blogger's block, Blogging, content creation, writers block

Blog Block? – 5 Ways to beat writer’s block

 For a while now, I have been working on others things and not tending much to my blog. I have recently  moved and am still settling in. And along with it comes a whole lot of challenges, and my blog took a back seat. Now most of the work is done and all I need to do is to buy my tickets. When I look back, I think I should have documented the moving process.

Now, I have been trying to write about it and come up with posts but I just did not. In fact I have a lot of ideas, lot of created graphics etc and yet am stuck. And I am wondering exactly what I have been upto. And I arrived at a nice pie chart of the reasons.

And realised at most of these are really superficial and most popular(lazy reasons to not write). Also, I noticed that the red big part of the pie was the most important reason. I was actively pushing writing away. Writers block had set in.

Wikipedia lists this article for writer’s block and defines it as “a condition, primarily associated with typing, in which an author loses the ability to produce new work. The condition ranges from difficulty in coming up with original ideas to more extreme examples in which some “blocked” writers have been unable to work for years, and some have even abandoned their supposed lifelong careers……Writer’s block can manifest when a writer views their work as inferior or unsuitable.

Mike Rose defines writer’s block as:
 “an inability to begin or continue writing for reasons other than lack of basic skill or commitment”

That is quite true of me now & I sure hope it is temporary(fingers crossed).

In order to break this, here are some ways:

  1. Read/surf a little bit more – There always is inspiration, lurking just about the corner. Particularly Pinterest. There is something inspiring about looking at beautiful pictures on topics of interest to you &  There is a lot of good work out there. So yes,  read a book or surf for ideas more than you normally do.
  2. Re plan posts –  If I have already planned topics and find then uninspiring, shake up their schedule a little bit. Going through the post content and re prioritizing them. It is a good source of ideas for follow up posts.
  3. Get creative otherwise – Sometimes, creating graphics for post topics actually feels therapeutic, and helps break the silence in the head. Make a good meal, indulge in another hobby, anything that feels creative to you.
  4. Speak to your blog community – Use them as a spring board for Ideas. Interact with them. Appreciation usually lifts spirits and therefore helps creativity. I think it is sometimes o.k to fish for compliments shamelessly
  5. Find a quote calendar – The most recent help I have found is a year calendar with no dates, but a nice quote for each day. I have decided I will elaborate on the quote of the day when I find a dearth of ideas, and keep the writing going. Try to come up with a whacky product to avoid feeling a little like writing a middle school essay on a given topic. Just keep the juices flowing.

  Here are some preventive ways to help you tide over a block

  1. Have a blog Journal – A nice fancy notebook to jot  ideas every time one strikes. Use this reservoir to come up with posts during a dry period.
  2. Journal or not, Note it! – when I have an idea, I grab a piece of paper, note the idea, elaborate it with single word points and stuff it in my purse.
  3. Allot a schedule for this purpose –  dedicate a specific time for writing, Eg. Mon, Wed, Fri at 1900hrs, and concentrate only on writing in this time.Shut out distractions. 
  4. Stay committed – Stick to your blog post schedule/plan. If you dont have one yet, create one right now. There are very good available online to help with this procedure.

Here are some sites that I find quite informative on tackling the block:

Most of these ideas are based on actual writing, but are also equally relevant for blog posts. But in order to keep posts flowing with out taxing your creativity too much, there are a whole bunch of other ideas. And that list is coming up soon!! Here.

Have you encountered and countered this challenge? If so, How?

b-by-b, blogger, Blogging, blogging essentials, brick by brick, content creation, wordpress

Blogging: 8 Essentials of Blogging – PART 2

Part 2 is here ..

This is the continuation of this post. The 2nd part of the 8 essentials of blogging. We have looked at the first 4 aspects already:

  • The groundwork
  • The posts 
  • The platform
  • Blog name and title

And,as of now we have some content created, we have chosen our platform and decided on a name & title. The next steps would be to fix on the visual & design aspects of the blog. We will look at the elements, their Layout, themes etc and also discuss a little bit of blog promotion.

The Elements –  Any blog will need a few elements for E.g: Header,About  Page,Contact page/on sidebar, posts section, etc. These are basic elements and must be present on every blog. If you choose to monetise your blog, it will help to have spots for advertisements and commercial display too. Enough attention needs to be paid to these elements and their content should be created carefully. A good header image will serve to set the visual tone of the blog. About page is where the purpose of the blog is described, and a connection with the audience is established. A contact page is essential to allow your readers/ advertisers to contact you. Of course, the post section is where all your blog posts go. Now it is very important to keep the data in all these sections crisp and coherent. 

The Appearance-The layout of the elements discussed above need to be  in locations that will keep the visual flowing. For Example, the pages follow the header followed by the posts with the contact details on the side bar at the same level as the posts, or,  the pages also are on the sidebar,etc. Both WordPress and BLogger allow for a lot of customisation in Layout depending on your need. The other important aspect of the appearance is the theme  of the blog – The background image, the colour scheme and the image formatting etc needs to be in consistent and in line with the blog positioning. For WordPress blogs, there are a whole host of free and paid themes which are clean and neat to look at while keeping visual appeal. If you have a paid account with WordPress, you could also use themes from the web. Blogger too has  a lot of ready made themes available for free & on the web. Some of the WordPress themes are also customised for blogger and are available with a little bit of searching.
The pictures- These are a very important part of your posts. Creating interesting graphics and clean images is essential to creating and keeping the readers interest in the blog. It has now become all the more important in the context of the new social sites with a focus on sharing pictures: Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter & Facebook as well. THere fore creating good images and collages are quite essential. There are a lot of options, paid and online, to help enhance images or create graphics.Photoshop is the best out there but asks for a budget while allowing for a huge possibilities for graphics creation and image manipulation. There are free online resources too(piktochart,picmonkey,gimp,etc.) that one can use to create really nice pictures. ANd for those using phones for pictures the list of apps is endless.

Blog Promotion-Promotion is a really important aspect of blogging. Before there is a community created for your blog, the blog must be discovered. A reader must be established. And promotion is key to that aspect. Email lists, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, Google+ etc are all good places to start. Also, it is important to generate content that individual to the medium, apart from simply posting links to the blog there. If your blog is centered on Recipes, instagram pictures of a simple breakfast that turned yummy, although the recipe is not necessarily on your blog, and it is fairly well known.You could, at a later date, create content for this picture on your blog. On twitter engage in a discussion about a topic, and then write a post including comments from the discussion and along with your research on the topic. This serves a lot of purposes – engages your readers, helps with content, promotes blog, and increases your presence in the community. 
And that makes it all eight. The 8 essentials of blogging are now explained and clear I hope. So those who have been putting off that blog just because you could not figure out where to start, I hope this helps.Also, here is Map to chart out your blogging path:

While writing these 2 posts, I realised the 8 aspects are actually topics in themselves. I struggled to keep the posts at readable length. At a later date, do expects posts with more concentration on these individual elements to help clarify how best to use them.
Until later then.