[Blogging Mindset] A Balancing Act

The first rule of writing anything worth reading?

Write what you want.

Write what you know.

Write about stuff that sets your soul on fire.

No matter how you word it, the truth is that one should write about the stuff they’re passionate about.

But…

There are at least a dozen articles on this blog alone that urge you to always think of the reader, and what such person might want to read from you.

So, what is one supposed to do?

Read on to find out. Continue reading “[Blogging Mindset] A Balancing Act”

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Don’t Know What to Blog About? Try These Ideas Out.

Let’s be honest, okay? This happens to all of us. We might not call it writer’s block, but the truth is that we all have our off days.

But what if I were to tell you that there are certain strategies that you can use whenever you have no idea what to write about.

Interested?

Read on.


Great artists’ steal…

I’m just going to be extremely honest: the novice wants to be original and brilliant so bad that he often fails to realize that he only got kind of good by imitating others.

Good artists copy, great artists steal.

I am not advising you to plagiarize other bloggers, I am simply telling you to see the information to acquire differently. Like Jordan so nicely put it, everything you read, see, or hear is food for your creativity.

Now, here’s what you can do with someone else’s content:

  1. Curate content. Go to your ten favorite blogs, and then find your favorite post on each of them. Publish a post listing these top ten posts, and explain why you like them. You don’t even have to think about being creative, and everyone you feature there will appreciate it.
  2. Ask friends for ideas. Reach out to your friends, and ask them what they’d like you to write about. Do a bit of brainstorming with online friends as well.
  3. Ask your readers. Yup. When you have no idea what to write about on your blog you can write a “what would you like me to write about” post
  4. Do an interview. It’s a lot easier to write a few interview questions than it is to write an entire post! Plus, it can be a great way to connect with really interesting people.
  5. Ask for a few guest posts. This is a great source of content, and it’s easier than most people think – find a few blogs that are your size or smaller, whose content you really like, and invite them to write a guest post for you. That’s about it.
  6. Write a review. A movie, a book, a TV show, or a product that you’d be happy to endorse. No need to get too creative, just explain what you like about it, and why. And then write what you don’t like about it, and why.
  7. Link to old posts. Write a short list of your old favorite posts that newer readers probably haven’t read. You can even do a quick deconstruction, and explain what you were thinking when you wrote the posts, what worked, and what didn’t, what would you do differently.

Use two unrelated dots and force yourself to connect them

Okay, so maybe you do want to come up with a great original idea to write about, but it just isn’t happening.

In that case, try to take two unrelated things and force them together into a really interesting post.

Connect dots that are far apart from each other. Yes, one of them has to be about something your readers would like to read about, and the other one can be something unrelated, but still familiar to your audience.

What you end up with are posts that kind of go like this:

Are you starting to see the pattern?

Sometimes inspiration does not have to find your working

Stop trying to work. Just stop. Don’t force your brain to come up with words and ideas. Do the following instead:

  • Go for a walk. Or a run. Getting your heart rate up is a great way to grow your brain. And meditate. And, yeah, exercise actually does make your brain bigger.
  • Take a shower. Relax your body, and your mind will follow. Cliche? Perhaps. But if it works, who cares?
  • Watch a movie/read a book/listen to music. Just going to say it again: feed your brain. I use the three mediums daily (read information, listen to it, and watch it) in order to stay inspired and come up with ideas to blog on.

When you do have ideas… write like crazy

When you feel inspired, write as much as you can. Write blog posts and save them as drafts to be used specifically when you have no idea what to blog about.


Which of these methods have you tried? Which one would you try?

Let me know in the comments section below.

See, Read, Think, Feel

You can tell. Just after reading the first few sentences, you know. Reading that blog post is going to change you.

In fact, you are so affected by its message you can’t help but share it.

We’ve all experienced content like this. But the question remains: how to create it?

If you’re serious about blogging, your goal is to create content that makes people pay attention, think, and feel.

And I believe that we should keep in mind these very elements as we do our best to craft an experience that will have a profound effect on our readers. Continue reading “See, Read, Think, Feel”

This Four Letter Word Keeps You from Writing

Writer’s block.

The most hated words by those who love them more than anything else in the world.

Also known as creative bankruptcy.

Truth be told, writer’s block is all about one four-letter word. One that we rarely even want to mention.

It’s an “F word” that is frowned upon by people from all areas of life. And this word is keeping you from writing.

Fear.

Fear affects us all more than we care to admit, and it’s especially insidious for writers. Writing online is one of those activities where you’re really putting yourself out there, and the critics seems to be all too eager to tear you apart. But as we’ll see below, failure and mediocrity are not the only things we fear.

