7 Things to Do When Blogging Is Seriously Hard

person in forest

We have all been there before. We sit down at the keyboard, poised to crank out another post. We wait for that perfect idea. Maybe another cup of coffee will help. We wait some more, staring at the blank screen, willing the words to come. We type a bunch of garbage, hoping that if we get the lame, trite, cliched thoughts out, we’ll get to the good stuff.

We fidget. We frown. We wait some more. But still, the idea bank account is empty—no, actually, it’s overdrawn.

Hitting the Blog Wall

Figuring out the reason is the first step to getting back in the groove. It may be totally out of our control, but just recognizing that it’s temporary makes it not quite so scary.

Most of us get our wheels stuck in the mud from time to time. I offer here seven show stoppers and what I do when I am blindsided by them.

1. Blogging is seriously hard when you have too many outside distractions.

When I am stuck, my attention and focus are easily diverted. Suddenly, I find the way my cat cleans himself fascinating. I marvel at the way his ears wiggle even when he is sleeping. I stare at the squirrel on the railing outside my window as if he has the answers to the universe. The clock on the wall ticks off every second. Funny, I never noticed how loud it was before.

And on it goes.

Of course, I have conveniently found things to observe so I don’t have to focus on my writing.

How to get past the hard:

I like to take advice on blogging from my comedy hero, John Cleese. If he can create like he does, he must be on to something. (Because I often have a messy desk, this advice is hard, but still, I do it.)

I make a space for creativity—away from the colored pens, glasses case, calendar, water bottle, and the thousands of other things on my desk that compete for attention. I remove the cell phone and anything else that might call my name. And the note to call for a doctor’s appointment? That goes, too.

I also set aside ample amounts of what Cleese calls “pondering time.” It is true that if I just keep my mind resting against a subject in a friendly but persistent way, sooner or later I will get a reward from my subconscious.

2. Blogging is seriously hard when you have too many ideas.

This is the curse of creative people. For divergent thinkers, it can be a challenge not chasing every idea when we write. One thought triggers another and before we know it, our post is a meandering mess. Keep the point (the goal) of your post in mind and make sure each of your sub-points supports it.

How to get past the hard:

Keep a little notebook (or file on your computer) for all those wonderful ideas that come to you as you write. If you have an “Out” file to store these little blogging gems in, you can always refer to it when you are stuck for blogging topics.

3. Blogging is seriously hard if you don’t feel anything for your topic.

You must care in some way about the things you blog about. Because if you don’t, then why would your readers?

Just remember that although writing from the heart is good advice, you cannot tackle a do-or-die post every time you sit down to blog. I always start with a list of four or five ideas and wait for the one that pops out and screams, “Me! Write about me!” I have started a post many times and abandoned it because I felt no connection.

How to get past the hard:

Often I will read something, perhaps an article or post someone else has written, and it will strike a chord in me. Some kind of emotion pops through from the page. Maybe it angers me, maybe it makes me laugh out loud. But I feel something. And I know that I can take that idea, put my own spin on it and hopefully touch someone else with a post.

Be on the lookout for such ideas and write them down. If you don’t, I can guarantee, they will slip out of your brain and be lost forever.

4. Blogging is seriously hard when you have been inside your head for too long.

Bloggers and writers tend to be thinkers. And sometimes we spend too much time inside our heads. It’s just a job hazard. But I find that the more I isolate  myself, the fewer new ideas pop into my brain.

How to get past the hard:

If you are like me, you have to purposely look for outside stimulation. Go to a coffee shop and watch and listen to people. Wander the aisles of a bookstore. Ask a question on Facebook and get feedback from your community. Flip through magazines (The New Yorker is one of my favorites.) If you are one of those creative-around-water types, take a shower. Try walking backwards (I can’t exactly prove this, but I read that it makes the creative parts of your brain wake up—and it works for me.)

Basically, just shake up your normal routine and take in some of the ideas lurking outside of your brain.

5. Blogging is seriously hard when you let your perfectionist self out of the cage.

What if, just for once, we could write with the freedom that comes from not caring? That sounds revolutionary and counter to all of the advice we read. But the times that I have written my best posts were when I pushed thoughts of reader reaction away and wrote with abandon.

How to get past the hard:

Forget about changing the world with every post. You can’t do it by yourself. Besides, that’s just way too much pressure.

Just reading through some of the 133 comments readers left on my post, Why Most People Quit Blogging: The Princess Syndrome, will show you many people share this trait with you.

6. Blogging is seriously hard when family is taking every ounce of your creative and emotional energy.

Sometimes a family crisis can hit us hard and leave us emotionally drained, whooshing away that creative spark that helps us come up with new blogging ideas. But just as often, writing through it can distract us from the painful issues—or we can use the event to fuel our writing.

How to get past the hard:

When my second parent died, I felt seriously blocked and didn’t think I could get a blog post out. Actually, it was the week my siblings and I cleaned out our parents’ house and got it ready to sell.

But when I was looking through a box my brother had saved for me, I ran across a letter my young daughter had sent to her grandma. It was written in a first grader’s clumsy printing, on lined tablet paper. As I thought about all the feeling that was in that note,I was suddenly inspired to write a new post.

I found that if I was alert and in the moment, even in a sad time for my family, I could indeed find something to write about, even in my grief.

7. Blogging is seriously hard when you are in a professional or personal transition.

Losing focus can also happen when a blogger is in a state of transition, looking toward her “next big thing.”When I was a kid, I used to think about weird stuff. One thing I wanted to do was visit the official line between two states and stand with one foot in each state. Just so I could say, “Right now I am in Washington and Idaho.”

But it is harder to blog when you have a foot in each ‘state’ because you don’t know exactly where you are. You don’t always know which topics are the right ones to blog about. You don’t know what to say—and to whom.

In moving from blogging coach to author, I experienced some bumps along the way. I lost some readers, but I gained others, the people who were interested in writing.

People like me.

How to get past the hard:

Transitions can bring major upheavals with them, but working through them so we come out on the other end with a bright new focus? That is the joyful part.

When your life changes direction, so does your blog. That can be stressful but, at the same time, it’s also exhilarating. And I found that the hard got easier as I got more comfortable with my focus.

2 Comments

  1. MeetRhey | Self-Help Blogger on April 20, 2019 at 10:40 am

    i agree with your last point. i find myself at times, uncomfortable with not having a “plan” in place. what makes me feel better is striving for ‘something’ that is important to me or reflecting and refocusing as i go.

    • BobWP on April 20, 2019 at 2:39 pm

      Yeah, I think we all find our own groove. Sometimes I have everything so well planned, and other times, heck, the inspiration just hits me.

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