One of my favorite things about bloggers is their willingness to experience pain. We all know the classic stereotype of ‘basement bloggers,’ but it turns out that the blogosphere is comprised of millions of tough-minded people who are (mostly) slow to anger.
How can I tell?
After blogging and writing professionally for a handful of years, I can say with conviction that writer’s block is one of the most painful and frustrating experiences I have went through in my life. Staring at a blank page or a blinking mouse cursor in the wee hours of the morning is dreadful.
Yet, like every other blogger, I’ve willingly put myself in that situation time and time again as I’m attempting to craft a new blog post as an Internet marketer. Over the years, I’ve picked up a few techniques from newspaper editors, other bloggers and great writing minds that have not only helped free myself of a lot of writers block, but they have also improved the quality of my work.
These seven ‘writing hacks’ have optimized my blogging and I’m able to find the right frame of mind on a regular basis for writing blog posts that I’m extremely proud of.
1. Read great writers often.
The first thing I do before I sit down to write a blog post is to spend a while reading bloggers and authors that I admire. If I’m writing an essay-type post, I might read one of Paul Graham’s essays. If I’m working on a longer post, I’ll read Sports Illustrated or even classic literature. Reading a well-crafted piece helps get your mind in a great place for blogging.
2. Grab a drink.
No lie, orange juice helped me hit at least a half-dozen newspaper deadlines in college. It is amazing how a few gulps of your favorite beverage can stimulate creativity and make you view a syntax or stylistic issue in a different way. Be sure to always have your beverage of choice chilling in a nearby fridge.
3. Listen to the same song over and over again.
This is one of my favorite writing tricks. I’ve found a work at a much better clip when I have my headphones on and some sort of upbeat electronic song on repeat. The music helps get your mind in a rhythm and the words come out much easier. Everybody has a different genre that gets them going.
4. Write at all hours.
Unless your blog is your main source of income, you will likely find yourself doing other things for at least 8 hours of the day and squeezing the blogging in elsewhere. I’ve tried to write on a schedule each day, but that never seems to work for me. Sometimes I get a great idea for a post on a lunch break or while I’m laying in bed or while I’m out for a run. Always be ready to write, even if you are just jotting down some ideas for a new post on a napkin or your hand.
5. Eliminate unnecessary distractions.
Some distractions are good. I have written some of my favorite blog posts in crowded coffee shops or on public transportation. But the little things can trip you up. Put your phone in another room. Sign out of Facebook. Close your email client. One notification or message can derail your train of thought and kill the potential for a great blog post.
6. Start writing in your head.
Both my journalism professors in college and a few of my newsroom colleagues turned me on to this. On my way home from covering an event, I would start writing the lead graf in my head while the most important details were fresh in my mind. For blogging, this works wonders as well. You don’t need pen and paper or a keyboard to start a new post. Do it while you are walking the dog or stuck in traffic. You’ll already have a great post started by the time you reach your computer.
7. Don’t think, just write.
Don’t stop writing. Worry about the details later. Many of the best blog posts are highly emotional. When you are in that zone, it is vital to get as many words down on paper as possible. Don’t fret over word choice or style; you can touch all of that up later. Keeping the passion level up is key.
What tips have you developed to optimize your blogging?
Guest Bio: Trevin Shirey is a full-time blogging enthusiast and part-time whiffle ball star working in Internet Marketing.