Are You Struggling With Writing Your Next Blog Post?

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For a day and a half, I’ve been meaning to sit down and write/post a new article. I’ve been struggling between catching up on my “social networking” and sitting down and writing. It’s like the cartoon with the little devil on one shoulder and an angel on the other. My top “priority” (and I use the term loosely because priorities shouldn’t be ignored) has been to write an article. After all, one of my weekly objectives is to post new content (preferably early in the week).

So, the angel on my shoulder has been telling me to sit down and write and the devil has been instructing me to answer emails, comment on blogs, tweet, check Facebook and play with the cat. (Ok, that last one even I can’t justify as being remotely constructive towards reaching any work related goals.) So what do you do if you’re struggling with writing an article for your blog?

Everyone has their own reasons for blogging. Some people blog to entertain, others to educate, others to promote products or services. Regardless of what you write about or what your style is, I believe there are certain unwritten rules that successful bloggers should try to adhere to.

Criteria for Writing a Blog Post

  • Be Original (Don’t rehash other bloggers’ posts.)
  • Be Creative (If you are writing on a topic that’s covered elsewhere, at least add a new spin.)
  • Add Value (Value is in the eye of the beholder. If your post educates, entertains or even is a distraction, it may be valuable to someone.)
  • Entertain (At least try to not be boring)
  • Be Accurate (Many people believe that if it’s on the Internet it’s true. So, the least you can do is check out your facts before you post. Please.)

Personally I write to share business ideas and strategies. I like to be honest and tell you what is working for me and what isn’t. I also share from past experiences and most of all, I try to foster a conversation. As I always say, we can all learn from each other.

Inspiration for Writing

How do you get your ideas for new blog posts? Lots of times, I get my ideas from conversations with clients, friends and other bloggers. How often have we all heard, “Can I ask you a dumb question?” My reply is always that there is no such thing as a dumb question. (Well, I have heard a few but let’s leave that for another post.) As long as there are questions (and I know the answer), I shouldn’t run out of material to blog about.

So, why the dilemma this week? Why would this post just not write itself?  The answer may be that I was over thinking it. In my determination to find the perfect topic that I could write about perfectly, I wasn’t writing at all.

Fortunately, while searching for diversions (and making the rounds of blogs that I hadn’t visited in a while), I visited Michele Welch’s blog and read her post Is Good Good Enough In Business? Michele had some questions of her own.

Time to hear from you! How do you handle writer’s block? What do you do when you’re struggling to write an article? Have you ever found yourself frantically writing to meet  a self-imposed deadine or do you give yourself permission to skip a week?

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Published by Sherryl Perry

Welcome! If you're looking for help building an Internet presence that fits your needs and works for you, you're in the right place. I blog common sense articles about WordPress, social media and SEO. My goal is to help small business owners and entrepreneurs understand their core business. Together, we can develop and implement business strategies that make sense to you.

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47 Comments

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  1. Hi Sherryl Perry,

    How are you today? I agree with you. Originality is the key of success of content marketing. When we write blog post, definitely we will write original content with bullet points, important factors that will describe the content especially. I have seen many people who fulfilled their content with dust. That’s not the right way. Again thanks for sharing this.

    Warm Regards,
    Taposh Kapuria

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  3. Sherryl,

    I can so relate to the title of this post. It almost doesn’t matter what you say in the body – it so resonates! And then I notice this is a post from 2011. See how relevant it still is? Wonder if Charles Dickens also struggled with the next whatever.

    The block is often, as you say, the perfection problem. In search for the perfect wording on the perfect topic, we feel blocked.

    Glad you retweeted this one just now.

    1. Hi Leora,
      It’s always good to hear when another blogger relates to a post that I’ve written. Sharing similar experiences helps put what we’re going through individually in perspective. I wonder if Charles Dickens ever sat staring at a blank piece of paper too. 🙂

  4. Let others do your postings.. I mean like Guest posts? I don’t know all blogger does that.. but it could help if your problem is having a hard time for your next post.

