Not forever, just long enough to clear your head and mind and find your creative juices again.
As part of this new series called Nothing to Blog About, we’re looking at the various ways your blogging creativity can be temporarily dried up and plugged up, and how to break the dam. My first recommendation is for you to leave your blog for a vacation.
When I travel, leaving the “regular life” behind, I’m often besieged with blog ideas. Most of them don’t see the light of day, but they do see my Article Idea notebook, stuffed with scraps of paper, napkins, sticky notes, business cards, and whatever was available to jot down an idea or thought.
There is something about exposure to the “new” and “different” that seems to energize the brain. There are stories everywhere. So leave behind your normal day and get out, even if it is for a walk around a new block.
There are stories everywhere – even under rocks
There are stories everywhere. The problem is not the number of stories, or even finding them. The struggle is finding a story you can relate back to your blog.
Honestly, it doesn’t matter if they relate. Sometimes the mental games we play with story ideas is enough to stimulate the brain into blogging.
Bored with blogging over a year ago, I took my motor home between speaking gigs, hoping the adventure would help clear my head and make me more receptive to new ideas. I looked for stories everywhere, in everyone I met and everything I saw. I challenged things, I asked questions, both verbally and mentally.
I asked myself about why this road was built. Who was it built for? Who maintained the road I drove on? What lead someone to say, “Let’s build a road here!” and not over there? Why are the shops and malls here along the road? Why pick this out of the way place to put an outlet mall? Why not put it in the heart of a city where more people could visit and spend money instead of relying upon tourists and travelers to make your outlet mall a destination? How has moving stores beyond the bounds of the concentrated population centers changed the landscape of our country? For that matter, how has the automobile, and the motor home I’m driving, changed how we live and travel and where we decide to live and travel to?
The creative juices began to flow and ideas for new angles to talk about the worn out subject of blogging began to tickle the back of my head. A visit with one of my best friends led me to an idea to start podcasting on Lorelle on WordPress, interviewing people about their blogging tips and WordPress. To get started, I sat down with my friend, Jo, and asked her about blogging as the digital recorder caught our ever word.
And received a shocker. Jo didn’t know how to talk blogging.
All the years I’ve been blogging, she hasn’t got a clue. I even gave her a blog! She doesn’t consciously read blogs, and has no idea what to do with the blog I set up for her. While she reads my blogs once in a while, and listened politely when I talked blog, she had no idea what I was talking about. She’d just smile and be supportive, as a best friend should.
We didn’t have the jargon, a common language to talk when it came to my work. She didn’t understand terms like social media, Twitter, SEO, black hat, spam, splog, or scraper. Copyright is text found inside a book that reminds you to not photocopy it’s pages and sell them, not an part of her day to day experience and fight to protect what is hers.
Instead of being motivated to teach her and others more basics of blogging, I was depressed and frustrated. If I couldn’t get through to her after all these years, what the hell was I doing with my own work and life. A few hours later, Liz Strauss called me and literally kicked my ass.
The end result was the inspired and classic post, “10 Really Rad Righteous Blogging Tips” by my alter-evil, Lorraine. Done as a form of April Fool’s Joke on Christmas Day, unbelievably this post has become a great example of what not to do as well as examples of what people are really doing with their blogs.
Inspiration can come from anywhere, but it begins by leaving home. I had to leave the cocoon of my bloggy world where everyone speaks the same language, to discover I still had something relevant to say and contribute to the world of blogging.
So quit. Not forever, just long enough to walk away and find your bloggy spirit again. Then come back, recharged and revitalized, ready to blog again.
The author of Lorelle on WordPress and the fast-selling book, Blogging Tips: What Bloggers Won't Tell You About Blogging, as well as several other blogs, Lorelle VanFossen has been blogging for over 15 years, covering blogging, WordPress, travel, nature and travel photography, web design, web theory and development extensively as web technologies developed.