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Getting Back Your Blogging Mojo

A few days ago, I was crying into my beer over a recent blogging dry spell. As always, both my feedreader and blogger comments have come to the rescue.

First, from fellow bloggers Tom Haskins and Bronwyn Mauldin. Tom suggests finding inspiration from other bloggers and clients, through books and other reading, and from re-reading your own blog archive. As I'm apparently very good at starting a series of blog posts and then moving onto something else before I've finished, that's a particularly good idea for me. Tom also points out that inspiration can dry up when we start to be too caught up in our own expertise, which reminds me that I need to go back to beginner's mind when I run out of things to say.

Bronwyn uses her process of "filling in the blanks" on current posts to find fodder for additional ones.

"One of the things blogging has done for me is force me to read more and more widely both within my field and beyond, in order to find new things to write about. I'm always on the lookout for little workforce details in otherwise unrelated stories. When I start tracking down those details and they turn out to be very big projects or issues, then I know I have something to blog about. I've found the best approach is 1) assume there's a lot more I don't know, and 2) find at least two sources for every fact. Along the way to filling in the blanks I often find fodder for additional blog posts."

Other ideas from my feedreader. From Lifehack, comes this post on How to Prevent Running out of Blogging Steam. It suggests that we run out of ideas due to a lack of inspiration, motivation or confidence and has fixes for each situation. Key ideas include:

  • Browse your feeds for topics/articles of interest to respond to.
  • Get out and do something in the area you're writing about--find your inspiration from the work, not just from what people are saying about it.
  • Write for your audience--find out what they want and need and go from there.
  • Build on existing ideas, either your own or others.

And finally, from Pro Blogger, Darren Rowse, these 20 Tips for Battling Bloggers Block. This is frankly an awesome list that really leaves me little room to say that I can't find an idea. Some of my favorites include:

  • Change your location--blog from a friend's house, a coffee house, anyplace other than your desk.
  • Put together disconnected ideas
  • Start with a need--what questions are you being asked most often? What were your biggest questions when you first began exploring your niche?
  • Collaborate with other bloggers--do a blog swap, invite a guest blogger.
  • Change your voice--write from a different angle or perspective.

One final thought I have on this. Be patient with yourself. Dry spells are an inevitable part of the creative process, especially if you're trying to do quality work. For myself, at least, I should know by now that creativity ebbs and flows and that I have times when ideas are everywhere and times when they aren't. It's part of the process. I have to stop getting stuck in that scarcity mindset that says, "Oh NO! I've run out of ideas and I'm never going to have another good one!" Better to relax into abundance and realize that I've always had to go with the flow and my mojo will always return. And luckily if I think I've run out of ideas, there are always other bloggers who come to my rescue. One of the beauties of the medium--that community of people who share your struggle.

UPDATE--Check out some additional ideas from Tom and Bronwyn in the comments section of this post.


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Michele - I have just the same problems with blogging, and I really like your point about being patient with yourself.
I think you have been doing fantastic, thoughtful pieces over the past months ... based on personal experience, linking and quoting extensively, and offering practical advice. That's so much more than most bloggers can manage as well as doing their jobs.
Your pieces are crafted. That may mean people appreciate them enormously, but don't immediately fire off a comment, or re-blog. You are building up a body of knowledge, developing a narrative, in public. Wow!

Wow, David! Thanks, I needed to hear that! You're right that I somewhat tend to judge myself based on whether or not I get a reaction from others. It's a habit I'd like to get out of because I don't think it really helps my blogging too much. And it's definitely bad for peace of mind. :-)

Thanks for the kudos. This morning I had another thought to add here. I've noticed that my blog postings come in two separate inspirations: what to write and then how to word it. Often there's a big time gap between the two which may be an incubation period while I cook the ideas on a back burner. Often I've found it's a flow process where the timing is on hold, and then it's suddenly "the right time" because of another blogger's post or something I've written since. going back through my pages of ideas for blog postings often comes up with something that's ready to write. That's been true on Friday's and today's postings.

Your posts on this topic (and your links & visitors' comments) got me to thinking. Here are a couple more blogging ideas that help me get back in the game:

--Pick a topic & create a "top ten" list about it. I keep meaning to do a "top ten songs about work" post but haven't gotten around to it yet.

--Write a review - of a book, article, website, software application, online resource, etc.

--I've enjoyed your posts introducing me to online tools, in part b/c you show how I could use them in our specific field. Do more of these.

--I love the suggestion to get out in the real world and do something. Sometimes the blogosphere feels like a vast echo chamber.

--Along the same lines, call a colleague and ask what they're doing. I bet they're doing something interesting. Also, it's good to (re)connect to people.

--Try to dig up the original source of a commonly quoted "fact."

--Get a guest blogger. That's what I've done this week.

Okay, 'nuff said. Thanks for getting the gears in my brain turning.

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