    1. Accepting guest posts is a good suggestion John and I have accepted them in the past. Recently, I made the decision to go solo on my blog. I may reconsider in the future but for now I’m trying to discipline myself to do all my own writing. We’ll see. 🙂

      1. I think that is the best for all bloggers.. Because that’s the main purpose of why you do blogging, to write blogs. It would enhance more your skills in doing what you love. My suggestion though is just for alternatives that I know. 🙂

  5. QuickFox notes? That’s a new one to me. I’ll definitely check it out. I’ve been using Delicious bookmarks and from what I’ve been reading, that may not be around. Thanks for the great tip!

  6. That’s a great idea Alamin and something I’ve thought about doing but haven’t yet. I tend to go to forums when I’m searching for an answer to a problem that I’m having. I should start going to them to help.

  7. One of the ways I get ideas when I’m stuck is just going over to yahoo answers and searching for questions related to my topics. There’s usually a ton of content ideas with their site and the post concept already written out by the best answer!

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  9. Hi Sherryl,
    I try my very best to keep my readers entertained and I incorporate my voice in my posts. When I doubt about some things or if I would like to have more information about my topic, I research them. I sometimes have trouble thinking what post to write about. However, I try to make it a point to have at least one (interesting) article published in a week if I am very busy over things like work, family, etc.
    Thanks for sharing!

    1. Hi Johanna,
      I just read you “The 5 Most Disgusting Foods…” post and you weren’t kidding! That did entertain me. I’m glad you dropped by and shared. I do think it’s important to post one interesting article a week. I would certainly have to research that last post of yours. 🙂

  10. I agree with other people who are struggling with their next post on their blog. Sometimes it is really hard to find some topic for your blog. One thing that I think it is effective is that to write down wherever you are if something that comes out in your mind that you think is a good thing to be written in your blog. At least you have some idea already 🙂

    1. Hi Kirstyo,
      Writing down ideas when they come to your mind is a good tip. In spite of doing that, I still was struggling on the day that I posted this. Thankfully, writer’s block comes and goes!

    1. That would motivate me to Randy! Thankfully, (so far) I haven’t gone an extended time between posts. I did not post on time this week though. My Google Analytics have proven that the best days of the week for me to post are Tuesdays and Wednesdays. This week I posted on Friday. I suspect that won’t be good.

    1. Thanks Alamin. Sorry it’s taken so long to reply. Somehow, a couple of comments just slipped by me. I really do appreciate when someone takes the time to comment and I try to always reply promptly.

  11. Obviously, I no longer worry about a blog post schedule. Nowadays I post when the feeling takes me. I have found that I’m rarely happy with a post if I force it and that inspired posts usually get the best results. With so much to do online and so little time to do it, it is simply too easy to burn out and hit blocks. I really prefer to go after a blog post first thing the day after I take a break from the net. That seems to put all my fresh energies into the post before they are sapped writing about someones products for ten hours.;)

    1. I hear you about the time Paul! Look at this. . . it’s taken me almost a month to reply to your comment. Yikes!

      I thoroughly enjoy reading your posts and they’re worth waiting for. 🙂

  12. Hey Sherryl,

    I think we have all been there when we are struggling to write a blog post, and sometimes it’s hard to not let the devil win. Personally, I have found myself in the same dilemma you have been in this week.

    I too over think it when I’m trying my best to find the perfect subject to write about perfectly. It’s hard to give myself permission to skip a week because I just don’t feel accomplished when I do.

    What I do to handle writer’s block is visit other blogs and try to find something that inspires me to write about something. I have found that when I’m inspired to write about a subject I can write pretty effortlessly. I wish you all the best Sherryl, thanks for sharing.

    1. Thanks for your feedback John. It’s nice to know I’m not alone. I feel like I haven’t met one of my weekly goals if I can’t write. (It all comes back to putting pressure on myself.) Next time I struggle, I’m telling myself to not over-think!

  13. Hi, Sherryl. I am guilty about missing a week or two on my posts. I get caught up on a lot of things that sometimes writing comes second to everything else. The longest miss I went through was when I was busy with the launching of my new website. So, when I bounced back, I overcompensated and posted two articles almost at the same time or was that the same time. 😀

    When I find myself experiencing writer’s block, I get up and take a breather. I play with my kids or walk around. When that does not help, I do some reading and researching. Then, I make a list on the things that interest me. Once I get my creative juices flowing again, I expound on these. And, usually, I start with the titles first. This keeps my perspective in check and helps me along.

