Welcome back to The Ultimate Guide to Book Blogging! If you’ve never been here before you can catch up on previous posts in the series here.
Once your blog is set up, the next step is to start writing. This is where a lot of bloggers run into trouble. It’s one thing to establish the platform and framework for your content, it’s another to face that blinking cursor and actually start brainstorming ideas and stringing sentences together. Today I’m going to talk about the three major obstacles you must overcome to succeed and I’ll give you five easy blog post ideas to get your creative juices flowing.
Obstacle #1: Writer’s Block
If I had a dollar for every time I’ve sat staring at my computer screen in despair because of writer’s block, I’d be a wealthy woman. Writer’s block isn’t just something you overcome once. It’s something you will have to overcome again and again and again. I’ve had whole months go by when I didn’t post anything because my creative energy was completely sapped. There are two ways you can deal with writer’s block. Neither one is better than the other; you may use both at different points in your blogging journey.
- Write anyway. This is the advice most often dished out by authors and there is definitely merit to it. Sometimes the best way to overcome writer’s block is to keep wading through the swamp until the fog dissipates and you find yourself on surer ground. Even if your brain is feeling sluggish, sit down and brainstorm blog post ideas, pick one, and start writing, even if it takes you a week to finish a single post.
- Step back and recharge your creative batteries. Sometimes it’s necessary to take a break from blogging altogether. Whether it’s a two-week vacation or a six-month hiatus, this time away can help you to put things in perspective, reevaluate your goals and priorities, and seek inspiration in the real world. Perhaps you need to spend more time reading other blogs instead of working on your own. Maybe you need to freshen up your design to create a web space that inspires you to create great content. You might need to step away from the blogging world altogether for a while to spend more time with your friends and family or pursue a new hobby. You should do whatever helps you recover your creative mojo.
Writer’s block is inevitable, but it doesn’t always have to be so. Sometimes writer’s block just happens, but it can also be triggered by blogger burnout. Blogger burnout happens when you set your goals too high and work too hard to achieve them. Society tells us that working hard and setting ambitious goals is the key to being successful, and that’s true up to a point. I do work hard on my blog and I do set goals for myself, but I have found that pushing too hard ends up hurting more than helping. It’s essential to take regular breaks from the daily grind of writing, posting, and promoting your blog posts to relax. A relaxed mind is the soil in which great ideas flourish.
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Obstacle #2: Finding Your Voice
Translating your unique personality into writing can seem difficult, but the truth is that developing a clear and consistent writing style happens naturally over time. It’s important to try to find your own voice instead of imitating other bloggers. It can be tempting to compare ourselves to others and feel that we don’t measure up. I often felt that way during my first few years as a blogger. Someone else always had a cleverer, funnier idea and sometimes I felt discouraged. Eventually, I embraced the fact that while I can be clever and funny at times, I’m better at being analytical and straightforward. I try to leave my comfort zone sometimes and try new things, but for the most part, I embrace my analytical side. When trying to find your voice, just be yourself and keep at it! Writing is something that improves with practice.
Obstacle #3: Fear of Sharing Your Creation
One of the things I dealt with a lot when I first started blogging was the fear of hitting “publish.” It’s scary to post your thoughts to the world when you’re not yet sure of your own ability to communicate effectively through writing. I’m sure authors experience this ten times more when they publish their first book. If this is something you deal with, I recommend having a trusted friend or family member read your first few blog posts before you publish. Ask for their opinion and constructive criticism. Ultimately this fear will diminish the longer you blog.
5 Blog Post Ideas to Get Your Creative Juices Flowing
- Review a book. This is an obvious one for a book blogger! Pick a book you’ve read recently and express your feelings about it. If you don’t think you have enough to say to pad out an entire blog post, try writing a few mini-reviews and publishing them all together. This is something I do in my monthly feature, The Inkwell.
- Write a listicle. Listicles are articles or blog posts that are formatted as lists. Last week’s installment of The Ultimate Guide to Book Blogging, “12 Essential WordPress Plugins for Book Bloggers,” is a listicle. People on the Internet have short attention spans and love blog posts that are easy to skim. Listicles fulfill that requirement while still offering meaty content. Make a list of your top ten favorite books or take readers on a gander through your Amazon wish list. If you need inspiration, I have an entire blog category dedicated to lists.
- Respond to an article or news story you read. Last year I reported on a news story about an elementary school student who was suspended for threatening to make another student disappear using the Ring of Power from The Lord of the Rings. Perhaps you read a blog post recently that you disagreed with or that you think missed some important facts. Write a response and publish it on your blog.
- Curate a list of useful or interesting links. I include a roundup of bookish links and news stories every month in The Inkwell. Lists like this tend to be popular and they have an added benefit. When you link a post on another blog, it’s likely that the webmaster will receive a “pingback” notifying her of your link. She’ll probably end up visiting your blog as a result.
- Write about an experience you had. Last month I wrote about how I rediscovered the joy of listening to audiobooks. Maybe you only read books by female authors for a whole year or you recently experienced a reading slump. Write about it!
How do you deal with writer’s block? Comment below!
Check out The Ultimate Guide to Book Blogging for more tips and tricks on how to become a book blogging wiz!
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