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.