If you’ve been blogging for a while, you’ve probably experienced writer’s block on more than one occasion, and you’ve probably read a dozen articles about how to beat it. There are some useful tips out there, but what you’re about to read is completely different from anything you’ve ever read on this topic.
To beat writer’s block and get those words flowing across your screen again, all you have to do is ask yourself three simple questions.
You don’t have to take a break, turn off your Internet, jog in place, read a book or take a spiral notebook and pen and go sit on the beach. Sure, things like that will help sometimes, but more often than not they’re just a distraction from the real problem. They’re good things for bloggers to do on a regular basis, just to bring some balance into your daily routine and give yourself a much needed break, but they miss the point.
So today, if all that well-meaning advice seems a bit cliché and ineffective for you, try this instead.
In fact, you won’t even be taking your fingers off the keyboard!
Are you ready?
Here we go.
To Beat Writer’s Block…
Just stop for a second, sit back in your chair, take a deep breath, clear your mind and ask yourself the following three simple questions:
- Who am I writing this blog for?
- What is that person struggling with?
- What will help that person move forward?
Most of the times when you’re struggling with writer’s block, you’re banging your head against the wall and focusing on yourself, racking your brain to come up with a blog topic. That’s normal, but it’s missing something.
When you just shift your focus away from yourself and think about your audience and their problems instead, the fog instantly begins to clear and you can likely think of more than one possible topic about which to write. In fact, if you don’t start writing about the very first topic that comes to mind, you’re likely to find yourself stuck with too many ideas to blog about, and you’ll be facing something just as bad as writer’s block: information overload.
So just grab that first thing that pops into your head and start running with it.
Now let’s take a closer look at those three important questions…
1. Who Am I Writing this Blog For?
If you have several regular readers – blogging buddies, perhaps – that read and comment on everything you write and likely have blogs of their own, then you might try zeroing in on one of those people and write a post just for that person. We’re not just talking about some hypothetical client persona here. Instead, try to think about an actual, specific follower of yours.
What do you know about her personal life, her career or her family? If you’ve been building genuine relationships with some of your loyal readers, then you likely have a fairly large pool of people coming to mind right about now.
2. What Is That Person Struggling With?
Now that you have a specific reader in mind, think a little deeper into that person’s situation. What challenges is she facing that she’s mentioned to you in blog comments? Has she commented on one of your posts in the past, saying something like,
“Great post! It’s so amazing how you do that. I wish I could do that, but I can’t because….”
If so, then that might be a clue right there. That person is interested in that topic, struggles with some problem related to it and wants to take action, but she just feels stuck and can’t visualize the initial baby steps she needs to take today that will lead her to success. Or maybe she can see the path ahead, but she lacks the self-confidence and support to take that first step.
Or maybe she has a blog of her own and talks all the time about her problems on there.
If you listen deeply to your readers, they’ll drop hints about the challenges they face and how you can help them.
3. What Will Help That Person Move Forward?
By now you likely already have an answer to this question. You know who you’re writing for, and you know what she’s having a hard time with right now.
So how can you help? What advice could you offer? How could you break it down and simplify the process into daily action steps? What resources can you point her to that will help her take the next step and do the things that need to be done?
This is where the rubber meets the road. This is why you blog. You have knowledge, skills and personal experience that can help others, and blogging has been your preferred method of reaching out to people to help them. You love interacting with your readers, and you take great satisfaction in helping them improve their lives.
When you focus on that, it’s energizing.
Now that you have specific readers in mind, and you know what they’re struggling with, put yourself in their shoes and start asking some questions.
- “How can I _____ ?”
- “What causes _____ and how can I fix it?”
- “What is the best _____ for someone like me?”
If you can see – or at least imagine – the types of questions that your readers would ask, then you can get right to work writing up some solutions and a plan of action to help them get going on it. So think of your readers, think about the problems they face and offer up your best advice.
Now go coffee up and start pounding those keys!