4 Essential Tips When You Are Struggling What To Write

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what to write about

Do you ever sit at your computer and struggle to come up with any ideas of what to write? Well, you are not alone, this is a very common thing among writers and bloggers alike. Whether you are a part-time blogger like me or writing is your full time profession you will at some stage or even regular stages hit writers block.

Corbett Barr is quoted in saying “When you don’t know what to write about, it’s a huge red flag”

Whilst I agree with this to a certain degree it also can depend on your lifestyle somewhat. If you are running several projects at the same time and run a hectic work-pattern it can be very easy to lose focus.

So – let’s try and outline a few tips for when you are struggling to find what to write about.

1. Ask your Audience

Simple, ask. If you have a list why don’t you ask them? After all this is your main asset right? So, these are the people you should be writing for. You could run a poll on your site or you could send them an email simply asking them what they would like to hear about next from you. If you have a responsive list of subscribers you will be pleasantly surprised. There is no shame in this what so ever, I have done this with my subscribers in the early days and I have definitely not ruled out doing it again some time. This can also help you with what your readers want – maybe you are being too broad, they may want a more narrow niche topic than what you providing. It’s a win-win situation.

2. Spend Some Time in Forums

Virtually every niche online has forums, if like me you write in the blogging/marketing niche then there are no end of forums. If you want a list of tons then here is a link to a short PDF report I drafted up containing many that allow signatures. The trick with forums is to use the search features and try to answer people’s problems. This could be a post! If people are asking in forums this is usually a clue that there are some people out there that need help. I use forums whenever I can. In fact I turned it around the other way and used a forum to my advantage to collect some data. Regular readers may remember the post I wrote called “What is Your Best Traffic Source?

Well, all the data for this post was collect from a forum. The thread was started in December 2012 and even now this post still gets traffic for me. But more importantly it gave me some great material to write about.

traffic thread

As you can see, 173 replies (a lot of data) and 5432 views ( nice free traffic to my site).

3. Sign Up to Google Alerts

This is a great free service from Google. This allows you to enter a topic of your chosen preference, and then you will be emailed every time a new blog, site or news article is found by the search engine. You can then head over and get some inspiration. The great thing about this is it keeps you on the pulse with latest developments or hot topics in your niche.

google alerts

4. Make Notes

This is a god send for me – I have a “little red book” (I still like traditional methods sometimes!) that I carry around with me. I also have Evernote installed on my phone – these two things are for when you get those great Eureka! moments in your head. I often look back and think what was I thinking but it’s good to write stuff down, mental notes are not really good enough I find, something always gets in the way and the thought has gone. So, write stuff down. Always.

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So there we go, a short and sweet post helping you if you are stuck what to write. Please feel free to add some tips in the comments box about what you do to draw inspiration.

 

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13 Comments

  1. Hi John,

    Thank youuuuu! I am struggling a little for my print and design inspiration and do you know what I’m off to ask the audience 🙂

    With my own online work I’ve got SO SO many ideas i could write about, but I do often find it hard to keep the content flowing for The Print Centre stuff – google alerts are so cool – a big help to online work, So I’m off to set up some alerts to do with print and design! 🙂

    LEGEND
    Clair Trebes recently posted..Are You Driving Down The EMPTY Social Media HighwayMy Profile

  2. Great post John!!!

    All these tips & tools are fantastic. I use Evernote myself to jot down post ideas on my phone when I’m out, you never know when that inspiration will hit you. That said, a good old pad and pen is also extreamly useful to have at the side of your laptop when working.

    I’ve found that forums ( and our Facebook group) have been extreamly useful in coming up with post ideas. Can be so helpful to get some feedback on ideas, otherwise i’d probably end up sounding like Alan Partridge pitching ‘Monkey Tennis’! Ah Haaa

  3. I didn’t realise there were so many forums John, thanks for the PDF, will look at some of these, I think we all need to hire a mini forum guyl, someone who can go and do comments and all that kind of stuff. I just don’t think we have the time lol,

    When you run out of ideas to write posts it is a nightmare, I am like you, I have a notepad on my desk and I write on it anything I see or hear that would make a good video or quick post. It has been a life saver really,

    I keep threatening to put Evernote on my phone when I think up ideas but so far as I work at my desk and at home a lot I am not far from paper but occasionally I go out for a meal and as I am tucking into my curry I get an idea and think ‘oh must remember to write that down when I get in’ usually when I return home I remember that I need to write something down but forget what it was lol so Evernote really does need to put on my phone.

    Google Alerts is excellent, I used to use it a lot, recently I haven’t used it much as I seem to get lost of great ideas from a certain Facebook group, its conversations and people. The trick is to keep looking around, as you say ‘Lifestyle’ plays a big part, if you are not focused and do not read many blogs or get involved with people you will struggle to find ideas.

    Great post will share now 🙂
    Andi Leeman recently posted..Time is Your Most Valuable Resource, Learn How to Manage itMy Profile

    • Cheers Andi – yes that Forums list is a bit dated but most are still active.

      Thanks for your comments, and the Evernote bit is a must – get on it and SYNC it to your work PC. That way, even when tucking into that Rogan you can still keep those great ideas and get to work on it when you get to work.

      Regards,
      John

  4. Hi John thanks for sharing your writer’s block tips. It’s always important to find different types of inspiration and all of the ones you mentioned are very effective. I find that when I have writers block it’s because I’m trying too hard to write or come up with something brilliant.

    What works for me is to let go and quit trying so hard. Once I take some deep breathes and meditate for five minutes and clear my mind of all the clutter 3 or 4 fantastic ideas pop up that were there along they just couldn’t get out. 🙂
    Dawn Abraham recently posted..How to Discover your Life Purpose in 5 Simple StepsMy Profile

    • Hi Dawn,

      Thanks for your great comment and adding some extra points to the post. Yes, I think you are right – we often try to hard to come up with the world-beater post that we end up writing nothing! My latest post took me five minutes to do and it has generated a whole load of interest, so it does not always have to be lengthy as long as the value is there.

      Thank you for coming over.

  5. Well, I also would like to add one more point, you can also browse for various forums and blogs to see whether the readers or the influences over the blog have any doubts that you may clear for them and then leave comments with links to your blog replying to them, this is also one of the better ways to go for getting an idea for writing your next post, or you may visit blogs daily and see what the users want make a list of few questions that you can answer to them and bingo you are there with not just a one day blogging titles, you have made your work schedule busy for 2-3 days of blogging

  6. Hi John

    Well, Brilliantly Described Points.

    Actually, In my career, faced Problems with this number of times.

    So, I would say, Very Good Information shared, keeping in mind, it will help many in upcoming days..

    Keep the good work up.

    Have a nice weekend.

    ~ Lisa

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