Breaking through blogger’s block

I admit it. I’m a SEO writing slacker.

It’s been two weeks since my last blog post – and I don’t have a reasonable excuse. I can’t play the “too busy” card (although it’s true; my life has been unusually full lately.) Nor can I lament how the Muse has left me — she’s right here, guiding how I craft my emails and pen my copy.

It’s merely a minor case of “blogger’s block.” That is, I could write if I had to — I just didn’t have anything to say. Or I knew exactly what to say, but I’m such a perfectionist that I would sweat every little syllable until a 100-word blog post turned into an 8-hour endeavor.

The end result is the same: intense pressure to get over the blogging block — and fast!

Don’t get me wrong. SEO copywriting dry spells can be a wonderful thing. Giving one’s creative juices a chance to build often leads to impressive, explosive results. I wrote my book Successful Search Engine Copywriting after a two-month writing dry spell in four focused months. I don’t remember much about the process, nor do I remember how long it took me to recover. I just know that I needed the calm before the writing storm.

However, every dry spell needs to end. And every blogger must break through his block. If you’re wondering how to forge ahead and groove in the blogging flow, here are six tips to get you started.

  1. Write in short, focused spurts. Sometimes, I can only write for five minutes before I burn out. Other times, my eyes will be red, squinty and dry from a five-hour type-a-thon. If you have the freedom to work when you’re feeling energetic and focused, learn to ride your peak writing time waves. The more “on”you are, the better your writing.
  2. Don’t push the process if you’re not feeling creative. This can be incredibly tricky if you’re on deadline – after all, “the Muse isn’t with me” isn’t a reasonable excuse for a missed milestone. However, if you have some wiggle room, it’s amazing how a half-day break can make a huge difference.
  3. Enlist an accountabilabuddy (thank you, South Park, for that fantastic term.) More nag than Muse, your accountabilabuddy isn’t afraid to ask you hard questions like, “Did you write something today?” Or, “So, I checked your blog today. When ARE you going to write something?” The good news? After enough nagging, you’ll get embarrassed at your laziness, give in and write. Trust me. (And thank you, Ron.)
  4. Create an editorial calendar. Newspapers and magazines plan their story ideas months in advance. Although “months in advance” may not be applicable in the blogging world, planning a week’s worth of content is a snap. Besides, you’ll save scads of time wondering what you should write about.
  5. Be mindful of spur-of-the-moment ideas. I’m more of a spontaneous noticer than an editorial planner. Watching South Park was the exact spark I needed to pull this post together. Other times, talking to a lead or client gives me the fodder I need for some fearsome writing. If you can’t act on the idea right away, it’s a smart idea to write it down. I’ve kicked myself many times over the great blog idea that got away and went poof out of my brain.
  6. Give yourself a break. It’s OK if you don’t write a 500 word blog post every time. And it’s also OK if you’re just commenting on someone else’s post and nothing more (thank you, Graeme McLaughlin from BCAA for that reminder.) Yes, you want more content than noise, and no, a 25-word blog post won’t do. But if the Muse is on a temporary holiday, do what you can do to keep writing. Now if I could only listen to my own advice”