Close
Close

Change your Blogging Voice – Battling Bloggers Block

Blog Tip 17. Write in a different voice

It’s easy to get bored and stale with one tone of writing so it might be worth mixing it up occasionally and experimenting with a new voice.

While you don’t want to do this all the time (it’s important to establish a voice and develop some consistency in a blog) – it can be refreshing to do from time to time.

Write something in the third person, write a rant, inject some humor, write a fictional scenario etc. Change your voice or tone a little and you might just find it creates a bit of a spark in you (and your readers) that spawns a whole new aspect to your blog.

I noticed the impact of changing your voice a while back when I let loose with a little bit of a rant post – I got email from a couple of readers saying that they saw a different side of me when I did it – a bit of a change from the ‘nice/goodie goodie’ label I seem to get from time to time. I also found that it got me thinking in a different way – something that brought a bit of energy back into my blogging.

Read the rest of the battling bloggers block series

Macro and Micro Posting – Battling Bloggers Block

Blog Tip 16. Macro and Micro Posts

Most niches have both big and little picture aspects to them. Good bloggers have a grasp of both and are able to expand upon them in the one blog. For instance in the Pro Blogging niche some big picture issues include topics like How Bloggers Make Money from Blogs (a broad sweeping overview of the blogging for money ‘industry’) where as a micro post might be something like How to Use Keywords in Titles (very focused upon a minute (yet important) aspect of the whole niche).

It’s a worthwhile exercise to surf back through your past few months archives and to analyze what type of posts you predominately focus on. Are you a Macro or Micro posting blogger or something in between?

Don’t beat yourself up about being one or the other – we each have our own personality types and are drawn to different aspects of our niches – it’s OK to be one or the other – all I’m arguing is that to switch over to the area that you don’t normally focus upon can be one way to get past bloggers block.

If you predominantly focus on broad sweeping topics try breaking it down and examining one small part of it at a time – perhaps you could do this as a series of posts over a week or so.

Conversely if you always blog about the details take a step back and consider a post that talks about the whole industry that you are involved with. What is the state of your niche? What are the issues that it is currently facing? Where is it heading as it moves into a new year?

Diversifying your posts in this way can not only help you find new topics to blog about – but it can give your blogging a new dimension and help to show your own diversity of expertise on the field in which you blog as people see you have a broad handle on the topic.

[Read more...]

Use Your Archives as Inspiration

Blog Tip 15. Read your Archives

After you’ve been writing on a topic for a year or more it’s normal to get to a point where you feel like you’ve said everything that needs to be said on a topic.

While you might have covered your topic fairly comprehensively it’s worth remembering that most of your readers will not have read everything that you’ve previously written – and if they have they are unlikely to remember it all. I’m constantly being asked by readers about topics that I’ve already covered which proves this point.

There’s no rules against having two or more posts on your blog on the same general topic.

Go back over some older posts and tackle some of the topics you’ve written about previously again.

One way of doing this is simply to write a new post on the same topic – another way that some bloggers use is to update an old post and then to change the post day to be the most recent one on your blog. The good thing about this is that it means your archives don’t become quite as dated as they could otherwise – especially useful if you are giving tips on an industry that is changing quickly.

Of course you can only write on the same topic so many times so be a little careful about using this technique too much or you run the risk of disillusioning your readership.

Bounce off Yourself - Another technique that I notice some bloggers use is to write posts that bounce off previous posts like you might bounce off another blogger’s posts. To do this pick an old post that you’ve written and write something that extends what you previously wrote. For example:

[Read more...]

Use Comments as Inspiration – Battling Bloggers Block

Blog Tip 14. Use Comments as Inspiration

Comment on Others Blogs – Have you ever started commenting on someone else’s blog and found that your comment turns into quite an epic!? You get to the end of it and you realize that you’ve been so inspired that you’ve virtually written a blog post? Maybe you have.

I quite often use the comments that I leave on other people’s blogs as the starting point for my own posts.

Of course I always link to the place I left the comment to acknowledge the blog that got my juices flowing – but reading and commenting upon other bloggers ideas is often a great way to break through bloggers block. Similarly participating in online forums that focus on the niche of your blog can help get you going. I quite often use what I write in forums as the basis for posts.

In the same way you can always mine (as in dig for gold) the Comments Section on Your Blog.

The comments section on your own blog can be a fertile ground for ideas for new posts. I’m often inspired by the comments left by readers here at ProBlogger and use them as the starting points for many of my new posts.

This is tip 14 of the Bloggers Blog Series

Find Your Golden Hour – Battling Bloggers Block

Blog Tip 13. Find your Golden Hour

I’m a (mid) morning person – 10am until midday are what I call my golden hours. They are when I am at my best in terms of thinking creatively and getting things done.

That’s not to say that I fall in a heap for the rest of my day. All I know is that if I need to be coming up with ideas, writing important posts, run a class (six figure blogging started at 10am Melbourne time) or thinking through the big issues that those are the hours I put aside for this type of work.

Identify those time/s in the day (some of us have a number of golden hours – I often come alive at about 10.30pm also) when you’re at your best and clear those times of the day for your most important and creative work.

Dead Patches – On the flip side of the Golden Hour is that most of us also have dead patches in our daily rhythm. For me it’s 2pm – 4pm. I’m next to useless at this time of day when it comes to productivity – it’s like my brain shifts into siesta mode. So most afternoons at this time you can find me either having an afternoon nap, in the garden, reading a novel or catching up with people.

It’s really about finding your own rhythm as a person and working within it to work to your strengths and weaknesses to get your best results.

