Even the most articulate and renowned writers from every time period have experienced the all too-familiar and highly dreaded idea-road stopper known as “writer’s block.” But just because it’s not out of the norm doesn’t mean that there aren’t some simple exercises bloggers can do to keep the creative juices flowing at all times—after all, fresh and frequent blog posts is what attracts new readers and keep the ones you already have. With that said, below are some pre-writing exercises and resources you can turn to you whenever the well is running dry to generate a plethora of blog post topics.
Perhaps of the oldest and most basic pre-writing exercises, brainstorming is still a very effective way to come up with a solid list of blog post topics. To help you with the brainstorming process however, consider using the following 3 resources:
- Google News: searching popular headlines that are currently fluttering in cyberspace can easily help you come up original or spun topics for your blog. All you need to do is simply type in a key word(s) in the search bar and shuffle through the results page to see the latest news (including controversial studies and stats) pertaining to your niche.
- Social Media: Facebook and Twitter are also excellent sources for you to come up with possible blog topics. Pay attention to your friend’s statuses and take note of any trends. Using Twitter specifically, make sure to use the hashtag feature in the search bar and follow important people that are associated with your blog’s niche to come up with possible story ideas.
- Read Archives: Go back to some of the more popular posts on your blog and see if you can expand on them—perhaps you can create some sort of series. Pay close attention to your reader’s comments as well. If there is a particular debate between two readers or if one reader makes a good argument about a subject you can possibly create an entire post on that as well.
4. Free Write.
Another easy exercise to get your noggin working and put some ideas to paper is to simply write—about anything. Whatever is the back of your mind, your most recent dream, or about your daily routine— whatever you want, just write it down. And don’t worry about grammatical errors or concentrate on formulating complete sentences (bullet point lists and even sketches can work too). The idea of free writing is to simply get you in the habit of writing everyday and to learn how to unlock your mind. Most likely you’ll end up writing down a bunch of unusable gibberish, but you may strike a gold mine and come up with some great blog topics. *Additional tip, always bring your journal with you (no matter where you go). You never know when a great idea will pop into your head and you’ll need to write it down. And don’t be surprised; even the most mundane things can bring forth inspiration.
3. Look at Mementos.
Another excellent pre-writing exercise is to take out your old memory box and see if you can gain inspiration for a blog post topic from items that may have sentimental value to you, such as old photos and videos. It’s equally useful to collect and save unique pictures, images, postcards or quotes that you find interesting and challenge yourself to come up with a prompt/ blog topic with these items.
2. Read—A Lot.
If you a struggling coming up with fresh content it may also be a good idea to turn to the pros, you know the fellow bloggers and writers whose work you admire and would like to emulate. Reading articles in magazines that don’t necessarily relate to your niche can be inspiring as well. For example, if Teen Vogue publishes an article called How to Dress like Victoria Beckham and you own a blog designed for small business owners, you can easily write an article on How to Properly Dress when Meeting Investors. When reading material from your favorite writers, don’t just look at the topic they are writing about but also pay close attention to style and voice. When looking at blogs, make sure to bookmark your favorite articles so that you can easily come back to them when you’re searching for inspiration and topic ideas. Look at the reader’s comments as well and see if there is a way you formulate a full-length article to respond to a question or argument.
1. Make an Outline.
Also seen as one of the more traditional pre-writing techniques, make sure to make a quick outline before you write. This pre-writing technique can help keep your thoughts organized and allow you to write more cohesively. This is because making an outline can help you group subjects together and is visually easier for you to see the similarities or differences of your points. It should also give you a better idea of how to present those points to your readers. Because of the outline, you may also come to the realization that one of your points is so strong that it can make a good piece all on its own.
This guest post was written by Mariana Ashley, a freelance writer who particularly enjoys writing about online colleges. She loves receiving reader feedback, which can be directed to mariana.ashley031 @gmail.com.
How Most People Think Blogging Is and How it REALLY Is
I love my gig. Right now, I blog from beautiful NYC. Quick 9 day trip to Manhattan. Can you imagine how fun and freeing this life is? Circling the globe, seeing places like Fiji, Bali and Thailand, experiencing these spots for years at a time? Amazing journey indeed. I feel appreciative of this fun, freeing life. I also know how most people think my life goes; write a few words, tap a publish button, make money, soar off to Fiji for 4 months. Most human beings cling to a terribly flawed aspect of their personality; ego. Ego sees free people and assumes, to preserve itself, how freedom must be an easy, comfortable journey for other people to take, because ego KNOWS freedom has not been an easy, comfortable objective, for ego.
