On Writer’s Block
It’s no secret that one of the keys to successful blogging is consistently producing engaging and quality content. Chances are, none of your favorite blogs puts out one or two posts a year— most of them probably put out at least a few a month. In fact, when you take a look at some of the more successful blogs with dedicated followings, many of them have weekly or monthly posting schedules that guarantees a reader they’ll always have a reason to stay engaged. However, regularly producing content isn’t as simple as it sounds, and can easily be thrown off by a simple two-word phrase that is the bane of every writer:
Ah yes, the dreaded writer’s block. Hours of staring at a blank page, writing a paragraph or two before erasing it, rinse and repeat. Days, sometimes weeks of feeling completely uninspired before you begin to question whether or not you should be a writer at all. Periods of time where you wonder if there are any original ideas left in the world.
Writer’s block isn’t even just about writing: artists, photographers, recipe makers, and any other kind of content creator experiences this creative blockage. But do not fret- there are ways to navigate around this natural hindrance on blogging that will keep your readership engaged while you work through to the other side.
1. Do not produce half-assed content.
This should be rule number one for all your endeavors, but let’s make this one very clear: do not put out less-than-top-quality content just for the sake of posting or sharing something. Your goal should always be to write and create things that reflect the passion and appreciation you have for your craft, 100% of the time. Not everything has to be your Mona Lisa or your best work ever, but it should always be something you devoted both your time and your heart to. If your heart isn’t in your work, your reader can tell, and it definitely doesn’t leave a good impression. If you put out enough half-assed content, your readers will eventually disengage or become bored with your inconsistency or lack of powerful offerings.
Take this as a grant of permission to take your time to work through your writer’s block. The more you pressure yourself, the longer it tends to stick around, and half-assed content is usually a result of anxiety or stress over not creating something. Know that when the time is right, inspiration will strike. Consider reading Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert if you struggle with this idea; she writes in depth about the creative process and how to open your mind to new ideas while you wait for the writer’s block to pass.
2. Use your mediums.
One of the smartest ways to go about blogging is to not use your blog as the only way to engage with your readers. Chances are what you publish on your blog or website requires considerable time and effort, whether that’s a new recipe, investigative article, or podcast episode. While you’re in-between the bigger projects you share on your blog, try tackling some smaller, less-intimidating offerings for your social media outlets. Answer an FAQ on your Instagram, share your thoughts on a relevant news article on your Facebook page, or pen an update newsletter that will remind your readers you’re still up and running, without bringing all the stress of a heart-and-soul passion project that deserves a home on your blog.
The key here is distinguishing between a digestible tidbit for your socials, and a half-assed piece of content that will bore or disengage your followers. If it’s still relevant and interesting for your readership, but not big enough to warrant a blog post, podcast, or fully-developed recipe, then share it with a fun picture on Instagram and chalk it up to maintaining your community. If it’s still relevant but just too boring or obvious to capture your full attention, yet you find yourself trying to stretch it into a blogpost, draw awareness to the fact that you’re falling prey to half-assed content creation.
3. Find your unique creative process.
Oftentimes your writer’s block is a result of an environment or process that simply doesn’t support creative inspiration. For a long time, I thought I had to do “traditional brainstorming”: sitting down with a piece of paper and jotting down bullet points of ideas. Eventually, though, I recognized that the writings that resulted from these sessions simply didn’t produce pieces I was proud of. Over time, I came to realize that the best way for me to become inspired is to simply go about life with the intention of being an observer, collecting bits and pieces until I notice a pattern arise that I’m moved to write about.
“Traditional brainstorming,” however, may work for you. Or maybe it’s long walks in nature that get your creative juices flowing. Maybe you need conversation with another person. Maybe you need to listen to music and doodle. Think back to the times when you’ve had great ideas or surprise epiphanies: chances are, that’s the space where your mind and heart are both open enough to receive whatever it is the universe is asking you to bring into the world.
Header Photo Credit: Unsplash.
Creative Community Developer at Snapfluence.
I'm the Oxford comma's biggest fan.