Most of us are familiar with writer’s block, but did you know you can also suffer from blogger’s block (okay technically it’s the same thing but it sounds cooler, yeah?)
I should know… I’ve only just returned from my own stint away! I could go on and on about how ‘busy my schedule was over the holidays’ and how ‘life simply got in the way’, but in reality… I was suffering from Bloggers Block. The longer I stayed away, the harder the fight to come back.
But I’m here! And these are the ‘9 Tips’ I used to pull myself back from the brink.
9 Tips to Cure Bloggers Block*
1. Remember why you’re blogging in the first place
Is your blog floundering? Do you want to make an impact but have no clue how?
You need to remember why the hell you started your blog in the first place! Was it to set up your author platform (like me?) To share your Instagram-worthy travel photos or your unique take on the art of gastronomy?
If you have no clue why you started your blog, or where it’s going, you need to figure that out ASAP. When your blog lacks direction, so will your readers, because they’ll be going in the OTHER direction.
You’ll never cure bloggers block if your blog is the block. Make it your priority to figure out your blog’s purpose so you can find your niche and… your readers! If your blog offers something both unique and in demand… then you’ll have to fend off your readers with a bat (but don’t do that).
2. Create a beautiful ‘blogging space’
Some bloggers underestimate how important it is to have a zone designated purely for your writing and blogging. A little piece of the universe reserved just for you, your laptop and your creative thoughts!
You might already have a writing space, whether it is your office, garage, a desk in the spare room or a corner of the dining table. If so – refresh that space! Make it beautiful. Set aside a special mug and coaster to be used ‘exclusively’ for your blogging time. You may even want to add a vase with some freshly cut flowers or a tower of post-it notes!
You’ll be surprised at how refreshed you feel and how much easier it is to get ‘into the zone’ when your blogging space encourages your inner writing zen. I’m currently renovating my third bedroom into a writer’s study. I’ll probably blog about it one day (I’m taking progress photos for you all), but I have a long way to go!
3. Give your blog a face-lift
Like #2 above, refreshing your blog’s style may be the cure you’ve been looking for. Over the years, I’ve changed my theme multiple times, and I didn’t always get it right! The first incarnations of my blog were… interesting, to say the least. You can actually check out historic ‘snapshots’ of your blog over at the Internet Archive WaybackMachine – be prepared to shudder!
These days, whenever my blog drifts into ‘stale’ territory, I update the theme and bam! I’m hit with inspiration. I am currently using a premium theme, but if you’re on a budget, there are plenty of awesome free options like Canard – a theme I used for years! I definitely recommend you stick with themes that are clean, simple and easy-to-navigate – your readers will thank you for it.
This is what my blog used to look like in early 2017:
4. Give yourself a deadline
This trick is the real MVP. For me, the second I create a deadline, is the second my creative brain starts working again. I swear on it.
This ‘deadline’ phenomenon is something you may be very familiar with. Have you ever found yourself finishing off a project perilously close to when it’s due despite the negative consequences (aka the wrath from your boss/mum/professor)?
I have no clue why we do this to ourselves and why it feels so damn good, but writing to a deadline works, especially if you have a bunch of subscribers waiting eagerly for your content!
5. Understand that your blog will not be a success straight away
Bloggers often give up too soon because they don’t realise how long it can take to see results. A massive readership will not miraculously appear overnight! Under no circumstances do you want your blog to be one of the 99% that fails this year.
There are some bloggers who hit the sweet spot and manage to cultivate a huge following within a few months, but they are the exception. For us mere mortals, it can take at least two to three years before our wondrous musings begin to make any sort of impact – if at all.
My blog took two long years to get off the ground. What if I’d given up in the first year? What if I’d let the trolls drag me down? I certainly wouldn’t be here with you today, right now, telling you how to overcome bloggers block.
6. Start collaborating with other bloggers
When you are alone and adrift on the ocean of the blogging world, it can very easy to drown when hit by a storm. Collaborating with other bloggers is a life raft everyone should take advantage of. There are so many different ways you can do this: write about other bloggers, post a book review for an indie author, ask someone you admire to guest blog on your site… the options are endless!
When I come up blank with blogging ideas, I usually visit some of my favourite sites for inspiration. It’s amazing how many ideas you can come up with when lurking around the WordPress Reader!
Collaborating with others can be the perfect way to rejuvenate your blogging experience (and really, you’re not going to find readers without a bit of elbow grease and reciprocation, unless you’re already famous.)
If you’re coming up blank, perhaps think about posing a question to your readers. It could be as simple asking them: What’s your favourite book of all time?
7. Invest in some writing books
I’m not sure why, but this one always works for me. For some strange reason, writing books help me blog. This is why I keep my ‘Writing Book Collection’ close at hand (as in, within an arms reach of my laptop).
My current collection consists of:
- On Writing by Stephen King
- Putting the Science in Fiction by Dan Koboldt (foreward by Chuck Wendig!!)
- The Write Stuff by Taconic Writers
- Writing Without a Parachute: The Art of Freefall by Barbara Turner-Vesselago
Sometimes, I need only hold On Writing in my hands, and I’m hit by a creative bomb. My fingers will dance across the keyboard, as if by magic. It’s Stephen King after all.
8. Stumped for ideas? Write from the heart
If you’re stumped for time or ideas, dig a little deeper. Reach out and share some stories. Real stories (but only what you’re comfortable with). I’m sure everyone would love to hear about that time you accidentally printed off your manuscript at work and a colleague found it (yes, this happened to me).
My most successful blog posts are saturated with the truth and come directly from my heart. For me, I’m more likely to comment on a blog if I feel like I’ve made a connection with the writer, however small.
If there is anyone else out there that can say their favourite food is phở gà, owns 2 cats, has a strong penchant for vanilla lattes and lists Romancing The Stone as their number one movie of all time, then let me know! We could be blogging soul mates.
9. Don’t take it (and your self!) too seriously
I started my blog sans cats. One day, I decided what the hell, I may as well have some fun! So I threw a solitary Cat GIF into one of my articles.
That post changed everything.
It had never occurred to me that it was okay to do something silly. I realised then and there that my blog didn’t have to conform. I didn’t have to follow the rules. It could be whatever the hell it wanted it to be! Chuck Wendig sums up this dilemma far better than I, so I’ll leave it to him to convince you to go wild.
We really can be our own worst enemies. If you ever start thinking ‘my blog just isn’t good enough’ – stop right there. It is good enough. You are good enough. It doesn’t need to be a literary masterpiece.
Your blog does not have to be perfect. You can share your thoughts and musings in whatever messy, unclear or unsophisticated way you want. Every article you write does not have to be prepped for ‘Freshly Pressed’ (because that’s a magical unicorn anyway).
Be unapologetically you.
I mean, just look at my blog… it’s littered with cat GIFS, adjectives, grammar mistakes and overbaked clichés. But that’s who I am. I’m a cat lady, a writer who eats chocolate, drinks coffee and writes romance novels. I am a cliché. And totally proud to be!
I still don’t care if some people don’t take me seriously, my blog is proof enough that it doesn’t matter. And if I enjoy it, who’s to stop me?
* because cats have 9 lives