I constantly tell aspiring authors and writers that before publishing a book, they ought to be writing daily or very often so as to practice their craft and excel at it. I also encourage writers to have their own blog, and not use one of the freebies like Wix, Blogger, or WordPress.com, but to self host and own their domain name.
But Steve, that’s fine, but where can I tap into inspiration so that I’m able to regularly post. I’d love to blog but I don’t know what to write about.
A few thoughts on how to keep your blog flowing consistently and not go through any dry spell.
1) Write Your Opinion on Something
Like duh. No, I don’t the type of opinion sharing EVERYbody does on Facebook. Often times when I’m reading something, a quote or a concept jumps out at me, so I resort to processing my response through blogging, and quite often that’s actually where some of my posts come from — other people provoking me to thought.
You can do this in response to reading articles and link to them in your content, linking back to the original post. This is good because it helps you write your post faster, and often times other bloggers and articles allow Follow links, tracking back to you if you link to them. Over time these track backs can help with your back linking and Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
You can use this to write reviews about books, movies, websites, and any other thing under the sun you have an opinion about and people who are interested in the same things may appreciate your thoughts.
2) React To The World Around You
Write something people are all reacting to, or some event that has happened in the news, or a new product that has come out or some new ‘prophecy’ that is being shared in mainstream churchianity and taken seriously.
Have another opinion.
And while we’re at it, write something that people can adamantly disagree with. What I mean by that is that it’s useless to share every angle of a thought out there. You’re not trying to be all things to all people. Share your opinion, one way or another, and let people disagree if they may. This can spark good conversation in the comments (or just outrage) and give you good follow-up for future posts if you’re having perpetual conversation depending on who reads your blog.
3) Share Stories
I’ve noticed when people share their testimonies, they tend to take longer than they planned. Why? Because it’s easy to talk about ourselves. It’s easy to merely share and recollect something that has happened in our lives, because it doesn’t require the same research or careful thought some other types of persuasive writing and public speaking requires.
I was talking to an entrepreneurial friend I had met not long ago, and he told me “write about what you are going through or experiencing, and work from there.” This has been good for helping me process opinions, past experiences, and to be journaling more about what I’m doing on the mission field.
So, share your experiences. Write about that time you put lots of jalapeños on a drunk customer’s sub because he was daring you to. Let people know what went through your head when said customer started pounding the table with a beet-red face and made you worry he might die because of this. I’m speaking hypothetically of course, and not from experience. Yeah, that’s it.
4) Interact on Social Media and The Forums That Interest You
I often times ask questions as my status updates on Facebook and/or Google+ and if the topic is enough of a grey area, it can generate reaction and feedback from many different angles. Very often this strategy gives me thoughts and ideas I had never considered and it lights a fire in my thinking for future posts at another time.
5) Write Your Expertise and “How To” posts
Depending on what kind of blog you want to run, “how to” posts (like how to get free audio books, or 8 ways to get free Kindle books), reviews of things, or my favorite podcasts” are easy content to create and usually people like them because they get something of value from them.
Write about things you have some worthwhile knowledge or educated opinion on.
6) Share What You’re Reading
This is even easier in the day and age of electronic readers like the Amazon Kindle. I often times highlight things that are provocative to me and share them on social media. The nature of Amazon’s site is that you can view all your highlights in one place. This has become an invaluable tool for me as I open another window while blogging and go through things I highlighted specifically to share or blog further about in reflection.
Again, another tool that is helping me pump content out more often and feed the blog beast.
7) Keep Your Posts Short and Follow Up On Them
When I started magazine like website 9 years ago, I asked all the original authors to pick a day of the week, and it would be their day of the week to post something. This of course was before I started proofreading and scheduling posts as became necessary eventually when we developed momentum. I used to write between 700-1500 word posts, and so this feat was easy for me. One of the authors wrote me an email back letting me know he could not commit to this because aside from writing for us and another site as well, he could not post that often. I immediately knew why — he wrote long posts. I mean like magazine articles that are thousands of words long. I encouraged him to think smaller and he’d notice it would be a lot easier to write more often if the posts were shorter.
If you’re writing and you feel the need to post everything about something in one post, ask yourself if you can make a series about this with each point? It might just be easier on your readers too since, let’s face it, most of us have the attention span of a fart, and don’t read long posts if we can’t scan them and get what it’s about.
Plus, it gives your readers incentive for coming back or signing up for your email updates.
8) Re-write Old Posts
I’m actually doing that now. I originally wrote this in 2012 but I realized I had some outdated examples and information in this post and wanted to refresh it.Sometimes I’m checking my old blog site and I find posts that are just buried in the archive and loaded with good stuff I wish more people had read. So I bring them up to the front and re-work them, update them or change opinions I may no longer hold to exactly as I did when I originally wrote something. This idea only works if you’ve already been blogging for a while and have posts and articles archived.
9) Go Easy On Yourself
If you feel a dry spell and can’t come up with anything or can’t meet your self-imposed goal, relax. It will be alright. Have fun and enjoy blogging. Your audience will find you and often times are willing to wait until you do get your writing mojo back.
I could have made a more comprehensive list, but I was trying to write this over my coffee this morning and these are definitely the ideas that come to my mind first as these are the methods I use for keeping that blogging beast satisfied.
Update: I’ve condensed the main points of this post into the following infographic. Feel free to share it on your favorite social media networks.
Related Links to Read
The minimalist Secret To Productive Writing by Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus