Writer’s Block

Blog writer’s block: How to decide what to blog about

We’ve all been there. Sitting at our desks, staring at a blinking cursor waiting for inspiration to strike. The dreaded “Blogger’s Block” has set in and it seems determined to convince our minds to think of anything other than a witty, clever, sharable blog post.

“Maybe I should check my email.”

“Did Susan really just say that on Slack?”

“I’ll never write again.”

I know it seems like you’ve already written your last great blog post, but you haven’t. They’re in there, they just need a little wheedling to pull them out of their shell. To help you get started, here are a few ways to clear the cobwebs and get a few blog ideas down right now.

Take a walk

For real. Stop reading, stand up and walk away from your computer. Don’t worry, it will be here when you get back. I’ll wait —

How was that?

Taking a walk does a number of things for the creative mind. For starters, a physical change in perspective engages different ways of thinking and gets you out of that feedback loop you call “being busy”.

After a short walk and a proud stroll back to your desk, you’ll be full of ideas — or at least incentive to get back and write.

Read

In Stephen King’s definitive guide on the craft of writing, aptly named, On Writing, King says there are two things any aspiring writer must do to become a writer: Read a lot and write a lot. Since you are reading this out of difficulty with the latter, we’ll focus on the other requirement — reading.

Seriously, read anything. Ideally, something unrelated but interesting. Let me explain.

Read something scientific, read something uplifting, or something depressing. Read a few pages in your favorite book. Read the ingredients of that superfood drink you bought this morning — Corn syrup, really?

Reading does a couple of things: First, reading gives your mind a writing voice. The writing mind is just like any other system, you put something in and you get something out — input/output. By filling up your brain with something interesting and engaging, your mind starts to think in interesting and engaging ways.

Second, reading connects the dots between subjects and ideas, especially when reading something unrelated to your field. For example, reading an article on a recent archaeological discovery may lead you to an idea such as:

“Loyalty Discounts: Uncovering the Hidden Value of your Oldest Clients”

OK — that might be a stretch, but you get what I’m saying. Reading is just as important to writing when suffering from blogger’s block.

I would also like to suggest listening to something unrelated but interesting such as a podcast or TED Talk.

Write Solutions to Your Own Problems

Finally, an extremely effective approach to curing bloggers block is through introspection. No, I don’t mean examining your own feelings or personal baggage, you don’t have time for that. I’m talking about looking at problems you’ve experienced in your own profession, career or through running your business. This inward examination accomplishes two goals:

  1. You finally devote attention to problem areas of your business or career that are often ignored — the hard-to-swallow truths highlighting your own limitations or weaknesses. This allows you to begin thinking about possible solutions to some of these problems and —
  2. If the issues in question aren’t so insurmountable as you want to believe, you’ll be able to begin applying these solutions to better your business or career. After you’ve figured out what to do (and hopefully defined a path to said solutions), you can sit down and tell the world what you did to solve your own nagging issues and help others in need who are struggling with similar challenges.

Don’t Force It

There are many avenues to inspiration. Most of the time, my best ideas arise in the bathroom. Don’t ask me why, I don’t get it either. However, just because my muse is bolted to the floor and cold in the morning doesn’t mean I spend my time fighting writer’s block sniffing urinal cakes and getting drunk on mouthwash.

If you can’t think of anything to write, just stop. Stop thinking. Stop doing whatever it is you’ve been doing today. Stop caring about what to write. Stop caring about your deadline, losing your touch or encountering your boss’s vapid opinion. Flush your insecurities and watch them drown. Leave work early. Go get drunk. Turn off your phone. Realize that there isn’t a top ten list you could write to save the world, and remember the sun will eventually burn this rock to nothing and your consciousness will be a smattering of photons leaking from the fabric of space, enjoying the expanse.

Maybe write about that.