    – Wes –

    1. Hi Wes, So far, the only week I think I’ve missed, I had a guest blog and didn’t feel guilty at all. That’s a habit I don’t want to get into though.

      Sounds like you’re in agreement with a lot of other bloggers – get up and take some sort of breather. Keeping your perspective in check. That’s good advice too! I was definitely my own worse enemy last week when it came to writing.

  14. Sherryl, sometimes it seems like I’m never at a loss for words – then there are other days that I would rather read and comment on other blogs than publish a post on my own blog. I don’t have a regular posting schedule but I do have great support from my team of guest bloggers who seem to show up just when I need them 🙂 I feel very blessed to have their support.
    Btw – I’d love for you to guest post on Basic Blog Tips one day soon 🙂 🙂

    1. Thanks for the offer to guest post on your blog Ileane. I’d love to. That’s actually one of the two objectives that I added for 2011. I intend to guest post and add video. Not sure when I’ll get around to doing this but I intend to. I’ll keep your offer in mind.

  15. How do I deal with writers block? I come here to steal your content, of course! 😉

    Seriously though, I when all efforts to be fun, entertaining, insightful, and educating fail—and I’m staring at my screen like a deer in the headlights—I write an in-depth computer tutorial.

    That way I don’t have to be full of sage wisdom, I simply have to know what I’m talking about.

    Now you’ll know next time you see one, hahah

    Rick

  16. Sheila,
    That’s a great idea about writing a list post and then expanding on the items! I should try that.

    I’m the opposite from that blogger. I like to tackle the easy stuff first (like cleaning out my email) and then tackle the tougher projects. It motivates me when I’ve accomplished anything.

    I like your article on domain names. It’s a good resource for newbies.

    1. Doing the easy stuff first is my downfall! I check my email, work on my website, do a little client work… and by the end of the day I realize I STILL haven’t written a blog post. Classic “writer’s block,” more commonly known as procrastination. 😉

      Writing is hard work – at least for some people. And those of us who find it hard can get lazy and not want to work hard. It becomes a vicious circle.

      It’s good to have other ideas and input like you have here to think about.

      Personally, I find that just reading another post on my writing topic helps. Not that I will say the same thing or anywhere near that, but it gets me in the mindset for thinking about my topic which ultimately makes my writing easier.

      At any rate, I have writing to do… Have a WONDERFUL day!

  17. Sherryl,
    I am a professional over thinker! Now with that said. I have found a way to keep from not having a post up. I even find myself over thinking comments.

    For my blog, my #1 technique is to have a plan and blog in a series. For example: if I write a list post, I go back and expand on those items on the list. I always know where I am going at least a week in advance and often write and schedule my posts in advance.

    At one time I read where a blogger said he tackled the toughest project first. It i kind of a magic formula. Having the tough thing done make it easy to confront the easy tasks and get them to a done.

  18. You didn’t notice a decease in traffic? That’s interesting. Of course, I’m thinking – maybe if he had posted, he’d have seen an increase. (There goes that little devil on my shoulder again. 🙂 )

    I’m committed to weekly posts because I don’t want anyone to lose interest. There are so many blogs out there where readers can go for information.

  19. Hi Sherryl

    I actually have given myself permission to miss a week. Not something I plan but with one week I did this it was because the Guest Post was such an amazing post, wanted it to stay on the home page for longer.

    This week I have been busy writing articles and decided to give myself some leeway and as the week got busier I’m glad I did. Feel I still achieved heaps and definitely my commenters help with new posts. They even suggest some topics at times.

    I know I have inspired a few posts with some of my questions. Cos when I have gone to read a post on a blogging buddy’s site they have actually told me I have lol

    If I get inspired with writing a post I will put it in a Word document and leave it on my desktop to publish at a later date. That’s helpful when the creative juices aren’t flowing one week. Ready made post waiting to be shared. Sweet.

    Patricia Perth Australia

    1. Great ideas Patricia. Questions can be such great fodder for writing posts. One of the reasons I appreciate comments so much is that there are ideas to be found there too.

      I keep a Word document with ideas too but I don’t have any posts ready to go yet. Someday soon I hope!