Most fear works at the subconscious level and manifests itself in the form of procrastination and writer’s block. We want to write that novel or business book, start that killer blog, release that article that will boost our authority… and yet we keep putting it off.

I don’t like to waste time on regret, because, well, it’s a waste of time. But looking back, I see I’ve wasted so much time in my writing life because I let fear hold me back.

And the truth is, every time I push myself in a new direction, I’m still afraid. I don’t think that ever changes—it’s just part of the game.

The key is to not let it stop you.

Here are the main ways fear holds us back as writers, with a few tips for looking fear in the face and sitting down to work. Remember, courage is not the absence of fear, it’s doing what needs to be done despite fear. Continue reading “This Four Letter Word Keeps You from Writing”

[Blogging Mindset] Never, Ever, Ever Give Up

“What saves a man is to take a step. Then another step.”  —  C.S. Lewis

When asked how he writes so fast, Stephen King answered, “One word at a time.”

This is the kind of answer that no one believes in. And the fact that there’s an abundance of related cliches doesn’t help either.

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Or something like that. The Great Wall of China was built by laying one brick after another.

It is not the mountains to conquer that make you give up, but rather the pebble in your shoe.

All cliches. Terrible, terrible cliches that we can’t help but fear and loathe at the same time.

Want to know why?

Because they are so damn true. Continue reading “[Blogging Mindset] Never, Ever, Ever Give Up”

No Readers? Here’s a Simple Way to go from 0 to Hero

Be honest. You spend a lot more time on your WordPress Dashboard than you should. And most of that time is spent wondering why those stats are so low, why aren’t readers flocking to your blog, and why aren’t people liking, commenting, and sharing your content.

The truth is that the art of blogging is hard drudgery, but what should you do when your time and energy don’t seem to pay off?

Should you just keep punching those keys and hope for the best?

You need a proper strategy, not wishful thinking.

When your blog isn’t doing as well as you’d like, take a step back and analyze what you’ve done so far.

If you are in need of a plan that will help you win more readers, you first need to understand one reader. Just one.

Let’s start with getting to know this reader. Continue reading “No Readers? Here’s a Simple Way to go from 0 to Hero”

Zen and the Art of Blogging

Nan-in, a Japanese master during the Meiji era (1868-1912), received a university professor who came to inquire about Zen.

Nan-in served tea. He poured his visitor’s cup full, and then kept on pouring. The professor watched the overflow until he no longer could restrain himself. “It is overfull. No more will go in!”

“Like this cup,” Nan-in said, “you are full of your own opinions and speculations. How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your cup?”

It seems to me that, thanks to the Internet, there are quite a lot of teachers, but not that many people who know how to learn.

Yes, there’s an art to learning. To know what information is best suited to your own needs, motives, principles, and goals.

While this post is not going to teach you much about Zen Buddhism, it is going to offer you a different perspective on the art of blogging.

Curios?

Read on. Continue reading “Zen and the Art of Blogging”

Blogging is NOT Just About Information

A lot of folks approach the art of blogging as if it’s just about information. It’s about knowing who your readers are and helping them achieve their goals and dreams. It’s about offering them the information they need to go from point A to point B.

Well… did you ever have a teacher who was just awful? Boring? Made you hate whatever it was he was teaching?

Yup. Being a blogger(a good one at least) is not just about being a teacher…

Your content has to be entertaining.

If you don’t learn to entertain while you inform, your readers will find a blogger who can. Continue reading “Blogging is NOT Just About Information”

The Seven Magic Tricks of Blogging

Magicians are skilled manipulators of perception. They can make people think something is moving when it isn’t or see things that aren’t there. Diverting attention this way and that, they can hide cards and rabbits or make objects appear from thin air.

Blogging is a little bit like that, depending on who writes it. Diverting attention with a little smoke and mirrors often draws readers inwards towards a certain conclusion or believing in what the author wants them to.

Now, don’t get me wrong – blogging isn’t evil. Not at all. But brilliant blogging is a bit like magic. Maybe a bit more than we’d like to admit.

Which means it’s tricky. Here are seven magic tricks of blogging. Continue reading “The Seven Magic Tricks of Blogging”

10 Questions Every Blogger Should Ask Themselves

The truth about writing is that it’s 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration; a good writer starts with a quick burst of creativity and spends the rest of their time refining and editing those initial ideas.

This ratio of creating vs. editing time helps clarify your ideas so your audience understands your point of view.

To help you in these crucial editing stages, I think that it’s important to ask yourself some questions so you can make an honest, constructive and critical appraisal of a blog post work before publishing it.

Asking these simple questions could mean the difference between a hastily written blog article that remains obscure and a well-written, influential, and engaging blog that courts a loyal audience with ease. Continue reading “10 Questions Every Blogger Should Ask Themselves”