Ah, the familiar sight – you’re staring at a blank document with lots to say and no way of saying it or, arguably worse, you have nothing to say at all. We’ve all been there, whether it was that 10,000-word essay due about six hours from now or trying to write that debut novel you keep promising your followers (guilty as charged).
Blogs are of no exception.
But blogs come with panic – you haven’t written one for a month, and your audience are expecting some enlightenment from behind that screen, a sign of life beyond your scheduled posts…no need, panic doesn’t help ideas, at least, not from my experience.
The first things you should remember are: you have a lot to say, and you do have a voice to say it with. All you need to figure out, is how to get it out.
Don’t Worry About a Title
Some will say write your title last, others will say first. At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter. What does matter is that deliberating over a title can waste time and energy, time and energy better spent on the content of the blog itself. A lot of the time as you write and research for your blog, a title will appear by itself.
Also, don’t overthink them. There is of course a lot of research in how long titles should be, and what words you should use, making them clever or original… rules sap creativity, don’t read about them, don’t listen to them. A title will appear to you. Go out and write your blog.
It helps to know what you’re talking about, but if you’re struggling with ideas this too can help. You may stumble upon an interesting article that perks your interest or read another blog that you may want to respond to in your own way – perhaps you agree, or even better, disagree with what they have to say (because after all, saying “you agree” and moving on doesn’t pave the way for mass conversation.) Either all, I spend a good amount of time researching what I want to speak about before speaking about it, and even if you have an idea of what you want to write about this is a good practice to get into. This is especially important if your blog is news based – you want to ensure you’re spreading the facts, and not falsities, after all. Just ensure you don’t find yourself getting too distracted by research and not spending time actually writing the blog – make notes of interesting points but keep an eye on what you want to write about. If you go off topic, why not file it away for future blog ideas?
Also, don’t leave the research for when you’re about to write the blog. Being generally more informed helps you as a creative overall, writing blogs is of no exception. Go out and read, watch things, learn. You’ll find the ideas come much more easily. Just be careful of that rabbit hole.
Write, and write, and write
Hopefully after a bit of research, you’ll have some creativity flowing – use that as a springboard to write, and just keep writing. Sometimes pausing and reading back on what you’ve said can be distracting – don’t focus on typos or editing – these things are for the end. Just start writing and let your thoughts flow – people want to hear your thoughts, so let them hear them. If you need music, play music. If watching something in the background helps, do it (if it doesn’t distract you.) Don’t stop until you’re done and then read back through it. It might not all make sense at first, maybe it will, but first drafts are allowed to be bad – they’re first drafts. They’re essentially your outline in many ways, minus wasting time on doing an actual outline.
Yes, I hate outlines. They waste time and energy. Just get on and write the blog.
Edit, edit, edit.
Editing is important, not just for typos and grammar, but as a final chance to consider what you’ve said. If what you’re writing is news related, it’s your opportunity to ensure that your facts are correct, and, if you’re wanting to write a less biased blog, a good opportunity to ensure your blog is not favouring one side of an argument. You may even opt to add something to what you’re saying or want to slightly alter what you meant. Either way, editing is important. You’ll regret it if you skip it.
If it helps, once you feel you’ve finished your blog, go away and do something else for a while. It will empty your head of all the dust you collected over the course of writing and allows you to return with a clearer mind. If you must leave it until the next day, do that even, just don’t go to edit it as soon as you’ve written it.
At the end of the day, writing a blog is like writing anything – it’s a chance to get your voice and thoughts out, so let your thoughts out and let them be heard by others. Don’t overthink it, and don’t panic about “whether anyone wants to hear it” or “whether its original.” At the end of the day, it’s your perspective and your voice and THAT is original and new. What you have to say is important, so let it be heard and read, and maybe you too will one day be writing a blog… on how to write a blog.