We’ve all done it. Stared at our blog or favourite social networking site and wondered what on earth we could write that the world would want to read. With so much information at our mouse-fingertips, writing on the web should be easy, but it isn’t. That empty screen with a flashing cursor can be just as debilitating as the blank sheet of paper that has haunted writers since we first dipped our quills.
There’s no silver bullet solution here, but there are lots of things you can do to avoid future attacks of writer’s block. Here are my top tips:
Devise your own editorial calendar. Sometimes it’s the simplest of ideas that help the most. For example, if you’re tweeting or blogging for your business, work out a basic schedule for the week ahead. Something as simple as this might help, but you should decide what would work best for your needs:
Monday am: Top tip
Monday pm: Ask a question
Tuesday noon: Share photo
Wednesday: Special offer
Thursday am: Best of our blog
Friday noon: Weekend tips
Friday pm: Follow Fridays and thanks
Collect and save anything interesting that you come across. You might store your raw material and stimulus in a little black book, in a file folder on your desktop, or in an old carrier bag under your desk. It doesn’t matter how do it, just do it. Next time you’re looking for inspiration you’ll know where to start.
Think like a journalist, always looking for a story or an unusual angle to explore. Ask yourself “what would my readers think of this?” and the ideas will start to flow.
Subscribe to interesting content from writers you admire and trust, but don’t just restrict yourself to the web. Dead tree publications, films and TV, and conversations down the pub can all spark ideas. Inspiration can come from anywhere.
Just write. Get it all down, throw your thoughts at the page and leave worrying about how it reads for later. There’s plenty of time for editing, but you need something to edit first so capture your ideas before they flee.
Go easy on yourself. Unless you’re paid by the word with rigid publishing deadlines to meet, chances are you don’t actually have to write anything right now. If you’re not feeling in the mood, relax and go do something else. Before long you’ll have hit on a new idea and will be racing back to your keyboard to tell the world.