Anyone producing content of any kind has likely encountered a ‘wall’ at some point in their life – a moment of impasse at which all creative capacity seems to abandon them and they are left feeling frustrated and useless. For writers, this is conventionally called ‘writer’s block’, and whilst in some cases it can last years (will G. R. R. Martin ever finish The Winds of Winter?), it can also appear quite suddenly, suspending us mid-thought.
Blogger’s block works in much the same way as writer’s block, a creative lockdown triggered by distraction or a lack of inspiration. What adds to this though is a tidal wave of online content: blogs, adverts, online articles, podcasts, memes, etc. Every minute, an estimated 1400 blog posts are uploaded. Just searching “blogger’s block” into Google, a term I naively thought I’d invented, yields almost 800,000 results. At times when we are lost for ideas, the internet’s collective potential to inspire us seems only to overwhelm us, and leaves us wondering – how are we expected to compete?
The universality of this phenomenon should be reassuring. Online, there are bound to be thousands of ways to overcome a writer’s block – take a walk, change your environment, listen to music – all of which can be incredibly helpful. The purpose of this post however is to suggest ways to cut through the cyberstorm of online content and create something genuinely new.
Being mindful of current themes keeps your writing fresh and cutting edge. Google Trends is great for this – it monitors search-terms over time and displays spikes of interest. Just bear in mind that trends by their very nature are fickle, and what’s of interest today may not be tomorrow. To use trend tracking effectively, you have to stay alert and stick to a tight writing schedule. You may not be the only one to say it, but you can still be the first.
The broader the subject matter the more competition you’ll have, and the more likely what you want to say has already been written. Use your title to fine tune your post. Titles like “The problem with…” or “How to avoid…” are good places to start because they impose certain parameters on the text, forcing you to approach the topic from a different angle. The more niche your post, the more likely it is to be original.
Another way to make your blog stand out is to compare and contrast the subject you’d like to address with something else. For example: don’t just write about current trends, write about how they relate to past trends, and what patterns you can see emerging. This may take more research, but the pay off is worth it. Turn what could have been two average blog posts into more interesting content.
Make it personal
This is one thing even BuzzFeed can’t beat you to. Put an individual spin on what you’re writing: include anecdotes, reflect on something you’ve done or heard, describe how things affect your own demographic. Not only does this help make it unique, it adds a degree of warmth to your post. Bringing yourself into the text makes people more likely to trust what you’re saying.
Swap ideas with fellow writers
Here at PA Business Support, we’re lucky to have a team of bloggers working for us. When at a loss, it helps to communicate with colleagues and ask for advice. Writing may be a one person job, but sharing thoughts with others brings forth new perspectives and new ideas.
Hopefully these tips will come in handy next time you experience an online existential crisis, or simply can’t think of something to write. Remember, if all else fails, you can always just write about the ‘block’ itself or contact us here at PA Business Support to discuss how we can help.