Whether your blog is professional or personal; whether it’s about football, knitting, your weird coworkers or your inner turmoil, you should be having fun. And we all know that there comes a time in the life of a blog when the fun gets hard to have. Blogging starts to seem like a chore, and you begin to wonder whether it’s worthwhile to continue. When that happens, take a break, take a breath, and try some simple exercises designed to invite the fun back into the room.
Laugh at yourself
This works for most areas of your life, by the way, not just blogging. If you’re reading your old posts and you find you’re sighing over your overly serious tone or high-falutin’ phrasing, or you’re just plain bored by what you’ve written in the past, then take a moment to make fun of yourself a little. Write a post parodying your own style, or make a joke at your own expense. If you write for a professional blog, you can post this on your personal blog, or just email it to your friends for a laugh. Sometimes we take ourselves so seriously that we become unwilling to write anything in case it comes out looking less-than-perfect. As Elizabeth Bennet puts it in Pride and Prejudice, we’re “unwilling to speak, unless we expect to say something that will amaze the whole room, and be handed down to posterity with all the eclat of a proverb.”
Sometimes a topic starts to seem stale. When this happens, it’s a good idea to change gears for a while. If you usual post recipes, try recording a conversation instead. If you write about politics, write a post about your sister’s new baby.
Of course, professional bloggers don’t always have this luxury. Still, you can often find ways to keep things interesting for yourself. If you write the official blog for Celestial Seasonings Tea, try taking a break from flavor reviews and write a brief history of the role tea has played in Western civilization. Chances are, your readers will enjoy the variety as much as you will.
Take a break
Most days it’s a good idea to power through your writers’ block, but we all know there are some days when you simply can’t write. Maybe you’re sick, or busy all day with other things, or you feel like your brain died a little at the show last night and now you are carrying around a head full of lukewarm porridge. When you have a day like this, just take a break. Every writer has a bad day now and then, and it’s nothing to be ashamed of.
And since you know you will have those days, it’s a good idea to store up one or two posts in reserve, especially if you blog on a deadline. Having a pre-written post to use can be a life-saver when you’ve got the flu and can’t write a line to save your life.
Sometimes you just need a little help. Take an hour and read a great book or a thoughtful magazine article. Or watch something well-written (I like The West Wing when I’m looking for sweeping rhetoric, and any show by Joss Whedon when I need something slangy but original). If you’ve only got a short break, try reading other blogs, like Mindy Kaling’s Things I’ve Bought That I Love or Jonathan Carroll’s blog.
Then take one word or line or idea from the book, show or site, and write a post around it. You can base your post on the line, write about the line, or just incorporate it into your thoughts. When you’re finished, you’ll probably wind up with a solid post that doesn’t even need the line; you can delete it altogether. (If I don’t delete it, I try to credit where I got it, because I am a stickler for that.)
Give your brain a jump
There’s a reason that creative writing teachers assign writing exercises. Sometimes your brain needs a jumpstart to get going, and a simple exercise can help rev the motor. Fantasy writer Ursula K. LeGuin has a good book called Steering the Craft that’s packed with the exercises she assigns when she’s teaching.
So when you find the fun sneaking out of the room, relax, take a deep breath, and then grab the fun by the scruff of its neck and slam it back down in its chair.