What to Write about When You Have Nothing to Write about

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Here it is 9:00 p.m. the night before your blog post is due, and you haven’t written one word. You need to get up early the next day for a meeting, but no pressure, right? Also, there’s a full-scale pandemic going on that has you more than a little freaked out. What to do? Here are some ideas.

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Go Back and Review

Now’s as good a time as any to reread some of your older writing. There was that whole series on social media and clowns, for instance. That was a fun series. Then there were a bunch where you wrote about Einstein, Tesla, and Maslow’s Hierarchy of Social Media Needs. Do any of those have ideas that you could expound upon? Or are the times we’re living in just too somber? Well, you know what they say: one person’s somberness is another person’s circus! Or something like that.

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Do a Best of Post

Here is where you could pick two or three or ten(!) of your favorite posts. For me, I’m going to pick just one. My favorite post is the one I wrote about Twitter lists. Why? I think the language is sharp and concise, and it was a joy to write, even though I edited it a million times. You probably have a favorite post, too. Or maybe a few.

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There might be a post that nobody read and you can’t figure out why. Did you ever pour your heart out writing something and feel that nobody even noticed? That happens sometimes. Could it be the timing? Maybe people were busy with some big event in their lives and didn’t have the time or inclination? Maybe the writing wasn’t up to your usual caliber. Or maybe the images in your post weren’t compelling. Try to see what happened.

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If You’re Really Stuck, Ask a Friend

Reach out and ask a friend what to write. You’d be surprised what your friends know about you. And right now, they’re probably home since they’re all sheltering in place! So there’s that.


How to Cure Writer’s Block: Ten Best Ways

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Every writer experiences writer’s block from time to time. Sometimes it’s because you’re using all your creativity up (at least that’s what some friends say). Others cite exhaustion. No matter the reason, there are ways out. Here are some ideas for you!

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Once you’ve brainstormed, you may be able to pick a topic from all the ideas you have. As my friend, Randy Clark says in How to Defeat Writer’s Block, “You may have to play with the steps to fit your style, but if you follow the basic structure, you’ll defeat writer’s block too.” Randy writes thousands of words every week, so he’s a good one to listen to.

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Mind Map

I’ve written about mind mapping before. It’s a lot of fun, and you get to engage your creative side, too. Read more about Mind Mapping in How to Come Up with a Year’s Worth of Blog Content. Mind mapping doesn’t even feel like work, so you might be able to trick yourself into thinking that you’re playing and cure your writer’s block. And if you’re a visual learner, which most people are, mind mapping will really appeal to you.

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Dream Your Way out

This might sound crazy, but here’s something that works for me. Leave a notebook and pen by your bed. Think about writing right before you go to sleep. When you wake up, write down the first thing that comes to your mind–often your brain will work while you’re sleeping and you’ll be surprised. The trick is to be nonjudgmental as you write. That is, don’t think about it too much.

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Ask Friends

Ask a few friends what you should write about. Or ask your mom what you do–that could lead to a few laughs. Or you could ask your friends if they have a clear impression of what you do in your business (or whatever you want to blog about). No? Ask them what would help clarify your role or your business. Take that idea and run with it.

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Rewrite an Old Post

Did you write something that nobody read or commented on? How about rewriting it? You could also turn it into a video! You could even do a blog post about why you think nobody read that post.

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Add Uplifting Images

If you’ve written something without any images, add an image or two. Or use a different featured image. Since we’re all visual creatures, sometimes the image is more important than the words, unfortunately. And a positive image can change the feel of a piece of content.

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Read What You Don’t Usually Read

Yesterday at a concert, I found an old copy of The Whole Earth Catalog, published in 1971. What a treasure it was! Lots of little reviews of books (many for under a dollar), notes, little drawings, stories that continued from page to page. I must’ve spent a good 90 minutes flipping through the old weathered pages.

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Respond to Someone Else

You might get inspiration from someone else’s video or blog post. Mention them in your post, and make sure to let them know you’ve written about it. For example, I wrote a post recently about oversharing (with a thank you to Mitch Mitchell).

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Ask your social media connections what they’ve done about writer’s block. Adopt the best ideas. To crowdsource using social media, you could ask your connections on Facebook, put it on Twitter, create a video and post it on YouTube, and so on. One of the most excellent examples of crowdsourcing I’ve seen lately is the way the Netflix show Diagnosis uses it. Check it out.

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Write about the Block

You might want to run straight into the fire by writing about your writer’s block (I know–so meta, right?)! Sometimes you’ll see a way out by exploring your own feelings, triggers, and fears by answering your own questions. Is there something I didn’t cover? Let me know in the comments!

How-to Secrets to Overcome Writer’s Block

How-to Secrets to Overcome Writer's Block

How-to Secrets to Overcome Writer’s Block

We’ve all suffered writer’s block at some point, right? Staring at a blank screen or blank page is never easy, and it sometimes happens to everyone. Lately, all the rainy, gray days have been sucking all the fun out of writing. But I know that others in the country have snow and ice (and no power!), so I’m not complaining too much.

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Just Do it!

One of the best quotes I ever heard was about applying the seat of your pants to the seat of your chair if you want to get something done. That’s generally been my approach, too. By the way, you might like my previous post Content Creation: What Are the Best Habits for Writing?

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Write Something, Even if It’s Bad

My dad used to always say “Do something, even if it’s wrong!” Sometimes thinking back on that advice, I smile, but other times it does seem to help to overcome paralysis. In my family, we didn’t often suffer from paralysis through analysis, but we did have to go back and fix some bad mistakes. Then again, as my friend Adam Fout said, “you can’t edit a blank page.” Go and read his excellent writing. Maybe you’ll be inspired to write something good.

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Turn off the Critical Part of Your Brain

One problem with writing or any creative venture is that your critical sense gets more refined as you move through life. That is, you like good writing and if you don’t do any writing yourself, the gap between what you know is good writing and your own writing grows. It’s difficult to turn off that critical sense. What if what you write isn’t good? What if no one reads it? The what-ifs grow and become louder, so it’s important to turn off that absurd little critic that prevents you from writing.

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Read More

If you’re paying attention while you’re reading, you’ll see some writing that you really like. And even if you read bad writing, you’ll discover what not to do. Sometimes, what not to do is as important as learning what to do. Right now, I’m rereading the Harry Potter books. The stories within the larger story really pull you along. I love stories that paint a picture as the Harry Potter books do. And the movies are good, too. Most of the time, I’d say that the book is better than the movie. This time, I’d say that the Harry Potter films are pretty good, too!

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Join a Writers Group

There are lots of meetups, and if you don’t see one you like, you can start your own! It’s pretty easy to do. You don’t even have to make it an official meetup. You could just ask a few friends to join you at a cafe to do some writing.

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Look over Your Old Writing

If you’re lacking inspiration, look at some of your own writing. What worked? What didn’t? Can you rework an old headline and make it into something more fun, more exciting, more interesting? Sure you can!

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Start with a Good Headline

Speaking of headlines, many people might argue that the headline is the most important part of what you write. If you’ve never considered your headline before, you might like this article What Happens When You Write 25 Headlines Before Choosing One? Yes, that was a fun one to write.

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What’s Your Secret?

How do you overcome writer’s block? Or do you have a secret at all?


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