Most human beings vibe from a dominant energy of fear so most human beings see illusions, appearances, NOT reality, a magic trick, something not REALLY happening. Most humans see me living in Thailand for months and see the illusion of me spending 2 hours to publish a post, seeing me making money, then, flying to Thailand. What fear-filled folks cannot see is the truth of this: me blogging for 5,000 hours – or more – through ups and downs, highs and lows, love and fear, peace and terror, and an even wider range of emotions….to live a life of blogging in Thailand for months at a time. The truth, the reality, of how blogging really is: blog for thousands of hours, make little or no money, then, after blogging for thousands of hours from a generous, calm, trusting, abundant vibe, feeling deep fears here and there along the way, the money flows in freely and you get to circle the globe whenever you want to circle the globe.
Take a look at this picture of me in Lyttelton, New Zealand:
Most people see an illusion: “Ryan is SO lucky! He gets to spend 2 months in New Zealand! I wish I had his life!”
The few human beings on earth who see the truth see this: “That guy lives an amazing life, being in New Zealand for 2 months, because he blogged for 10,000 hours, often times, when things did not appear to be coming together, outlook, appearing bleak.”
Truth seers are rare birds, folks. Why do you think I spend 3 or more hours daily meditating, doing yoga and exercising? I stabilize my vibe, uncover and purge illusory-producing fears and see the truth, more often than not. You need to see the truth to taste freeing, sweet blogging success. Can you taste my life? Imagine how it’d feel to live in NYC for a week? Imagine how it’d feel to live in Bali for 6 months? Fun, eh? Freeing, right? Of course you’d feel free, circling the globe, changing time zones like people change their minds. But to live this fun, freeing life, you have to live the truth of blogging for hundreds to thousands of generous, trusting hours, before you live the life, and, before you experience this level of fun and freedom. Most humans mean well but totally get caught up in the illusion, not seeing the truth because they fill their minds with fears, creating the insanity of luck and the delusion of envy, and the crazy, mentally ill, concept that you can live an amazingly fun, freeing life with a few hours, a few weeks or a few months of lazy blogging effort.
Do you want to step up to the blogging big time? Step away from most people. See the truth. This blogging gig takes serious effort and serious time. Most people live in delusion, in an illusion of fear. You know better. You know how blogging REALLY is. Sure blogging feels scary in moments but the ride feels largely fun and freeing when you follow your fun, generously help people and trust in yourself, and, trust in the blogging process. I know you’re up it!
I have this funny skill where I write entire eBooks based on silly analogies. Do you crave increased blogging success? I can help you with these colorful fruit bat analogies. Buy my eBook here:
Smash the Twitter and Facebook buttons to share this post, guys. Let’s spread the word to help more bloggers know the truth about blogging.
Face Newbie Blogger Fears Early to Accelerate Your Success
Do you genuinely want to hit the ground running with your blog? Face newbie blogger fears early. Do not mess around. Do not play around. Never be anchored down by doubt. Face fears, feel fears and you will feel so good, and free, and ready to succeed through your new blog because fear cannot hold you back if you face it, feel it, release it and proceed.
Life as a solopreneur feels fun, freeing and highly challenging because you do not possess the resources of more established entrepreneurs or people working for a company. The #1 tool in your new blogger arsenal is a willingness to face, feel and release deep fears related to being a newbie. Do this; be golden. Fun, freedom and expansive success awaits you because your generosity, creativity and willingness to connect just accelerates your blogging success…yes…even as a new blogger. How cool, right? No new blogger needs to struggle, fail and quit before giving themselves a chance, because fear is the only thing standing between you and what you need to do, to succeed. For example, I routinely tell new bloggers to buy courses or eBooks for due diligence material. More importantly, I tell them NOT to rely solely on questions and answers through Quora for their due diligence campaign because free platforms pale in comparison to trusted, premium resources from the top bloggers, in terms of research materials.