  20. Sherryl, Michele, Susan, Jackie and Keyuri you have more or less said it all.

    We all put too much pressure on ourselves to produce “Pulitzer prize winning articles”. And for what? Sometimes it’s better to make it easy for ourselves:

    This autumn I posted a really short article “Does a leader have to know everything?”

    It was really popular, 56 comments in one week and a multitude of comments on Linkedin and other social media sites. Only one nasty remark on Linkedin from a man who felt it was a waste of time reading it.

    So maybe we should sometimes relax and just produce a short little piece and see what reaction we get? Blog articles should, after all, be short and simplified.

    1. Thanks for the example Catarina. It’s true, we never know what article is going to be the most popular. It is good to take the pressure off ourselves and write something lighter. As a blog reader, I enjoy mixing up the serious posts where I’m learning with something fun like a recipe. I have to remind myself to not over-think!

  21. What a joy it is to read this post. It took me a while to figure this out, but I became my own worst enemy when it came to writing blogs. The more I thought about content, the more I hit a brick wall. Solution? Stop thinking and go about my regular “non work” business. That’s when the best ideas hit. Last week, I decided to take a break from work and went out for a walk. I looked at the pansy’s on my front porch and marveled at how they stood up so healthy after being covered by snow and ice for an entire 10 days. It occured to me that that is how humans… particularly parents should be as an example to their kids. Whamo! I had a blog post idea. It’s will be titled “parenting like a pansy!”
    I also came to terms that every post doesn’t have to be a work of art. Work super hard on particular pieces and let others remain lighter. It’s a good balance for my workload and for the readers.
    Great post Sherryl!

    1. I love the title for your post Keyuri! Wow, I can tell that you really love being a parenting coach. I would never have made that connection. I really do enjoy reading your posts. Even though my children are grown, you have such a wonderful style of writing and I find inspiration in many of your articles.

  22. Sherryl, completely agree more with what Susan and Michele’s comments, we can be our own worst enemies with the headgames that we play.

    Sometimes I find myself staring at the screen, clicking between twitter, facebook, whatever really, just to make it seem like I’m being productive, all lies though.

    I physically have to remove myself and create a shift in energy, do something completely different, even if it means going and doing the ironing…and I hate ironing! Usually this is enough to break the chain of thought that was keeping me stuck.

    We’re all subject to the same sorts of demons, we just have to find what works best for us.

    1. Ironing! I don’t even remember the last time I ironed. (I barely remember where I keep the iron.) A “shift in energy” . . . I like that! Next time I’m struggling, I should boot up my Wii and pop in the exercise disk. It’s been telling me I’m “unbalanced” lately. 🙂

  23. Hi Sherryl,

    Michele made a great point about over complicating and you summed it up with over thinking. I think sometimes we feel we need to do all “deep and meaningful” when the simple posts can be the best. I get ideas from my time as a marketer in larger companies and a lot by observing what is being asked either online or offline.

  24. First, let me say a big THANK YOU for mentioning me in your article… I truly appreciate it!

    Well I have to say Sherryl, I’m glad you buckled down and wrote this because it’s a real issue I think most, if not all, bloggers face! Even when you are doing something you love and are passionate about, things get in the way. As you said, that little devil on your shoulder loves to play mind tricks on you. 😉

    I think we just tend to over-complicate things… such is the human spirit sometimes.

    Great list of criterias! I hope people listen up because it’s sound advice that shouldn’t be taken lightly.

    So to answer your question, how do I deal with writer’s block? Lately what has worked for me, when I feel like I’m getting stuck, I take a break, read or listen to something inspirational and allow myself to relax. Inevitably, my block is not due to lack of knowledge or things I have to say, but some other internal conversation going on at that moment.

    If I’m having a real tough time, I’ll call up my friend. Her and I will often call each other up when we are feeling confronted or stuck and coach each other; and it ALWAYS sets things right. I highly recommend everyone gets a buddy for this!!

    All the best!

    1. Thanks for the encouragement Michele. I think I need to get out more. Cabin fever is starting to set in with all this snow we’ve been dealing with. In a way, I’m glad I was struggling because I hadn’t visited your blog in a while and reading your post did help me to write mine. And – you’re welcome for the link!