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5 Pre-Writing Exercises to Help Bloggers Generate Fresh Content

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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.

5. Brainstorm.

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.

Zac Johnson is a online marketer with 15 years of experience and also a blogger at ZacJohnson.com, as well as the founder of BloggingTips.com. You can also follow me on Twitter and Facebook

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How Do Blogging and Fitness Relate?

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I spend 3 hours daily honing my mental and physical fitness.

In truth, you can and will succeed online following simple fundamentals from a generous, detached energy. No need to be fit to go full time blogging. But if you feel bad because your body feels bad and your mind fears losing it all, have you succeeded? I do not believe so.

I wrote an eBook sharing my daily regimen to explain what many of you readers want to know: how do I do it all? I am no blogging god. I am just human. But I write and connect quite a bit. People wish to know how I wrote 100 plus eBooks in addition to all the other stuff I do while circling the globe. Well, blogging and fitness are 2 peas in a pod for me. Both play a big role if you desiring leveling up and feeling good predominantly as you enjoy the ride.

Blogging and Fitness

Let’s say you wake up on a Monday morning as a full time employee who blogs part time. Feeling terrible and dreading work, why write and publish a post? Too busy. Do it later. Put off the post until tonight. But you feel too tired that night. Repeat this cycle for 3 months. 90 days passed. Still no blog post. Why? You filled your mind with fear and pain. Manifesting as blogging loss, backburnering the post for 3 months indicates fear in mind. Why fear? 100% of the time, fear dominates minds of people who spend zero time on mental fitness, never meditating or doing deep yin yoga or observing their thoughts and feelings. Most of the time, these same folks dominated by their own fears never commit seriously to being physically fit through exercising.

Feel good by caring for your mind and body. Vibe higher than fears crippling most bloggers. Imagine the above scenario with one difference: you devote 1-2 hours daily exercising and raising your energy via mindset training. Devote 30 minutes to power walking and 30 minutes to deep yin yoga. On waking that Monday morning, either a blog post idea finds you and you write the post, or after a few uncomfortable moments and feelings, the idea flows to you and you write the post.

I cannot explain this process logically because it flows 100% emotionally, feelings-wise. Visualize yourself in moments you feel really good. All seems possible. Ideas flow to you. Opportunities flow to you. Why? Feeling good magnetizes you to freeing, success-promoting ideas. Being fit mentally and physically is the easiest way to feel good most of the time. Plus in those moments you feel bad mentally and physically, you face, feel and release the bad feelings, quickly, because you feel mentally and physically fit, predominantly.

Gratitude

Being fit naturally alerts you to the success-promoting idea of gratitude. Gratitude builds blogging success because seeing every penny of income, every blog comment and all interest in your blogging courses feels awesome to you. Feeling awesome inspires you to blog for years generously. Blogging generously for years makes you successful.

Corey at the Good Oil Marketing retweeted my blogging course recently. I feel grateful he spread the word for me considering he is a successful, high level marketer. I feel these feelings and build on my success because I feel grateful. I feel grateful because I trained my mind and body to feel good, through being fit daily, in order to tune into appreciation easily.

Get fit.

Don’t quit.

Be a successful blogger by being mentally and physically fit.

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Why Doing this Works Better than Asking for Business Referrals

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After I released my flagship eBook – How to Retire to a Life of Island Hopping through Smart Blogging – I noticed something neat. My sales increased 12 fold the day I published a guest post for a highly successful blogger.

Seeing this spike clued me in to the quickest, easiest way to increase business: help people for free. Being generous improves skills, increases exposure and expands your business. Greater traffic and profits follow generous bloggers because helping people for free helps you be skilled and see, two qualities in every prospering blogger who reaps sweet blogging profits.

A large set of bloggers goes in another direction. Some ask for business referrals from trusted blogging buddies to drum up business. Feel free to take this route but know referral fishing is an ineffective way to drive profits because of two clear reasons:

  • referral-seeking seems to be time-wasting
  • referral-seeking rarely inspires trusted bloggers to take clear, business-building action, for you

I know 20 plus web developers. A few trusted blogging web developer buddies have reached out to me, seeking referrals. Two issues arise:

  • the referral seeker has no idea if I know bloggers needing web development; non-targeted campaign
  • I already know 20 plus developers, trusted buddies all, so I could never choose one to refer to someone if 20 seem qualified

Top Bloggers Become Ruthlessly Effective with their Time

Versus seeking referral business by asking blogging buddies if they know someone requiring your service, spend 20 minutes to write and publish a quality guest post for a blogger in your business niche. Instead of pitching 1 human, show off your web development skills for free, via a guest post, for 1,000 people. Do you see what I mean? Leverage. Do not ask for business. Serve for business. Although time needs pass and generosity needs inclusion in blogging business-building, helping for free is the quickest, simplest way to increase blogging business because you reach large, targeted audiences of clients with your attention and energy versus asking 1 person for business in non-targeted, ineffective fashion.

