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2014 Reboot: Find Motivation and Inspiration to Blog Better This Year

We are mining ProBlogger content this week for super-useful information to kick-start your blogging year with gusto. Today we go all the way back to the early days of ProBlogger.net, where Darren encouraged us to put our best effort into our blogs, showing us how to find motivation and interest in the most inspiring of places.

This post “Declaring War on Blogging Apathy” was part of a series that originally appeared in 2005.

It’s time to talk about something that has the potential to KILL your blog….

Apathy.

A blogger can have the best strategic plan in the world but if they have no motivation, passion or drive for their blogging it will almost always amount to nothing at all. One of the keys to the success I’ve managed to have as a ProBlogger is that I’ve taken a long term approach to my blogging which calls for constant work over 2.5 years (so far).

Whilst there have been times where my spirit has been low and the drudgery of researching, writing, networking and dreaming has threatened to put a stop to what I do – I’ve continually pushed myself to find new and creative ways to beat down the blog killer of Apathy. I’ve seen other bloggers not been able to break through this and as a result their blogs today either don’t exist or have become something like the ghost towns of the Western Movie with breezes blowing around the tumbleweed of comment spam and out of date content.

So I’ve decided it’s time to declare war on Blog Apathy and want to share a number of the things that have helped me keep my motivation up in blogging. Feel free to add your own experience and tips in comments.

• Start a Series - it gets hard to constantly come up with new topics to blog about each day so why not pick a larger topic to break down over a week or so. I find that once I’ve got a topic to work on I often get the creative juices flowing – a series can fast track the process. The past few days have definitely lifted my own interest in ProBlogger (not that it was too low) – simply because I’ve been in ‘series mode’.

• Invite questions from your readers - get your readers involved in your blog by setting the agenda for you to write about over the next few weeks of your blogging. Once again this is about stimulating ideas for topics.

• Revisit old Posts - if your archives are anything like mine they are full of posts and articles that you’ve put hours of work into. Keep in mind that many of your newer readers would not have read your old posts and so from time to time it might be worth either reposting old posts, updating old posts or simply bouncing off old posts and continuing old streams of thought.

• Redesign - I always find a fresh coat of paint can really lift a room, a haircut can improve a mood and a blog redesign can get the creative juices flowing again. Tweak it, adapt it or completely redesign it – either way you might just inject a little more energy into something that’s grown tired and find that you’ve got more energy for your blogging.

• Write Posts Ahead of Time - this won’t help you now if you’re in apathy mode – but if you’re not and currently have some energy consider writing a few extra posts that are non time specific to keep for a rainy/apathetic day. When you’re inspired write more so that when you’re not you don’t have to.

• Keep an Idea Journal - this is similar to the previous point but just involves keeping a list of possible post ideas you could write on at a later uninspired point in time. It might include just titles of posts or even a few points that you could write about. I’m constantly jotting down ideas for posts or series and even new blogs all day everyday. Take your journal with you everywhere you go so that if inspiration strikes you can capture it.

• Develop a Posting Schedule - it’s amazing what you can produce if you give yourself a deadline. Whilst for some people the idea of schedules and plans might have the opposite effect – for many of us they help keep us going. My posting goal is 25-35 posts per day – knowing what I’m aiming for helps keep me on track. Whether you’ve got a goal of 2 daily posts, or 500 monthly posts some goals can help get your blogging into gear.

• Get a Guest Blogger - put a little new blood into your blog by inviting someone else to join you in posting either while you take a short break to rejuvenate or to blog alongside you. I’ve recently added a few bloggers to a handful of my blogs and have really enjoyed both the pressure that it’s taken off me but also the energy and fresh ideas that they’ve brought.

• Read other’s blogs - sometimes its easy to become so focused upon blogging that we forget to interact with other bloggers. I remember a few months ago realizing that I rarely really read other blogs any more (apart from those I scanned each day for useful information to blog about). Get back to basics and actually read other blogs – you might just find that in doing so you rediscover the reason you started your own blog in the first place. In addition to that you’ll probably find yourself stimulated to bounce off their blogs with your own.

• Interact with other bloggers - connected to the last point I also find it very useful to not only read the work of others but to converse with them. I regularly chat via instant messaging or phone with other bloggers – in doing so we encourage and inspire each other to break through the dry times. So leave a comment somewhere, start an IM conversation, send an email – talk to someone. Don’t let blogging become an insular lonely thing – rather take advantage of the relational aspects of blogging.

• Meme it Up - another way to get yourself a little more interested in and energised by your blog is to start some sort of Meme. Run a competition, start a blogging project, add a quiz or survey – do something fun, creative and interactive to get other bloggers involved in what you’re doing. To be honest this is why I started the 31 Days to Building a Better Blog project - seeing the wonderful response from readers has definitely lifted my blogging spirits this week.

• Subscribe to a new Source of Information - sometimes it’s easy to get into a rut when you feel like you’re just seeing the same sorts of information on your blogs topic over and over again. So subscribe to some new keywords on Google News Alerts or Topix RSS feeds or find some new blogs to follow. If you put fresh content and ideas into your head hopefully some fresh content will come out.

