All About Blogging: What to Blog About When There is Nothing to Blog About?

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So Many Posts But No Inspiration, Ottawa, August 2011

No matter how much you enjoying blogging, chances are you experienced or will experience writer’s block at one point or another. Bloggers all have different ways to deal with it. Some choose to go on a hiatus while others apologize bluntly about their lack of ideas and promise to return soon with more material. Finally, some writers will feel so discouraged that they will simply stop blogging.

So, what to blog about when there is nothing to blog about?

Well, there are several ways to hack yourself out of a writer’s block.

Completing or starting a meme — If you’ve recently been tagged for a meme, now would be the time to complete it. As long as you manage to spin it in a fun way, most readers don’t mind them. And don’t forget it’s the chance to get some backlinks too! Haven’t been tagged lately? You can volunteer to complete a meme or start a new one. For instance, lists such as “X things…” are always popular. Identify your newly published list as a meme and write some basic rules. Usually, you should tell people to answer a set of questions or follow a model and list a few blogs you are “tagging”. Don’t forget to comment on the tagged person’s blog, inviting them to visit your blog to participate in the game. This way, you can generate interest from other readers of the tagged blogs to visit your blog as well.

Doing a photo essay — If you are lost for words, why not use a picture? Pretty much everyone has a camera these days. Even if you are primarily a writer, you can try yourself at a photo essay. Photo essays are basically a collection of pictures around a theme, such as a specific event, the weather, your home etc. Pick several of your best shots and arrange them in a way that suggests a story. For example, if you enjoy cooking, you could illustrate your best recipe step-by-step. Try to see the world from a different point of view, and don’t forget that your readers come from all over the world. What is common for you could be very exotic to them, so don’t be afraid of taking pictures of your hometown, your house etc. Just add a little bit of text for context and don’t forget captions!

Starting a series — Series are a great way to ensure you will have material for several weeks and some continuity in a theme. I usually start by picking a fairly broad subject I’m comfortable about. It is very important to write an outline before you start the series. If you promise your readers ten articles on XYZ topic, you don’t want to run out of steam half-way! I usually write series articles little by little but I follow the general outline I devised when brainstorming the series, complete with keywords and ideas for each posts. Series give your readers something to look forward to and allow you to explore a chosen topic in depth. I find my previously published series often become reference posts!

Additional tip: make a list of article ideas — The best way to prevent writer’s block is to maintain an up-to-date list of article ideas. I have a little widget on Netvibes, my homepage, with tons of ideas I picked up while reading other blogs or listening to the news. I write down a short one-sentence summary of the topic along with keywords, quotes and examples, and I work on the article whenever I’m inspired.

Do you have any tips to tackle writer’s block? Have you ever tried any of the suggestions above?

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About Author

French woman in English Canada. World citizen, new mom, traveler, translator, writer and photographer. Looking for comrades to start a new revolution.

23 Comments

  1. I have a tendency to go on extended leave… 😉
    Another alternative is to look to the past for stories & experiences to write about.
    Your ideas are excellent – although I’d be hard pressed to present a photo essay – lack of skill & talent…

    • Tsk-tsk… give photography a try, you may be surprise! Forget about technicalities and fancy cameras, just show the world as you see it. You’re a writer, I’m sure you have eyes too!

  2. I use 2nd & 4th methods. But I hardly get any time to have a look at those ideas. 🙁
    So these days I’ve reduced the frequency of posts. One more tip, maybe?

    • That’s true, posting less often can be a way to get out of a writer’s block. I admire people who post every day and never run out of steam… I don’t know how they do it!

  3. Ah, you mention several things here that I myself do. I do partake in memes: one recent example is this 30 Day Song Challenge that I am doing at the moment. And I have several series too, involving pictures as well.

    The thing is, the time I have to write articles aren’t always regular, so I schedule my posts, usually a month in advance. Right now, I have the song meme, a Buffalo-themed series, and a Philippines series all running at the same time. The bad thing about this is that sometimes, there are days in which I have something itching in my head to be written, and I write it, only to know that if I just let it be the last on my queue, then it’ll be published a month from now, when it’s not relevant anymore. Then I have to re-schedule things and move things around so this one gets published sooner. Aagghh…

    • I started scheduling posts a few days in advance because I was tired of scrambling to finish an article. Photo essays for instance are not time-sensitive and I typically published them a week after the actual event. Keeping posts relevant is sometimes a headache, that’s for sure!

  4. Good list!Whenever I run out of ideas… I try to pick one picture that I have, that means something to me and try to express this in a couple of lines. Easy, short, AND has a photo! But I really would like to start a series… still looking for a theme though!

  5. I never run out of things to write about — I have the opposite problem of too many topics but not enough time.

    I used to do the odd theme, but it doesn’t really fit in with my current life which is quite random. A theme at one point seemed to look more like filler, which it wasn’t, it was more like something public to write about to distract myself from the private stuff.

    Meanwhile, my taxonomy when the blog started 9+ years ago doesn’t apply anymore, especially when I migrated everything to WordPress back in 2005 and I had to come up with categories. Since I didn’t really know how the blog would evolve I wasn’t making categories and tags properly and now I’m just waiting for an easy way to do it without starting over.

    • I do have to review my categories once in a while because some stick and some don’t. Blogs evolve as the same time as we change I guess!

      There is a very cool tag plugin for WordPress. Can’t remember the name right now but I used it to tag a backlog of posts when I moved from Blogger to WP and it saved my life.

  6. I think I’ve used my “sorry for the lack of updates” wayyyy too much. You made me feel so bad about it Hahaa!

    I dont think I’ve run out of topics to write since I don’t blog that frequently as I used to before. I have tonnes of things to blog, just that I need the time and the motivation to do so. 😉

    • Motivation is another story 😆 Maybe blog less often? I find that when you put pressure on yourself to deliver articles often, the quality decreases and it’s more tempting to just give up.

  7. Great tips. I always try and keep a list of articles as it’s easy to forget them. I think it’s also fine to blog about past travels, as long as none of the info is time pertinent.

    • Hard to say… take it one article at the same, don’t put pressure on yourself. Complete two or three articles and schedule them a week apart maybe, and build more articles meanwhile… but I understand it’s hard when you’re busy!

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