, how exactly are you capable of writing during these moments of distress? Look no further than expert bloggers who have been there, done that, and continue to do it again.
1. Write about something you know.
This might seem obvious to a few of you, and maybe writing about your life is the essence of your blog already. However, for those mind-numbing times of staring at your blank computer screen, this trick will prove effective.
Break this down even more to write about something—anything—that is so easy, your child could give instructions. If need be, talk about your day. Layout and review your monthly budget. Consider an opinion post on the current political climate. Critique your local restaurant or the latest big-screen flick at your movie theater.
“I started blogging about what I know and love: photography,” says famous blogger Darren Rowse of Problogger. “Soon after, I became so good at blogging that I wanted to help other bloggers. It really pays to write about what you know.”
2. Look through social media for inspiration.
Check out other bloggers or people within your blogging niche to find ideas. Social media is a powerful tool in helping you brainstorm possibilities.
Think outside of your creative box by exploring what is trending online. Check Instagram for photos, YouTube for videos, and Pinterest for a plethora of content that keeps your mind open to new possibilities.
Beyond the content that is constantly being uploaded online, social media allows you to engage with other people on different platforms. Join groups of writers on Facebook for virtual social engagements that can spark your interest with exciting ideas.
“Facebook groups are my go-to when I want to connect with others,” shares Carley Dudley from Carley Marie Project Heal. “I get to have discussions with people that have so many different viewpoints, which helps me see the world through their eyes. This especially helps me when I need to write. I just play off of what others are experiencing.”
3. Focus on the fun parts.
Even the most technical blog posts have some element of excitement. Think about it: what makes you smile? What type of story will connect with people? You might be a mom on a mission for a simple life, rejoicing over grocery bargains. You could be a high-power techy whose sole dream is to build wealth.
Whatever the case may be, your blog has a story to tell others. You created your blog’s original vision based on your own passion, right? Find that passion again. Choose some funky photos or bolded fonts to entice your readers.
Include personal anecdotes that might include a funny story. When you find the fun in writing, it doesn’t feel like work. You will probably also notice a greater following of viewers because the fun you create is also contagious.
“Blogging can’t be exhausting and fun at the same time,” says content manager Melissa Carpenter of BestDissertation.com. “So why not go for the fun stuff? If you’re bored out of your mind thinking about it, imagine how your readers will feel reading it.”
4. Break down the post into simple steps.
Perhaps your main obstacle is the fact that you’re obligated to write such large pieces. If you don’t feel particularly enthusiastic about drafting a long-form article, make it smaller for yourself.
Outline your blog post into sections that are pretty evenly spaced but still contain the appropriate amount of content. You may not be able to handle a two-thousand-word post, but you could tackle five four-hundred-word sections.
Also, “Cutting up your article’s length so that you have smaller sections is my number-one tip,” Andrea Blake, blogging expert, shares. “It makes you feel like you have so much less to do. Plus, it allows you to have a mental break about the piece as a whole.”
5. Use bullet points and numbered lists whenever possible.
These short sections provide more white space on the page, which visually allows your eyes to not become so overwhelmed by the text. Sometimes, if writers are mentally unorganized or anxious about what they have to write, the text can look sloppy.
Avoid huge blocks of paragraphs and word-vomit sentences by formatting your writing to be more appealing for audiences.
Chances are better that you will gain a wider audience this way, simply because when you are able to easily read the information, so will your viewers.
However, keep in mind that bullet points and numbered lists can become just as overused as other layouts. Too many short-form pieces of information can look lazy and unfinished.
You need to make sure that you provide enough textual support for your listed points in order for readers to fully understand the information. As a rule of thumb, a structure of short, one-line lists should only take up a third of a page, maximum.
“I love using lists that break up the text,” blogger Nathanial Grey says. “It’s easier for me to write them and feel accomplished right away. When I see that part done, I become motivated to go on and write some of the longer paragraphs.
Too many of them doesn’t look great, but I try to incorporate lists in each post I do, one way or another.”
6. Review your best pieces of work.
When you can’t remember why you blog in the first place, take several minutes to shuffle through some of your old posts. Use your editing eye to browse over its content with a fine-tooth comb. What made these posts so great? What was your message to people, and how did you deliver it?
Consider how much background knowledge you had in making these posts, what research you included, and the style of language you used. Did you add in high-quality pictures, animations, or videos?
Were there valuable links imbedded in the text? All of these elements contribute to stellar content. Look at what best worked for you, and try to replicate that structure for future posts.
Take confidence knowing you’ve done amazing pieces before, and you can do it again.
“It’s the small details that really make a difference,” Shauna White, blogging editor, suggests. “Notice the pattern you’ve developed in your most engaging blog posts.
Those are the ones you know people will read. As long as you keep writing that way, you’ll have a following in no time.”
7. Take breaks for when you really can’t write anymore.
This one is listed last for a reason, as it is the piece of advice for last resorts. When you seriously can’t pull through to write anything, and you need a break, take it. Physically leave the location of your computer to better recover your energy, and fill up on water or liquid of choice (one that is caffeinated if you have to stay up late). Make sure you remember to eat so that you restore your physical stamina, as well.
To further take your mind away from writing, do a completely different activity for a short span of time. Watch an entertaining video, take a walk, or play with your pet. Draw or paint pictures to continue stimulating your creativity, but do so without the pressure of writing hanging over your head.
Only take the time that is required to restore yourself—then get back to work.
“You need to take time for yourself when you blog,” states Tim Harris, blog marketing manager. “If you don’t devote moments in the day to recharge your batteries, of course you can feel overworked by the time you sit down and write.”
Sometimes, blogging can feel like a burden to those who cannot write for anything in the world. Mental strain, general fatigue, and writer’s block can often be symptoms for writers who do not properly take care of themselves and their writing workload.
If you happen to face one or more challenges related to writing a blog post, remember: write about what you know, break it down into pieces, make it visually appealing, focus on its enjoyable content, review your old work, and search for inspiration online.
In the absolute worst-case scenario, take a break—it is likely much needed.
For now, you have the tips and tricks from experts who have overcome their fair share of blogging obstacles. And with their support here, you will undoubtedly push past your nagging thoughts of doubt.
I can’t do it anymore will turn into Yes, I can. And that, my fellow bloggers, is what matters most.