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Bloggers Writing Block

As a writer or blogger, sometimes your sentences flow effortlessly, like a well-oiled bicycle careening downhill. Other days, it’s an uphill struggle. Every word feels like you’re squeezing it out. Your brain gets cranky just thinking about writing, let alone getting words onto the page.

What can you do when your muse gets rusty? Put a drop of oil in to get things turning smoothly again.

Here are some of our favorite tricks.

Stash Your Creative Wealth in an Idea Bank

Ideas are like the British weather. Some days they just rain down. Then there can be a drought for weeks.

When you have an idea, jot it down. Ideas beget ideas, so once you write one idea down, you’ll find more flow out.

As you’re writing down your ideas, flesh them out as much as you can. You might believe you’ll remember it all when you sit down to write. But unless you write it down, some of it will slip your mind.

The more ideas you store in your idea bank, the easier it becomes to sit and write. Your muse is constantly rich with possibilities. Even if she’s feeling poor, you can show her the wealth you’ve stocked up in your bank, and she’ll be able to protest no longer.

Stop Writing

It sounds counterintuitive, but if you’re really struggling to get words onto the page, then burnout could be your issue.

Rather than forcing yourself to continue, take a break. Do something completely different. Go for a walk, draw in your journal, or make yourself a cup of tea.

Doing something active is especially helpful, as moving your body gets your brain in gear, and ideas will start to flow naturally.

By distracting yourself from the “problem” of your writing, you’ll often find that it resolves itself. When you return to your writing desk, you’ll be reinvigorated with a new energy.

Write About Not Wanting To Write

When you’re blocked, your thoughts can turn hostile to even the idea of writing. “I don’t want to write this,” your brain says. “I’m not going to write anything.”

Instead of trying to push those thoughts away, listen to them. Write them down, and see what they’ve got to say to you. Giving them attention and letting them have their say means they’ll stop trying to distract you.

Here’s a simple exercise: Sit down and write all the reasons you don’t want to write. Keep going until you have them all down, and don’t let your pen (or fingertips) stop moving until you’re done.

Make a Mess

A big reason many writers get blocked is perfectionism. We want our words to be just so. That’s fair enough if you’re writing poetry, but for blog posts, you don’t need to strive for perfection. What matters is the information you’re sharing, not the words you use to share it.

So don’t get hung up over crafting your sentences perfectly. Instead, just write. You can always go back and edit later. Usually, I find that writing fast improves the quality of my writing.

Ultimately, the only way to beat blogger’s block is to get words onto the page. So start writing, and see where your imagination takes you. You might be surprised at the journey – and the destination.

Recycle Old Blog PostWriting content is time-consuming. Even if you write at lightning speed, there’s only so much content you can create. And pretty soon, you’ll suffer from burnout.

At the same time, if you’ve been blogging for a significant period, then you have some meaty archives. You might get some traffic from Google, but probably these archives are mostly ignored.

It doesn’t have to be that way.

Instead of always creating new content, what about recycling content that you’ve already created? Breathing new life into old things is a trend these days (think eBay, Craigslist, Freecycle), so why not do the same with your virtual creations?

Here are three ways you can dust off your old content and give it a new sparkle.

Repurpose Old Content

So you’d like to write an eBook? Well how about instead of sitting down to hammer out 20,000 words, you browse your archives and find 20 of your best ever articles? Put them together in a collection, write an introduction, think of a snazzy title, and Presto! You’ve got an eBook.

This can work in reverse, too. Stuck for ideas for your next blog post? How about taking a passage out of an eBook you’ve written? As well as giving you an easy time of writing, this promotes your eBook. That’s a double win!

Schedule Your Archives on Social Media

This one’s easy as pie and has two huge benefits. First, it boosts your traffic to your blog because you’ll be sharing more of your own content. Second, it means you’ll be more active on social media. The more you share, the more you show up in the feeds of your followers.

The WordPress Tweet Old Post plugin makes this super simple. You choose the categories of old content you want to tweet and the times you want to post. It handles the rest.

Shine New Light on Old Ideas

A blog is a work in progress. As you learn new things, you change, and your ideas change with you.

As such, it can be incredibly interesting to reflect on your old content.

Browse through your own posts to see what you used to think. Pay attention to your reactions. If you’re thinking, “Boy, I was stupid back then!”, that’s an opportunity for you to write a blog post.

In your blog post, explain how and why you’ve changed.

You can also feature your old posts that you believe still hold true. Some of what youv’e shared in the past is timeless, so point that out to your readers.

Over to You

How do you go about recycling content? Have you ever repurposed your old blog posts? How did that work out?