12 Times Daily Sales

I recall the day vividly, 5 years ago. I created and launched Blogging From Paradise. Before writing 100 plus eBooks, I wrote one. I did drive some sales through my blog but guest posting woke me up; why not leverage my presence and grow business by helping people for free, via different platforms? Eye-opener for me. Instead of asking, I gave. How easy? Giving freely is the easiest way to get freely. I observed a 12 times daily sales eBook increase for good reason that day: helping people generously through sites other than your blog is a simple way to grow your blogging business.

The simplest, direct, effective way to grow your business is to help people for free. Asking for referrals leads to a client or customer here and there, but full time bloggers are not in the “here and there” business as far as growing your venture. Pro bloggers drive steady profits through their blog by being generous on their blog and on other platforms.

Be helpful for free. Publish posts. Submit guest posts. Run a podcast. Broadcast live on Facebook. Help people for free to help people for pay. Versus untargeted referral-seeking, this is the effective way to grow your blogging business from a generous, genuine energy.

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Why Does It Take Time to Be a Successful Blogger?

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Successful bloggers implore you: it takes time to succeed.

I advise following your fun, helping people generously, trusting the process and seeing the blogging journey through. I mention in my eBook how time saving tips make your journey easier.  But in the same regard, this journey takes time. Impatient bloggers weed themselves out. Generous, patient, persistent bloggers succeed. Sometimes, successful bloggers realize not the time element and how it works, and never explain in detail why it takes time to succeed. Why do you need to be patient? Why does it take time to succeed? I uncovered 3 reasons why it takes time to be a successful blogger.

1: It Takes Time to Practice a Skill So You Become Really Good At It

Today, I can write 10 to 20 blog posts daily if I so desired. I could easily create 20 videos daily.

10 years ago, I could write 1 blog post weekly and feared doing videos, to where, I never recorded videos as a newbie blogger.

Generous practice plus time made me prolific. Nobody gains skills in 1 day. Humans gain skills practicing 1 craft daily for months, then years. I love basketball. A handful of NBA players disclose how terrible they played after picking up a ball for the first time, 5 or 10 years, prior. Patient, persistent practice and time polished their skills to the point they became successful enough to go pro. Blogging is no different. Successful bloggers practice daily for years before being skilled enough to become a pro.

2: It Takes Time to Gain Big Exposure

Gaining big exposure for success takes time. Every creative act expands your presence a little bit more but those little bits add up over time. New bloggers blind themselves to this concept, believing 1 day and 1 blog post gives them successful exposure enough to make money and gain clout. Nope. Time reveals persistently generous bloggers because getting massive exposure requires months to years of generous, patient, persistent service.

No human can begin blogging at 8 AM as a new blogger and land a Forbes appearance by 12 noon. Nobody knows you. You have no exposure. Humans require time to create and connect in enough spots to gain success promoting exposure. Relax. You are on the way. But allow for time and generosity to leverage your presence. Time is required to be seen in many places.

3: It Takes Time to Uncover and Feel and Release Fears

Do you want to know why I wrote this post? I uncovered this reason a few moments ago. I noticed one income stream yield lesser amounts over the 2 days prior and felt a tiny but palpable surge of fear. Aha! I got you. Feeling fear, I released it and proceeded. I blogged for 10 years. I still feel tiny fears if an income stream yields less money, day to day, based on my expectations. But I needed to face this fear to make more money. New bloggers generally have deep fears concerning money, success and freedom. It takes time to feel and release fears concerning making more than $1 a day until you vibe at the $100, $1000 or $10,000 monthly – or more – level of blogging income.

Time unearths fears for feeling and releasing, to reach the next level of blogging success.

Be patient.

Time is a great blogging ally.

All you need flows to you over time.

Generously create, connect, follow your fun and nudge into fears.

Success is yours.

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