No doubt you've heard of -- and experienced -- writers block, but how about blogger's block? That's when you can't think of a single thing to blog about or, if you have a topic, you can't quite figure out how to get started. How can it be that you were moving along like a well-oiled machine yesterday and today... nothing? You can't seem to get a single word out. The more time you think about it, the more stumped you seem to be. Is there a cure? Maybe not, but there are a number of things that can help.
Visiting other blogs related to your niche is one gambit. Hop over to your favorites or do a search for your topic and choose a blog at random. Seeing what others have to say can sometimes jump start your own imagination and get you over the hump.
You may be able to get yourself started by leaving a few comments there; perhaps you can expand on some of the ideas you see. At the very least, your blog can get a few trackbacks. Also try looking at your inbox and see if there is a question or two there that can get you started.
Another idea: try picking a word or topic at random and writing about it. You can use the same brainstorming method with pictures. Look at images related to your blog's subject matter and see if they spark an idea for a topic. Do a Google News search for your topic and see what comes up. Even for the most obscure subjects, there is almost always some topic in the news related to your field of interest.
Try writing about something only tangentially related to what you normally blog about. You can find answers to your questions in the online encyclopedias. Sometimes, breaking out of your normal mold can help you with writer's block. Besides, it can be refreshing to drift away from your usual topic from time to time; your readers might even appreciate the change.
If none of these suggestions work for you, perhaps journal or creative writing software can help. Often such software can make suggestions for topics that can get you started. Of course, most software is not free, but most applications have free downloadable versions that let you try them out before buying.
Apple's Pages has a full screen mode that eliminates distracting elements and may allow you to concentrate better. Ulysses Core from Soulmen Software is a specialized word processor for bloggers and journalists that has a single, multi-paned window and tabbed interface that contains integrated notepads, search and replace capabilities and a document browser, along with project management and filtering features.
eXpertMuse by ThoughtOffice.com has word snippets it calls "eXpertLingo" to inspire ideas, and a collection area where you can save and rearrange them, along with what it calls eXpertTopic Questions to draw out your creativity. StoryMill for Mac from Mariner Software is designed for novelists but may have features that could come in handy for bloggers.
Or perhaps you may find that a general brainstorming tool will help you generate ideas more easily. MindNode Pro for Mac from Markus Mueller is an attractive mind mapping application, while XMind is an open source mind mapping program that allows you to double click to create and edit topics, drag-and-drop to reorganize them, search on the topic with Google and display your map in various ways.
If none of these ideas help, maybe it's time to do something unrelated to blogging. We all need a break from writing every once in a while. Go for a walk, wash your car, do yard work or run some errands. You might just feel re-energized and ready to start blogging once you get back in front of your keyboard.
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A student in England studying Automotive Engineering with Motorsport, Will created Ask Will Online back in 2010 to help students revise and bloggers make money. You can follow AskWillOnline via @AskWillOnline.
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About Will Green
At first, I was using Ask Will Online to help myself revise for school exams. I then started to find areas in blogging that were tricky to overcome so I started making articles on generally blogging help. Now, Ask Will Online has differentiated into many sub categories so that even more people can now take use of my website.