What can you do to accelerate your new blogger success fast? Nudge into the fear of spending money on training resources, feel the fear, release the fear and buy the course and/or eBook. Doing this, you begin taking the course and/or reading the eBook, putting your new knowledge into action, succeeding more quickly. Meanwhile, most new bloggers who refuse to face their fears keep asking questions on Quora, relying on strangers, possibly skilled but usually unskilled bloggers to supply them with non-vetted answers for critical blogging research. How in the heck can you rely on this most crucial of information if you have no idea who offers the answers? Can you see why this method is totally unreliable, for getting your blogging research? A few skilled bloggers offer some keen insight but step out of the fear-vibe into the abundant, successful vibe by investing money in a top blogging education.
If you can either pay for a Harvard education or ask some stranger on the street for their free advice, what seems to be the more intelligent decision? Invest money in expert advice? Or save money to get advice from some stranger on the street who may or may not know what they are talking about? Can you see why so many new bloggers struggle, fearing to invest money in the best blogging advice, choosing to get free, unreliable blogging advice from the general blogging public?
Pay up to play up. Invest money in your blogging education to move higher in blogging circles. Be a fear-diver; keep nudging into fears to better understand how to succeed, feeling and releasing these confining, restricting forms of bondage. Face newbie blogger fears early and often to remove the shackles that hold you down. Doesn’t it feel better to dive into fears routinely so you can accelerate your blogging success, even as a newbie?
How to Promote Yourself without Bragging and Repelling Readers
You do know promoting yourself freely constitutes one pillar of blogging success, right guys? Bloggers need to be clear, confident and relaxed enough with self to appeal to us. Who wants to follow someone with low self-esteem? We seek out bright lights, not bloggers slumming around in the blogging sewer, eh? But self-promoting is a fine art for the discerning blogger to master; go too far, bragging your butt off, and your arrogance repels readers. People despise someone who speaks about self all day long because these over-compensating buffoons, deep-down, fear they are not enough. Bad trait in a leader. I figured it’d be easiest to self promote by simply…..self promoting like the dickens.
Example; buy our new course. Yep, Sue-Ann and I plan to make you happy as a blogging pig in slop with our new course. Do you see how I got right to the point? No beating around the bush. I promoted me, and, Sue-Ann, clearly explaining why you need to buy our blogging course….by saying….buy it, and you will be a happy blogger. Promoting yourself through virtually all content you create is the easiest, simplest way to find the happy medium between being a shy guy or shy gal and being an arrogant, boastful, bragging clown. The real secret is to keep promoting self through all the self-conscious, anxious, money-related, appearance-related fears most of us cling to, before we become clear, confident self-promoters.
Put Attention on Your Readers
Do you feel disgusted with wasting time online? Do you want to drink up sweet blogging freedom, using your time online effectively, powerfully and efficiently? Buy my eBook:
Let us rewind for a moment, shall we? Time to review how I promoted myself by putting attention on you, you rocking readers of Blogging Tips Dot Com. I promoted self because I promoted my eBook. I make money every time you buy the eBook. Cool. Feels good to me. But did you notice I asked if YOU felt disgusted, and if YOU wanted to drink up sweet blogging freedom, before I promoted ME? This is one secret to promoting your products and services without looking like a dingbat. I helped you by putting the attention on you, making my self-promotion about you and me. We both win. You access a freeing, fun, valued resources and I access an energy we call “money”. Fair exchange, methinks. I never come off as bragging, being boastful or outright being a cocky jerk because I make it about US. See how thinking about everybody, and bringing folks together, benefits everyone? Cultivate your sense of compassion guys; developing this skill helps you go far in blogging, and, in life.
Be Subtle in Sharing Your Accomplishments
Feel free to share your accomplishments if you feel doing so boosts your credibility. But never be a flat out braggart by speaking about yourself in boastful, self-centered, self-serving tones. Why? Doing so turns off folks because braggarts secretly do NOT believe in themselves, and need that facade of boastfulness to even dream of trying to succeed online. Every braggart is broken. Point blank. Even if you achieved immense worldly success and appear to be happy, the appearance is an illusion, as you do not believe in yourself, and people who do not believe in themselves cannot succeed in leading others. Be subtle in sharing your wins. Be delicate in sharing your feats. Humble yourself. Allow other folks to do the bragging so you promote yourself from a relaxed, chill, attractive energy.
Tap those Twitter and Facebook buttons to spread the word on this important topic of self-promoting. Let’s empower bloggers to taste sweet success by teaching them how to promote themselves the right way, shall we?
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