Brain Freeze: I don’t know what to blog about.

Got a blog?

Ever stared at the blank screen, at a total loss for what to blog about?

Or maybe you’ve avoided the blank screen altogether, because the thought of seeing that obnoxious blinking cursor makes you feel just a teeeency bit hostile.

I totally get it.

Blank Screen Syndrome (also known as writer’s block) affects all of us at one point or another. And we should be able to talk about it openly and without shame.

I’ll start. I’ve been a horrible procrastinator for the past two blog posts.

That’s why in today’s post, I’ll share the tips I’m using to kick the blank page’s digital bootay this week. (It’s like a live demo – without the handy kitchen gadgets.)
You may be thinking, “But Nikki, didn’t you just write about the top 10 excuses that keep us from writing great content?”

Why yes, yes I did. But an excuse as big as writer’s block deserves its own post.

Here’s the deal.

In a dream world…

  • You’ve got a digital storehouse of fully written blog posts, ready to be auto-published each week.
  • Every time you sit down at the computer, a brilliant idea travels from your brain and spills straight out of your fingertips.
  • Writing a ridiculously helpful blog post comes naturally.

In the real world…

  • You’re struggling to crank out one post a week, usually the night before your newsletter goes out.
  • Every time you sit down at the computer, Β you freeze a little bit. (What was I gonna say again? I think I need to go mow the grass….)
  • Writing a ridiculously helpful blog post can feel like work. (And your biz is supposed to be FUN.)

So what’s the hold-up?

As I mentioned, for the past two weeks, I’ve avoided writing like the plague. Instead of sitting down to crank out a newsletter and blog post, I’ve done everything else – from a series of enthusiastic step-ups on our couch ottoman (for real – great workout!) to dreaming up new offers for the fall (ALSO perfectly legit, but not an immediate priority).

I just couldn’t make myself sit down to write a blog post.

And it’s not for a lack of ideas. I’ve got a spreadsheet “Idea Bank” with a solid 97 potential post topics. IΒ have a feeling you’ve got a long list of ideas too. (Am I right?)

Why, then, is it so hard to just pick a topic and GO FOR IT?!

Why I’m Dragging My Feet

If I’m perfectly honest with you (and why wouldn’t I be?), it’s more about my own mental “stuff” than it is about my idea bank.

  1. I’m starting to become increasingly aware of my (increasing) subscriber count. Pressure?
  2. It’s not even just about subscribers anymore – my site is live – on the world wide web! EEK! What if no one finds it?
  3. If I’m not super-inspired by a particular topic, it feels kinda yucky to write about it. And I only wanna put out content I’m excited about. Blah.

Can you relate to any of those?

Why I’m Sucking it Up

Excuses are lame. Always. But the first step is admitting you have a problem. Sooner you do that, sooner you can move to the solution.

Here are the three things I told myself after admitting my lame excuses today. (Try reading them out loud to yourself for dramatic effect.):

  1. Write for ONE: Your people subscribed for a reason. Whether you’re writing to one or 10,001, the goal is the same: write something helpful. Don’t overanalyze that.
  2. Write for PEOPLE: Who cares if the googlebots are after you (or totally ignoring you)? People who need your content will find it. And the right people will appreciate it.
  3. Write for FUN: If it’s not exciting, don’t write it. Β Don’t let your well-intentioned editorial calendar boss you around. Be flexible enough to write about what feels right each week. That’s the message the world needs to hear from you.

And when all else fails…

  • Ask your mama – your best friend – your dog.
  • Pick two finalists and flip a coin.
  • Say a prayer for divine guidance.
  • Eenie meenie. Winner. takes. ALL.

Bottom Line(s)

Writing blog posts should be fun. Don’t write about something that doesn’t FEEL good.

As I used to tell my college students, “If you’re bored talking about it, we’re bored listening to you talk about it.” The same goes for writing.

You can plan and schedule til the cows come home, but if you’re not excited by the content, it’s not the right content.

So chill out. Take a walk. Watch some tube. Talk to your friends. Get inspired by real life.

If you’re truly stuck on ideas, hire someone like me to help you get the creative juices flowing.

To paraphrase En Vogue, FREE YO’ MIND. And the words will follow.

In the comments, I’d love to know: What’s your best tip for busting “writer’s block”? Where do you find inspiration for your weekly content?

And please — if you liked it, share this post with your friends battling Blank Page Syndrome.

We’re in this together.

Nikki

17

LET’S TALK ABOUT IT.

  1. Teri Smart

    Hi Nikki! This is great and super helpful.. Your steps listed above ate going on post it notes and on my wall right in front of my desk :)

  2. Nancy Tierney

    Oh, I’ve been struggling with the same thing. Mostly, I just feel as if I
    have nothing to say that would be helpful. At least, nothing that I’m
    excited about sharing. I feel it’s all been said before too many times.

    Also…
    I know I suffer from “everything I write has to be brilliant,
    fascinating and complete joy to read.” Hey there, that will stop you in
    your tracks for sure! So, my goal today is to just write something
    mediocre but write, damn it!

