Writers Block and Content Generation

Writers Block the bane of fresh content

I haven't posted to the One Web Company blog in about a week.  Ok, looking back, it has been closer to two weeks.  For a week, I made excuses about how busy I was.  Then this week, it hit me.  I wasn't that busy, I was experiencing writers block. 

Even today, as I sat down to write a blog, I found myself distracted by email, news feeds and social media.  In fact, I have been at my computer for almost an hour with every intention of writing the blog I sat down to write. Not a great feeling when content is king and relevant and fresh content is a major key to Search Engine Optimization and establishing and maintaining Search Engine Ranking!  

This week, I ran through all of the excuses.  Everything I tried to write did not go well.  Again, I was too busy to write.  I wasn't in the mood to write.  The empty promise, "I will do it later."  So, the question is -- When you are suffering from writer's block, how can you overcome it?

Writer's Block - Where to Start?

I have a whole list of things that I have read previously that provide a seed for writing new content.  During this time, I even avoided looking at the list.  I have more than 70 different items that help to spur my creative process to develop new content.  Today, I reviewed the list and found something in my editorial suggestions list that sparked my interest. 

To overcome writer's block, a good place to start is to maintain an editorial list of topics that you would like to write about.  This has really helped me in the past and it helped me today.  But, just like any other tool, you have to use it. 

The second step in the process is to identify when you are at your most creative.  I prefer to write either as the last thing of the day that I am doing or first thing in the morning.  When are you at your most creative and productive?  Once you know that, you can capitalize on that time.  

Eliminate Distractions

This morning, I had every intention of writing a blog post when I came in to the office.  I had every intention of getting up, making coffee and immediately going in to the office.  It didn't happen.  Again with the excuses.  I need to wake up first.  I want to finish a cup of coffee first.  I want to look at Facebook first.  I want to review my email first. 

In the words of Nike, "Just do it!" 

When you sit down to write your blog, eliminate the distractions.  Close all the other tabs in your browser.  Mute your phone.  Close your email program.  Close your instant Messenger program.  By providing a distraction free environment, combined with an idea from your editorial list, you are ahead of the curve and more likely to overcome that writers block.

Don't fight it if the flow isn't there

Have you ever started writing a blog and decided that it just wasn't sounding right?  Happens to me all the time.  If this happens, I will turn to a search engine to see what others have written about the topic I am having difficulty with.  Sometimes this works, sometimes it doesn't.  Usually after 2 or 3 attempts that fail at the blog topic, I will get a clue and change the topic I am writing about.  This works like a charm.  Typically, if I am having a problem writing about a particular topic, switching the topic allows me to get a good blog written.  

Other ways to break through

Sometimes, none of it works.  No matter what I do, the blog post simply isn't there.  I find, for me anyway, that this is an indication that something that I have learned is trying to get out through my writing.  If I take a moment and reflect on my week, I have learned something of significance.  Once I identify it, I can write about it.  A significant learning experience is a great reason to write a blog post.  

When all else fails

Every business has successes and failures.  Failures are an opportunity to learn while successes are an opportunity to, well brag about them.  What has your business done recently that is good or bad?  Good news blogs are easy.  You tell a story of the experience of marching to the successful conclusion of the success.  This will engage your readers, and who knows, maybe teach them a thing or two about how your company does things successfully.  Educating your readers on your process makes your life easier when working with new clients.  

Writing about a failure is tough.  It can be gut wrenching.  You are measuring yourself against your yardstick and coming up lacking.  By writing about the failure, you can think through what happened and identify points for improvement in your process, product and education.  You demonstrate to your readers that your company acknowledges its mistakes and grows from them.  You also educate your readers about what not to do! 

Conclusion

Writer's block can be devastating, no matter what industry you are in.  Accepting writer's block is a personal issue that only you can overcome.  Working through these issues is an education in itself.  The next time you hit it, remember:

  • Use the tools you have put in place
    • Editorial Calendar/list
    • Drawing inspiration from other bloggers that you admire and read
  • Eliminate distractions
  • Research your topic
  • Reflect on what you have personally learned
  • And if all else fails, write about a company success or a company failure

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