Since I started blogging three years ago, it’s been common for me to go through creative slumps, or dry spells, when I find it absolutely painful to formulate a post, or hash out even a few favorites, takes or snapshot comments. In the past, I’d sometimes force myself to post anyway, often in a grumpy mood, and wind up with a long-winded rant or ramble about inconsequential minutiae even the most devoted stalker of a reader could not have cared less about. Other times, I wouldn’t post for a week or so and gloomily watch my page views disappear. I’d wonder whether I’d ever have another funny idea again and bemoan the fact that while I wasn’t blogging, everyone else and their mother’s blogs were blowing up with great, viral material.
Thankfully now I have the hindsight and experience (cause three years is like, 21 years in the blogosphere or something) to ride out the writer’s block and view it as an opportunity or a step towards the next big thing. I mean, this is my hobby, it’s how I unwind so it’s no good if writing is stressing me out. If you’re facing a blank page or screen, wondering if the creative juices will ever start flowing again, here’s five of my favorite things to pass the time and get your groove back.
1.READ – Now’s the time to catch up on all the blogs in your blog reader or search out new blogs. Comment, share, follow, get inspired by what’s out there and widen your community. You might discover a new favorite link up or find the perfect post to parody. (Or is that just me?)
And don’t stick to screens, read books! Read what everyone else is recommending or something totally different. Pick a book about writing or koi ponds, it doesn’t matter. While I don’t post about books often, I am continually inspired by the language, characters, information and worlds I’ve discovered from voracious reading. Sometimes escaping to Jane Austin’s England is just the thing I need to bring me out of a funk. (Perhaps a ‘Pride and Prejudice and Zombies’ fashion post is in order?)
2. Jot down every idea – Got an idea for a post that you’re not sure about? Write down a few sentences if that’s all you’ve got. Inspiring quote? Save it. Anything that makes you think “Hmmm, that might make a neat post, article, etc.” record it somewhere. Check out posts featuring writers prompts or blog title ideas, and use them to brainstorm. Even if the idea doesn’t sound great now it might generate a gang buster of a post at 5 a.m. on Wednesday of next week. I keep a folder in Evernote just for potential blog posts. It currently contains 35 lousy ideas.
3. Work on your website – Clean it up: check for dead links, add pinnable pictures to old posts, organize your categories, add tags to photos for SEO, make sure everything is up to date, freshen up the look with a new header, ETC, ETC. In other words, do all the things you usually ignore because you’re busy writing. Then when you’re back in your groove, think how great your site will look and run for all those new readers! (Old posts can also spark great follow-up posts.)
4. Crowd source – Maybe there’s something your readers want you to write about, or maybe there’s other bloggers who’d love you to join their blog hop. I’ve gotten great ideas from Facebook fans, Twitter, reader emails and friends giving me ideas in person. Even if you don’t like the ideas now, always write them down.
5. Relax and be thankful – This too shall pass. Once I recognize a creative slump I just accept it, pray it passes quickly and try to busy myself with other things (besides obsessing about my stats.) I’m a homeschooling mom; I’ve got plenty to do besides blog all day anyway.
I get writer’s block almost the same times every year. Do you notice a pattern in your ability to write consistently? Maybe there are just some seasons of life that blogging will have to take a back seat to, and that fine. Recognize it so you can be prepared and reassured when the inevitable strikes. You will write again, don’t despair.
I’ve hit creative “rock bottoms” repeatedly and felt like just walking away from the internet all together several times. But almost immediately after those lows, I was blessed with some of my biggest highs (i.e. blogging opportunities or a post suddenly went viral.) Eventually I realized maybe God was giving me a breather, just to help keep me humble and keep my priorities in check, so I could fully appreciate and be grateful for the next big thing. It’s always good for me to stop and remember to give thanks for all the readers, page views, like, shares and community support I have right now. And even without any of that, I’m still so blessed with everything else in my life. Always keep perspective.
How do you tackle writer’s block, whether it be for a blog or other writing project? Share your tips in the comments below then swing back to Five Fab Favs hosted by Melody.