Mix it Up – Of course every rule has it’s exceptions and another thing you might want to try is to completely mix things up from time to time. If you always write at the same time each day religiously – try changing it up occasionally as an experiment. Get up early and try writing, stay up late, write in short sessions etc. Mixing up the time of day and/or the lengths of time you assign for writing can cause you to approach the task of writing differently which could bring different results.

What’s your daily rhythm like? Do you have a Golden hour (or more than one)? What do you schedule into these times?

[Read more...]

Stimulate your Mind – Battling Bloggers Block

Blog Tip 12 – Stimulate your Mind

This bloggers block tip is really an extension of the last one on taking breaks – but I guess it’s about what you do on your break that can make it even more powerful for adding to your creativity.

The saying of ‘what goes in comes out’ is true – what you put into your mind has a direct impact upon what comes out of it.

I find that when I’m in a ‘dry patch’ in terms of generating content or coming up with ideas that I’m also often in a dry patch in terms of what I’m doing creatively in the rest of my life.

I purposely listen to music, go to the movies, watching the news, read a variety of books, magazines and newspapers, hang out with creative and innovative people, get out in the vegetable patch, do some photography etc to engage my senses and fill my brain with new ideas. When I do this I generally find that I come up with more interesting ideas and am more productive.

Particularly useful is to do new things – take yourself out of your comfort zone into a completely new experience can shake you out of that numb blocked state.

Take a Break – Battling Bloggers Block

11. Take a Break

It seems an appropriate day (with many of my US readers currently off eating Turkey and being thankful) to talk about having a break from blogging.

Whether it’s a longer holiday, long weekend, day off or even a lunch or coffee break – time off is probably one of the most essential tips I’d give Pro Blogger types. I got sucked into the 7 days per week 12 work life earlier in the year and it’s perhaps the quickest way to deteriorate your effectiveness as a blogger and the quality of your content. It can also be one of the major causes of bloggers block.

It’s just not worth it to work so crazily. I still work very hard at my blogging these days – but time off is essential and is a big part of being productive and building a sustainable blog.

On a personal level I try to build time off into my blogging in a number of ways including:

  • Holidays – this year we’ve gone away for a number of breaks (in June we were away for the whole month).
  • Weekends – in the later half of this year I’ve scaled back my weekend blogging. I still do it but only lightly and as a last priority.
  • Daily breaks – I’ve mentioned a couple of times that I’ve started a vegetable patch – it’s become a way that I regularly break up my day. I also go for walks, photographic expeditions etc during most days.
  • Friendship breaks – I’m regularly using lunch breaks and afternoons (when I’m not productive) to spend time with people. I found that being a solo business person meant I needed to be a bit more pro-active in my social interactions with people.
  • Breaks from Blogs – recently I’ve been taking days off from specific blogs. One of the challenges of running multiple blogs is that it’s easy to get a little burnt out and bored with some subjects (not ProBlogging of course….). One way to combat this is simply to take an intentional day off from time to time from a specific blog. I often find that when I do this I come back to the blog with a fresh approach and energy for it.

It’s pretty basic stuff really – I’m sure many people don’t struggle with the time off factor like I do but I tend to be something of a workaholic and so this post is probably more for me than anyone else.

I’m off for a coffee….

[Read more...]

Using Blog Deadlines to Defeat Bloggers Block

Deadline10. Set a deadline

When I was at school and then university one of the things that got my act together the most when it came to writing essays was a looming deadline. I work well under pressure (or maybe I’m just lazy and don’t work well when there is a lack of pressure) so deadlines work very well for me and I set them for myself in my blogging on a regular basis.

Deadlines need to be used with caution (they actually can be the cause of bloggers block for some people) but I find that having posting goals and deadlines helps me to keep fresh content turning over on my blog.

Deadlines can take a number of forms and can range from setting yourself a daily posting goal to starting a series of posts (ie tell everyone that over the next week you’ll write a post per day on a certain topic and you’ve suddenly made yourself accountable to writing something every day – other people waiting for a post can be just the motivation you need).

Another type of deadline that I know a few bloggers use is to have a blog buddy who they keep themselves accountable to by telling them their goals and asking the other blogger to check up on them. I know one blogger who does this same thing with his wife – she reads and counts his posts every night (quality and quantity check) – not to check up on him because she doesn’t trust him – but because he finds that it helps to keep him motivated to know someone is watching with that purpose in mind.

One note of qualification – deadlines suit my personality type but I don’t recommend them for everyone. Try them but if they cause you more stress then they are worth and they decrease the quality of your work rather than increase then give them away and find some other methods to keep you inspired.

[Read more...]

Blogger Collaboration – Battling Bloggers Block

9. Collaborate with other Bloggers

Run out of ideas? Find someone who hasn’t to work with.

One of the great things about blogging is the relational aspect of it. The ideas that come when you put your head together with someone else are often quite amazing. Collaboration can happen on many different levels including:

  • Guest Blogging - get someone in to write on your blog from time to time to freshen things up
  • Blog Swaps – swap blogs with another blogger for a day
  • Joint Posts – write on a topic together in a one off way
  • Interviews – interview each other
  • Joint Blogs – start a blog with someone – split up the work (and rewards) between you
  • Blog Network – one of the things I like most about networks is the companionship and new possibilities to work together that they can bring
  • Chatting on IM/email - just chatting about your blog, it’s goals and how you’re going with your blog can be a real motivator. If I have an idea for a new blog I quite often do a brainstorming session with another blogger or two around the idea.
  • Participate in discussion forums – there are many discussion forums out there which can not only be quite informative but which give opportunity for collaborating around ideas

Rubbing shoulders with other bloggers (and non bloggers) keeps me sane and is one of the main reasons that I’m able to sustain what I do. Without it blogging can become a pretty lonely existence.

Read more of the Bloggers Block Series