Maintaining an active blog is great for your business. It helps establish you as a thought leader. And it keeps a steady supply of fresh content on your site, which Google loves. But writer’s block hits even the most creative business bloggers sometimes. Today, we’ve got some tips to get the words flowing again when you feel stuck.
Block #1: You Don’t Have Ideas
OK, we’re willing to bet that you do have ideas. But the problem is that you’re not remembering them when you sit down to write. You need a system for capturing ideas when they do come to you. The best system depends on what works for you. We’re partial to apps like Google Docs or Evernote. You can access them anywhere and, if you have a team, everyone can throw their ideas in the same file. Another advantage is that the files you create in these apps are searchable, so you can quickly find ideas related to a particular topic.
What if you really are fresh out of inspiration? Take a class or attend a conference (like SXSW Interactive – our fave). Being around other people who are growing and innovating can breathe new life into your thought process and spawn new ideas. You can also talk to people who fit the profile of your target customers. Ask about their pain points or what they would find helpful or interesting. Then write about it!
Block #2: It Seems Too Overwhelming
Sometimes, though, you do have an idea — but you feel like you’ll never have the time or the energy to capture that idea in a blog post that does it justice. Chances are, your idea is too broad for a single blog post. This is one of the most common causes of blog writer’s block. It’s pretty understandable. When you love your area of expertise and you know it inside and out, you just keep thinking of more details you want to include in your post. And writing it gets more and more unwieldy. Remember, though, that your blog is a long-term project: You don’t have to fit everything you know about your subject into one post. You can write about different aspects of it in the future. Getting ultra-specific (scroll down to the second tip in the link) with your posts also attracts readers.
Block #3: You’re Haunted By Your English Teacher
Sadly, many of us get writer’s block because someone told us we were bad at writing when we were impressionable kids. If a persnickety English teacher gave you a lifelong insecurity about writing, you’ll be happy to know that it’s OK to bend or break the rules sometimes. So go ahead: Start sentences with conjunctions. Judiciously use sentence fragments.
And even single-sentence paragraphs.
(See what we did there?)
Don’t get us wrong, though. You’re still going to look bad if you make mistakes like mixing up “your” and “you’re.” Check out this list of other common errors to banish from your writing. But don’t even worry about grammar in your first draft. Just get your ideas out. Later, you can invite your inner English teacher back to edit. And, of course, you can also hire a copyeditor to polish things up.
Block #4: You’re Worried You Won’t Sound Smart
Maybe somewhere along the way you picked up the idea that “smart” writing sounded formal or fancy or business-y. Or that it had to use lots of big words and complex sentences. All of that can be intimidating to think about when you sit down to write! But the kind of writing that works best online is friendly, conversational and down-to-earth. It gets to the point quickly, and it’s easy to scan. Simple, clear writing had plenty of fans way before the Internet even existed. “Vigorous writing is concise,” William Strunk Jr. wrote in “The Elements of Style,” a revered writing guide first published in 1920. “A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts.”
Need some help starting or maintaining a blog? We offer a range of services, from initial planning to ongoing blog-writing. Contact us today to learn more.