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Dec
10

Sunday Coffee Contemplations: Battling the Blog

iStock_000018161229XSmallWhy is it so hard to write a blog post? I have my own personal blog (obviously, you’re reading it), plus my company blog, and to top it off, I teach writing to aspiring PR professionals. Should be a breeze, right? Except that it isn’t. Just look at how long it’s been since my last blog post.

I will do ANYTHING rather than sit down and write a blog post. Well, almost anything. I’ll wash dishes, pull weeds, walk the dogs, anything! And Facebook! FB is a fantastic procrastination tool. I can kill HOURS on FB, sharing snarky political memes and photos of lost dogs.

I don’t know what it is about that blank screen that wipes my mind free of inspiration faster than Bounty’s Quicker Picker Upper – it soaks up all my ideas and leaves no trace behind.

So how to overcome writer’s block? Here’s my Top 10 ways to get the creative juices flowing:

  1. Pick up a pen and start to write. On paper. I don’t know what it is about an old-fashioned piece of paper that gets the brains working, but it does. For serious writer’s block’s I pull out all the stops – my antique fountain pen.
  2. Take the dogs for a walk. Somehow, just getting up and moving helps. maybe the exercise increases the blood flow to the brain, and all that extra oxygen helps. Of maybe it’s talking my ideas over out loud with my dogs – they never laugh or criticize….or maybe they just hide it well. At least they’ve never been driven to bite me over some of my hair-brained ideas…yet.
  3. Have a drink. As Alan Jackson and Jimmy Buffet so eloquently put it, “It’s 5 o’clock somewhere.” I’ve had some of my best first draft ideas while discussing such deep philosophical questions as, “why does my Siberian Husky lie like that?” It doesn’t have to be alcohol, either. Coffee is critical to writers and PR pros – don’t believe me? Just try to take my cup. Go ahead. I dare you. I double dare you.
  4. Go for a drive. Better yet, have your husband drive you somewhere. I keep a notepad stashed in the glove box (Hey, we don’t use gloves anymore, except in winter), and the monotony of staring at the vanity plates in front of you will force your brain to cooperate out of sheer boredom.
  5. Take a nap/go to bed, but make sure to have a notepad on the nightstand next to you. I guarantee the voices in your head will roar to life, if only for the perverse satisfaction of keeping you from getting any sleep.
  6. Have someone else write the first paragraph, so you can bring out your red pen and get to work – it’s so much easier to criticize other’s work than to do it yourself. All you need is a first paragraph you can rip apart. It doesn’t even have to be on the same topic.
  7. Change topics. The most obvious thing you can do is to change the topic. If you can’t think of anything to say, it can’t be all that important, now can it?
  8. Go play on Facebook. If you’re like me, and have vocal friends from many different political delusions….er, persuasions, you’re guaranteed to find something to talk about.
  9. Take a work break. Do something you really hate, like the dishes, laundry, or dusting. You’ll find a way to get your mental gears going when faced with the remains of last night’s dinner…and that of the day before.
  10. And finally, there’s always this surefire solution: write about how hard it is to think of something to write about.

2 comments

  1. Gini Dietrich (@ginidietrich) says:

    I always say, you can’t be a better writer if you don’t write. Sometimes it’s crap and sometimes it’s brilliant. But the point is, you’re writing.

    The other part of the equation is you have to read. Read blogs, read books, read the paper, read magazines. Read, read, read. That is where your best ideas will come from. Then you’ll start noticing things in your social network streams and when you’re out with friends and while you’re traveling.

    If you want to blog – or have to create content consistently – it’s a non-stop, 24/7 job.

    1. Debra Bethard-Caplick says:

      Oh, it is. If I’m not writing, I’m observing, or reading, or thinking about writing. What you said is what I tell my students to do – read. And think about what they read, the good AND the bad. Think about how they would do it differently.

      Funny thing is, one of the things I have them read is your blog, Spinsucks.com. It’s on my syllabi for both my PR writing and intro to PR courses. You’re infamous, Gini!

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