I had a blog post planned out for today, and it wasn’t this one. I sat down to write, but I realized I had no ideas for the actual content of the post. I sat for maybe 20 minutes just figuring out an outline. Just a few bullet points. I wrote a couple down, then erased them. Back to zero. Not fun.
Last month, I planned out all of my blog posts and did not stray from them once. I sat down twice a week, religiously, and wrote my planned posts. This month, that looks a little different already. I sit down to write, and 20 minutes later, change the topic idea because I was just not feelin’ that topic today. What did I do different last month and why was it so much easier for me to write? It seemed like they were easier because I planned the ideas out and wrote them down.
But I had the topic planned out ahead of time. I had it written down in my Wunderlist. But why was it so hard for me to just write this post? Why was I facing this particular mental block? And what made several of my other posts from last month so natural, easy, and fun to write? Why did I have such a hard time with that particular topic? What really makes it easy for me to write blog posts? Because the approach I’m taking, whatever that is, is not making writing this blog post easy. So I examined the idea to figure out what about it was making it so difficult for me to write. Well, I discovered a few things about that post that made trying to write it so boring and frustrating.
What Causes Mental Blocks When Sitting Down to Write a Post?
For me, it’s two things. It’s harder for me to write a post if I got the idea from someone else, and/or if I have no personal experience with the content I want to write.
Getting the Idea from Someone Else’s Blog
The blog post I was planning to write today was called “what to do before and after hitting publish on your blog post.” When I first wrote this post idea down in my Wunderlist, probably about a month ago, it was because I saw this post on someone else’s blog. A very respectable person in the blogging/biz world, to be more specific. I thought, “oooh, I could write about that too! If she’s writing about it, that means it’s a great topic and people will read it.” As the month passed, I didn’t think about that post. When I sat down to actually plan out my posts for the month, I threw that one onto today’s date, still not thinking about the content I would actually put inside, hoping inspiration would just come to me when I sat down to write. Well, here I am, sitting down to write, and all I could muster up was “UHH share your posts on social media?? Promote them in Facebook promotion threads??” Then I sat in silence sipping my coffee, hoping the caffeine it would plant some more ideas in my head. But even those couple of ideas I came up with were awful. I’m assuming if you are blogging, you already know to do those things. Obviously you’re going to promote your post. Other than those two ideas, I was completely stuck,
After about 10 minutes of thinking what I personally do before and after publishing a blog post I looked at her post for inspiration. I wasn’t going to take her ideas, just gain some inspiration. The points that this respectable blogger wrote on her post did not relate to or resonate with me. I did not do those things myself (so why would I tell other people to do it?), and the things she wrote about that I actually did do I had already written about already on a completely different post! All in all, it was not a good plan to look at this post for ideas, because those were her ideas, that was her post, not mine.
No Personal Experience With The Content
I didn’t live through the experience of the content I was trying to write. I wasn’t going to be solving a problem for others, because I hadn’t lived that problem. The posts I have the most fun writing are the ones where I reflect on a problem I myself have had, and how I overcame that problem.
As I mentioned, the things this respectable blogger talked about in her post did not resonate with me because I did not do those things myself. And the things I did do personally, I couldn’t even write about them because they were already written about in full in another one of my other posts. So if I took inspiration from her ideas, I would pretty much be rewriting a previously written post.
How Can I Smash Those Mental Blocks to Make Writing Posts Easy & Fun?
Think of A Topic That Resonates With You on a Personal Level
Think back to your school days. Wasn’t writing a paper on your experiences so much more fun than researching and writing a fact paper on something like the history of hot dogs? (I don’t know, you might be into that kind of fact writing. Personally, I would rather write about my experiences and thoughts on eating hot dogs than writing a bunch of facts about hot dogs.)
Back when I taught Kindergarten, I had to constantly be thinking of ways to teach a lesson while also relating to the lives of the kids. That’s the only time they are interested in anything you have to say, really. For example – “Today we’re going to talk about transportation. What are some ways that you get to school?” Then I would get answers like, “I like to FLY to school!” Alrighty, kid – whatever gets your brain flowing. They sure do love to talk about themselves. We’re all really just kindergartners at heart, aren’t we?
Writing about something that relates to you but also helps others makes the process of writing a blog post so much more enjoyable. Here are some ideas on what you can write about:
- An obstacle you’ve overcome
- An experience you’ve had relating to one of your hobbies
- A personal experience with a certain product
- A tutorial or step by step guide on how you completed something
- What you’ve learned as a result of _______
- What you wish you knew before ________
Write the Topic Down Where it Won’t Be Stuffed Away
Have one designated place to keep all of your blog post ideas out where you will be seeing them constantly. Having multiple homes for your ideas will confuse you and make things more difficult (and less fun) than they should be. Make sure your ideas have one home and that you capture them in the same way every time so it becomes like a habit for you. I separate my topics by categories on Wunderlist like this:
(I’ve created a home for your ideas in worksheet form for your use. It outlines the process of writing the idea down under it’s specified category, and allows space for plenty of note taking! )
For you, that special home for your ideas might be in a notebook, in Evernote, or in the notes app on your phone. Since I use Wunderlist a million times a day, I see these topics all the time. And because I use Wunderlist and Wunderlist only to write my blog post ideas down, it has become a habit for me. Every once and a while, I will go into those folders and delete the topics that don’t resonate with me anymore. I try to come say hello to my blog topics often to see how they’re doing.
Take Notes On Your Ideas Throughout The Day
If your topics resonate with you, you might be thinking about them all the time anyway. If not, that’s okay. Just try to visit your ideas in their home throughout the day and write down any thoughts you have on those ideas. Eventually, you will find that you have some brilliant points, which of course will lead to some kind of excitement when it comes to actually sitting down to write. It gets exciting to want to share your genius blog post idea, especially if you already have part of it written out! In the worksheet download, I have created a space where you can write these ideas down for each blog post.
On Wunderlist, I make subtasks or take notes on the ideas I have for my posts.
It makes things so much easier when I have bullet points written down for my post already. It takes the pressure off my brain when I don’t tell it to hit me with its ideas all at once.
“All right brain, here we are! Time to write this post! Now throw all your ideas at me, I’m ready!”
Putting this pressure on yourself is really hard and can be frustrating because your brain hasn’t had time to reflect. The great thing about writing points down throughout the day, week, or month is that it gives your brain time to gain inspiration and ideas.