  3. Marsha from YesYesMarsha.com

    Thanks for this! Inspiring to know that even a word-nerd gets the old WB!

    I find that, if I start thinking about my blog for the week a few days before, I can start coming up with ideas when the pressure is OFF. In my daydreams, I am a freaking SHAKESPEARE-level writer, and my blog has millions of adoring fans. In this theoretical head-space, it’s easier to turn over ideas – without having to *actually come up with the writing goods.

    I find doing this a few days before means that, when I come to writing to blog, my subconscious has done a lot of the work for me!

  4. Fon James

    Nikki, you hit the nail right on its flat head! I am actually a writer and asked myself why I’m not putting content writing first. For me, it comes so super easy that I mentally think that I can wait and do it right before my deadline (which is how I was “trained” to write as a reporter). But writing content for my blog is not the same as writing a story for the paper or magazine. Like you, the pressure of writing content that will be helpful and build a relationship with potential clients is huge. But I think when you focus back on your tips, you release that pressure.
    Great post! You did that! Love your EnVogue reference…I actually sung it out! LOL

  5. michellesears

    Great and honest post Nicki. When I find myself struggling to write something great, I just start typing. I start by writing about anything just so my fingers can get moving then after about 250 words or so I’ve found my grove. Then I start writing about what I actually set down to write about. I usually do end up keeping the first 200 words but it’s after a few rewrites. Rewrites. That’s a good point to make too. If you don’t like what you’ve written then rewrite it until you do.

  6. michellesears

    Nancy you make some very real and honest points here too. I can definitely relate to wanting everything you write to be brilliant. I get stuck in wanting everything I write to be actionable or worthy of someone’s time to read it. And i feel like it’s not if no one comments on it. But writing is what I keep doing, even if it’s mediocre for now. It’s going to get better with practice, right? Lol

  7. Denise Dare

    Love this, Nikki! So good to be reminded that we are all HUMAN…and we’re in this together. :)

    When I feel like I want to be inspired, I cruise to a rad yoga class, spend some time in nature with my two lil’ girls, or relax into a sweet meditation…so many beautiful ways to reconnect and feel energized, excited & enthusiastic again!

    Thank you for sharing your words & inspiring us, Nikki!

    Happy last day of Spring…hoping Summer rolls in with loads of fun & freedom!

    Peace, Love & Inspiration,

    Denise :)

  8. Katie

    Holy Moly just reading this post forced me to sit my butt down and write. I just cranked out a great blog post that I’ve been putting off for a while. Thanks Nikki!

  9. Nikki Elledge Brown

    YESSSS, Katie! We are in this together sister. Way to go!

  10. Nikki Elledge Brown

    Thanks so much, Denise! Nature + precious little ones never fail to bring up some serious inspiration.

    Great tips!

  11. Nikki Elledge Brown

    Sweet idea, Michelle – like a warmup lap ;) Thanks for sharing!

  12. Nikki Elledge Brown

    HA! I just L’edOL, Fon. And then I sang it again in my head.

    The truth is when we’re feeling the pressure, it probably means we’re taking ourselves too seriously.

    The reaction to this post is proof – people want to deal with reeeal human beings (who happen to be in a position to offer helpful info).

    Gotta go with what feels right.

  13. Nikki Elledge Brown

    Umm YES (Yes) Marsha…you kiddin’ me? I totally get it!

    Funny thing is I did that advance thinking technique. I had a totally different idea in my head Monday through Wednesday…but I couldn’t make myself sit down to write it.

    That experience is what inspired this baby :)

  14. Nikki Elledge Brown

    Goooo, Nancy!

    Maybe I should write a whole post on Genius Disease – the unrealistic (unnecessary) expectation that everything has to be brilliant.

    Gotta let that go!

    And I’m sure what you consider “mediocre” will delight your readers.

    There’s a whole tribe of people out there who need to hear “the same ol'” stuff from Y-O-U.

  15. Nikki Elledge Brown

    That’s great, Teri!! Glad it was helpful for you :)

  16. Joni Zander

    SO glad I clicked through to this as I was procrastinating writing my webinar for tomorrow! Reading this made me realize that just because someone else has their upcoming webinar topics on their site doesn’t mean I have to!

    This made me realize that the trouble I’ve been having is that what I think I’ll want to cover at the beginning of the month is NOT what I want to cover when it comes time to deliver, so I make homemade broth, and soup, and totally clean up the kitchen after. (Who IS this person???!)

    Just like potlucks, when someone tells me I have to sign up to bring a specific something before hand, I feel no inspiration in the kitchen and bring the minimum, but if I get to just bring whatever I’m inspired to bring, I’ll usually go all out on at least two things!

    Hm, I think I have a blog post here! :-)

    Love watching your growth! Thanks for your endless inspiration, Nikki!

  17. Nikki Elledge Brown

    Ha! Sounds delish, Joni :)

    Thanks so much for sharing your a-ha moment!

    I’m pretty excited about writing my post this week, knowing I won’t write anything unless I’m genuinely excited about it.

    Takes the (self-imposed) pressure off!

Comments are closed.

READY TO ATTRACT MORE DREAM CLIENTS?