• Short Posts - if you don’t have much to say – don’t say much. Keep your posts short and to the point. Even if they don’t feel profound to you, just the act of posting something might loosen the blogging creativity within you. Short posts can actually be incredibly effective communication tools also so it might just add something special to your blog.

• New Stimuli - one of the best ways to get your creativity levels up is to expose yourself to new stuff. Buy a book, watch a movie, meet someone new, go for a walk, spend time with your family, listen to some music – get out of your normal daily rhythm and expose yourself to some new sights, sounds, tastes, touches and smells. Remember that what you put into your life has a direct baring on what comes out.

• Just Write - it’s amazing what comes when you just start writing sometimes. Some of my bests posts emerged out of really dry patches when I forced myself to sit and write. The first few paragraphs might end up being scrapped – but if you keep writing you’ll eventually hit gold.

• Get a Coach - I’ve talked a few times here recently about how I’ve found myself a business coach. Whilst the two of us don’t catch up heaps these days – every hour I spend with him is invaluable. He forces me to take a step back from what I do and look at the big picture, he keeps me accountable to the direction I’ve previously set, he asks the hard questions and he encourages me when I’m in a slump. The great thing about him is that he has a very limited understanding of blogging and sees things from quite a different perspective. So get a coach or a blogging partner (you can coach each other). You might consider paying someone to do it or just find another blogger/friend/business person/family member to fill the role. Give them permission to ask questions and give you a kick in the pants if you need it.

• Take a Break - as many people have said in the comments of previous posts in this series – taking a break is often just what a blogger needs. We all need a holiday from time to time so I suggest bloggers build into their yearly rhythm extended periods of non blogging as well as shorter ones on a weekly and even daily basis. I would suggest that if you’re taking a break that you set an end time and date for it – this is important for a couple of reasons, firstly it gives your readers a sense of where you are and when you’ll be back (I find it frustrating as a reader when a blogger disappears for an extended period without warning) and secondly it puts a boundary at the end of you break which will help you to start up again.

I’m sure between us we can come up with many other strategies for breaking the back of blog apathy – I’m interested to hear the suggestions and experiences of others in comments below.

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Comments

  1. Liv Suphena says:

    Thanks for the great tips! One that help me:::
    I find that research on the more mundane things can be quite tedious when all I want to do is write! To overcome this I get one highly recommended book that covers the content of my research and simply read it in bed before I go to sleep. This takes the pressure off and prevents us from slaving away at the computer for hours! :)

    Liv @ Holisticure

  2. Mei Lynn says:

    “I regularly chat via instant messaging or phone with other bloggers” – that’s interesting (to me)…I wish I can do that. I think loneness is one of the reason I am lack motivation. Thanks for the great list of ideas!

  3. diwaker says:

    hi Stacey ,

    I 100% agree with you for ” Just Write “. If you want to write blog you have to write post big or small it depends on your mood or topic. But here i have to mention one thing that you should write only on that thing on which you are crazy. If anyone wants to write any blog he have to choose topic on his own interest only then he can maintan quality and quantity as well.

  4. Ash says:

    Some great ideas here. I like the idea of short posts. I’ve always been intimidated by the idea of writing posts because I tend to write long form content. But short posts might be the solution for me. Thanks.

  5. Lareycha says:

    I love the “start a series” idea. I think I’ll try that for my work from home blog

  6. Some very valid and helpful points here, even if the blog was originally written almost 10 years ago. I don’t think much has changed when it comes to posting blogs that people actually want to read – if you have no passion or drive, your content is going to be lacking and no one is going to want to read. Many of the points you have shared are part of the daily work of our content writers (who are responsible for writing hundreds of blogs every year) and I’ll be sure to share some of your other points with them in the hopes that it will help them in the future.

  7. Vanessa says:

    I ran a series over Christmas and it really helped with getting the juices flowing!

  8. Magda says:

    I see inspiration everywhere. In the little things. Like a song or a painting or a tough day. I write about those things. I need to. So “Just write” works for me! Happy new blogging year!

  9. Great list. I especially like the idea of creating a series!

  10. Jody Heath says:

    I’ve been following you for a long time Darren and this was a much needed message. Great tips from especially: “posting schedule”; “short post”; “just write’; & “new stimuli”. This gave me some fresh ideas!

    For my 2 cents, I’d like to add: if people saved up some of the content they write on Facebook and Twitter, it would fill quite a bit of the content gaps.

    Thanks for another great post!

  11. adam smith says:

    For my 2 cents, I’d like to add: if people saved up some of the content they write on Facebook and Twitter, it would fill quite a bit of the content gaps.

    Thanks for another great post!

  12. Dave says:

    I’m working towards my goals that I’ve set for 2014 and it sure does take some motivation every once in a while to keep going!

  13. debbie doo says:

    Thanks for a really well written Blog. Passion, motivation and drive are indeed the super ingredients. :)

  14. Rich says:

    Well I am inspired to try to make this year my year and would like to become more successful and make my website huge. I’m glad I found this site. So much great advice. Thanks.

  15. A great inspirational content for blog writers. Awesome work

  16. Kid says:

    The long term approach seems to be the key to most blogger’s (who I know) success. Also keeping that long term focus, undivided. I’ve found that the times that I’ve failed were due to me having divided attention, and focusing on too much at once!

  17. Thanks for sharing the useful information with us..Keep going!