On Blogging Part Five: Blogger’s Block

In Stranger than Fiction, Emma Thompson’s character is suffering from writer’s block because she has painted herself into a corner with the ending of her novel, but she isn’t satisfied with the ending that is expected of her. I don’t think I could be a novelist that only writes one kind of story, but a lot of authors write a successful book and it’s expected that they continue. The same thing happens to film directors. People are often shocked to find out that Steven King wrote the book that Stand By Me, The Shawshank Redemption or even The Running Man because of his reputation and our expectations. Writer’s block can only ultimately be cured when a writer feels either the quality or the direction to the words they’re currently on are correct. The same principles in writer’s block apply to blogging too. Some of it you can chalk up to blog fade, where a blogger just slowly loses interest in the medium, some of it you can chalk up to circumstances that change or take priority over their blogging, but sometimes it’s just because the blogger feels they’ve run out of things to say. I think for the person who’s suffering from blogger’s block, some remedies may be found in common remedies to writer’s block and then there are some that might be specific to blogging too.
The pros suggest changing the setting in which you’re writing, so in blogging, maybe it means taking the laptop to a park or a coffee shop or just go to the library and use a public computer. Any change in the setting may spark a new perspective from which to blog. Remember that you don’t need to write directly into your blogging interface. Some of my best posts have been typed up in Word and later formatted for Blogger.
I suggest making some lists to jar your creativity. It doesn’t take much looking to find a list on a blog. I know I do it from time to time with songs or albums or top ten this’ or thats. Maybe you can write down your top five jobs you’ve had (or maybe you’ve had 5 jobs period) but then expand on each job on what you liked and didn’t like. Not only are you getting something out there, but you’re likely giving your readers new information about you and maybe even industries that they’re thinking about.
Authors outline a story when they can’t seem to get it going. Believe it or not, authors and writers have unfinished stories, articles, poems, movies and songs just rattling around their heads that could fill a library. When they get in a jam, oftentimes they’ll outline the piece so that if they can’t get started, they can at least work on a climax or an ending or just develop the conflict. The same can be said for blogging. Let’s say you have a post rattling around about a restaurant you just discovered. You can outline that with headings like service, location, ambiance, appetizer, entree, dessert, wine selection, etc. Maybe writing about the location or the server will jar your mind to explore the food itself.
Sometimes blogger’s block is due to not having a topic at all. For this, I simply suggest reading, reading, and reading. Sometimes if you look at what is popular or what’s being blogged about you can at least blog about what everyone else is blogging about to weigh in and it usually leads to other ideas. Technorati’s WTF (Where’s the Fire?) feature is an interesting look into what people are blogging about, looks like Richard Jeni’s apparent suicide is a topic. So here’s my quick thought on celebrity suicide: Why is it that the public and the press when looking at a celebrity suicide they automatically think there’s foul play if the celebrity has anything to consider a success? I think Kurt Cobain taught us that sometimes it’s the success itself that spins someone to take their life. But there I go too, comparing one celeb suicide with another, with the only common ground being more people know who they are than the average person. See how easy that was?
I don’t know about you, but sometimes I’ll observe something out in the world and it will spark me to think, I should blog about that, but 96% of the time I don’t because it slips my mind and I move on to something else. Why not carry a little notepad with you and write down ideas you have. Then when you do sit down at the computer and think “Man I wish I had something to say, all these people keep stopping by my blog, they must be so disappointed when they see the same ol’ article” you can look at your notepad and boom there’s your great commentary on SUV behavior in inclimate weather from your notes.
Above all you should feel freedom in the medium that most of the pressure that you feel to make a great point or share some amazing piece of information with your readers is all in your head. That’s the glory of the blog is you’re only accountable to yourself…unless you get paid to blog, but the principles above still hold true in that case too.

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