As I sat and pondered and wondered and stressed about what I should blog about—because it’s been weeks since I actually had a blog post that wasn’t part of Writers Weekend—I was coming up with nothing but frustration. I reached out to friends, I asked on social media, I went through my ever changing list of things that I want to write about someday, and still nothing. So, like a runner with a broken toe, I decided to write through the pain. Make it work for me. Take that, writer’s block.
Write what you’re thinking about.
If you’re anything like me, there’s always something running through your head. A song, a comment someone made to you the other day, a list of things you need to get done. (For me, Michael Jackson’s “Bad,” a vague possible acceptance to an invitation, and writing a blog post, respectively.) So turn those into something useful! I took needing to write a blog post but not having any ideas and turned it into a how-to for when other people are feeling the same way. There’s a way to spin any thought to make it a good blog post. Some good titles to start with:
- How to XYZ
- X Things to Do When You’re XYZ
- What’s Up with XYZ?
- What You’re Really Saying When You Say XYZ
Write what you’re feeling.
Humans are a swirling vortex of complicated emotions. At the moment, I am feeling frustrated that I couldn’t think of a good idea, content that I have good coffee, happy that I woke up naturally before noon, irritated that I have to make a graphic to go with this blog post or else it won’t gain traction, and stoked that the weather is warm. Among other things. What are you feeling? How can you turn that into a blog post? Some titles to consider:
- Why Can’t X Be XYZ?
- X Songs/Movies/Books/Whatever That Make Me Happy
- How Good X Can Make You XYZ
- How to Move Past XYZ
Search Wikipedia or news sites.
One of my favorite things to do when I’m stuck for an idea is to hit the “random article” button on Wikipedia. (Far left, fifth item on the menu.) I’ve learned about unexplored ocean holes, professional poker players, roads in India, and all manner of cool and unusual things. Some of them have gone on to be blog posts, some have become poems or stories, some just get stored away for future use. If you’re more into the practical side of things, however, go to your favorite news sites and scroll until you find something you have an opinion on. Or until you find something that sparks another idea. While this is personally less interesting to me, I’ve found it useful for staying on topic and on trend.
I won’t give you titles for this one, because whatever you’re reading should inspire a better title than anything I could give you. Just think about what you’re reading, what sparks your interest about it, and how you can make it helpful or engaging for other people.
Mine social media.
This is probably my least favorite way to get ideas, because I either a) end up spending hours scrolling through Instagram or Reddit or b) end up too mad and disheartened to write anything. Social media is a cesspit. We all know that. But. It’s a convenient way to see what people are talking about and why they find it interesting. Someone shared a video of a cute puppy? Write about why puppies are cute or compile a list of the cutest puppies on the internet or highlight your local animal shelter. Someone got into a fight about politics? Write about how to effectively argue on Facebook or spend the time exploring your own opinions on that particular topic. A few titles to get you started:
- The Science Behind XYZ
- How to X When You’re XYZ
- A List of the Best XYZ
- X Ways to Become the Master of XYZ
Finally, go for a walk.
This isn’t something to write about, granted, but if none of these ideas are working for you, then maybe writing isn’t going to be feasible right now. I know this advice is given so often it’s almost trite, but exercising and getting your mind off of something is always a good way to loosen ideas. Make coffee, clean your desk, walk around a metropark, change up your surroundings. Stop thinking so hard and let the ideas come to you. Check something off of your to-do list to lessen the pressure. Exercise your body and give your mind a break. Do something that makes you happy and gets you into a better headspace. Just be nice to yourself.
Writing isn’t the end-all, be-all—something I have to remind myself of constantly, especially since it’s how I make my living. You can do this.
Do you have any tried and true ways to beat writer’s block? Tell me about them in the comments!