Twitter Blogging Content Marketing

Twitter and blogging fit together like hand and glove. After all, Twitter was originally set up as a micro-blogging service, and tweets are just miniature blog posts.

But as they’re best buddies, do you really need them both in your social mix?

We say, “Yes!” When best buddies get together, they create something more than when they’re on their own. When homies hang out, awesome happens.

So word up, dear reader. Getting down with Twitter will benefit your blog. Here’s how.

1. Share the Love

Let’s start with the basics (we’ll get to mind blowing in a moment). Twitter is all about sharing content. There’s a ton of great content on your blog. Sharing it on Twitter means you’ll get more attention. Of course, there’s more to Twitter than that. But even if you’re just using Twitter to build a bigger platform for your blog, it’s worth it, right?

This leads neatly to the second reason for using Twitter:

2. Build a Loyal Tribe

Five years ago when blogs were becoming mainstream, you kept up to date on your favorite blogs by subscribing to their RSS feed.

Today, you’d be forgiven for asking, “What’s an RSS?” Even Google has turned its back, having ditched its RSS tool, Google Reader.

Readers nowadays don’t subscribe to blogs. They’ll either sign up to your email list or follow you on social media. So if you want a loyal tribe of readers, you need to be on Twitter.

3. Unstick Your Muse

Stuck for inspiration? Suffering from blogger’s block?

Don’t worry, we all struggle to find our flow at times. And help is at hand! You can turn to Twitter. On Twitter, you can:

  • Ask your followers what they’d like to read about on your blog.
  • Do a Twitter search to find out what questions people have in your niche.

There’s another strategy you can use that’s so powerful it deserves its very own subtitle…

4. Test Out Your Ideas

Writing content takes a ton of time. Even if you can write at high speed, it can still take a morning to get your ideas down, format them for WordPress, find suitable images, schedule the post. So when a post you’ve written bombs, it hurts.

What can you do to make sure that doesn’t happen? Apply the following strategy:

Tweet out quotes and snippets of ideas. If a tweet gets retweeted or favorited a ton of times, then it’s a hit. You can (and should) use it as a springboard for writing a blog post.

When tweets are ignored, well it only took a few seconds to write. So you can afford to let it disappear into the ether.

Using this technique, you’ll never again need to fear blog post flops.

5. Be Present Around the Clock

The old sages of blogging used to say that it was best to blog as much as possible, every day if you could. Otherwise you risked losing your readers to rival blogs.

Things have changed. These days, you can blog less frequently and still retain a loyal following. That’s because most people will follow you on social media, where you can post updates 24/7.

Check out our guide to scheduling to find out more.

6. Get Noticed by Influencers

Influencers in your niche are using Twitter right now. So connect with them!

A really effective way of doing this is to write a blog post about something they’ve said. Then share the blog post on Twitter, including the influencer’s @username in your Tweet.

Oftentimes, they’ll re-tweet your post, shining a light on your blog. Getting retweeted by influencers is also a form of social proof, and creates trust in your brand.

7. Let the Magic Rub Off On You

Curating content is our favorite Twitter strategy at Social Caffeine. It’s one of the easiest ways to create tweets, and our followers enjoy what we share.

What’s more, you can establish yourself as an expert in your field simply by curating cool stuff other people have shared. By sharing cool stuff, the magic of it rubs off on you.

Isn’t this piggybacking on the success of others? Only in the same way that museum curators piggyback on the great stories and civilizations of history.

8. Create Conversation Around Your Blog Posts

You want your blog to get people talking, right? Then give them an opportunity to discuss what you’ve written on Twitter.

You can do this by:

  • Hosting regular Twitter chats focused on the topics of your blog posts.
  • Adding the WordPress plugin Twitter Mentions As Comments to your blog.

Some people even suggest that Twitter is replacing blog comments. What do you think?

You can also use Twitter to extend discussions that take place in the comments section of your blog. As Chris Brogan writes:

“I genuinely believe that the comments section of my blog is better than anything I write on my own. To that end, when a topic seems to take off, I send a note to Twitter alerting people to the quality of the conversation in the comments. It’s not pitchy in nature. I’m simply sharing that the best stuff came after the initial post.”

9. Breathe New Life into Old Content

Are your blog archives gathering dust in the nether regions of your blog? You can put your back catalogue to good use by featuring it in your scheduled Twitter updates. That way all your content gets extra mileage.

You can even use a plugin to automagically tweet old posts. Check out Dustin Stout’s guide for doing that here.

Your Call

How do you link Twitter with your blog in your social strategy? What do you do to make these best buddies work together in the most effective way possible?