Writers' block. That phase when you open blogger to write a new post, stare at your screen for several minutes, then close blogger. You open it again after sometime, stare at it for some more time, then close it again. You keep doing this repeatedly until you start wondering whether you even deserve to be called a writer. (Me, a writer? Are you kidding? The only thing I've written in 2 weeks is a grocery shopping list... and even that with Dad's help!)
You begin to wonder if this is a punishment from God for cheating on your diet regime. Or perhaps the aliens invaded your right brain while you were sleeping, and stole most of it. Eventually, the 'drama queen' in you steps back, and you realize you've just been hit with the notorious writers' block!
That's when this post will come in handy - my 10 tips to beat that stubborn writers' block.
10 Tips To Overcome Writers' Block:
- Build a series of posts around a theme. The series could be month-long or week-long. For example, check out these two month-long themes on my blog: 30 Days Of Me and Live Life. And then there were "Suku's Sevenses"... week-long mini blog-series, made popular by Sukupedia (http://sunitakurup.blogspot.in) during the UBC July 2013. She picked up a different theme for every week and wrote 7 posts on each theme. This monthly/weekly theme technique not only gets your ideas more organized and keeps you blogging regularly, but it also keeps your readers coming back.
- Get going when the going is good. In other words, write extra when the creative juices ARE flowing! We all get hit by writers' block every now and then. It's a natural phenomenon I guess. I used to really fret about those times earlier. But then I adopted this workaround. I just type out the rough ideas (whenever they hit me) and save them in drafts. Then I can build upon them when I don't have any new ideas flowing in.
- Look for blog tags to do. You can directly search for them on google and find dedicated sites that round up tags from the blogosphere. One such site is Sunday Stealing (http://sundaystealing.blogspot.com/). Or you can search through the labels widget on specific personal blogs you follow, and look for "tags". Some bloggers (intelligent ones, like me! :P) categorize all their tag posts under a specific label. You can check out their posts under such a label and, if you like something, then just go ahead and tag yourself with it! You could get back into the groove of writing that way. If you don't believe that something as silly as a blog tag can help you overcome writers' block, then you need to read this article: 5 Reasons Why Tags Are Good.
- Diversify. This is obviously not applicable to non-personal niche blogs and news blogs, but if you have a personal blog and you hit a writers' block, then you might want to take a step back and broaden your horizons. Photo bloggers could attempt writing for a change. Writers could try their hand at photography. Try making cartoons or write micro-fiction. Explore. Express. Challenge yourself.
- Participate in blog challenges. Yes, like the UBC or the Photo-A-Day challenge. The best thing about these challenges is the networking that comes with them. There are people waiting every day to read your new post. Just like exercising daily becomes easier with a partner/group, so does blogging. The other participants of the challenge motivate you to keep going, showing their appreciation in the form of comments and even ideas to blog about when you hit a dead end.
- Participate in blog link-ups. If you think daily blogging for a month (or even a week) might be too much for you, then you can simply search for current blog-hops and link-parties in the blogosphere. They are very similar to the previous point, except that they are just single-post challenges and not month-long challenges. You get a topic/theme to write on and you get some extra traffic from the linky participants.
- Prompts and contests. Join in for BlogAdda's Write Over the Weekend prompts, or pick up a topic from an ongoing contest on IndiBlogger.
- Scout the forums for ideas. This post happened while going through the BlogAdda forum. At times, I even find my inspiration on Facebook. For example, the posts filed under Wordless-Wednesday and Silly-Saturday here, are usually sourced from Facebook. Sometimes though, something shared by someone on my Facebook timeline also gives me the idea to write a complete new post. Quora is also a good source for generating blog ideas these days.
- Read. Books or other people's blogs. Or even the stupid newspaper! Just read. Treat yourself to words. There's nothing that stimulates a writer more than words. Just a few words can unfold a hundred different stories in a writer's fertile mind.
- Write about your writers' block. Yes, there's always that option, you know. You can write about "why you can't write a post today". You think it's not possible to write complete coherent posts on your writers' block? Then maybe you need to take a lesson or two from Shilpa Garg. She even manages to do Ten-On-Tuesdays on her writers' block! And what crazy posts! Have a look - http://shilpaagarg.com/2012/12/ten-on-tuesday-26.html, and http://shilpaagarg.com/2013/07/ubc-day-30-no-post-today.html! :D
If nothing else works, just take a break. You probably need it. Watch movies. Read books. Find some kids in your neighborhood and spend some time with them. Go for a stroll around your building and find some fresh pigeon antics to report on. Join some new course or hobby classes. Come back charged with a fresh arsenal of blog ideas, completely free from your writers' block.
Here's more in "Ten-On-Tuesday"!