Blank Screens and Brain Mush: Overcoming Blogger’s Block

This morning was unusual – I got up and went to work, still feeling quite weak and generally ‘bleurgh’ after being ill all weekend. However, by the time I sat down at my desk it became quite evident that I wouldn’t be very productive today, so I was sent home for fear of infecting the rest of the school. I arrived back, changed out of my wet clothes (it’s been raining here constantly over the last week) and decided to update my blog. Unfortunately, I found that I’d been staring at the screen for the fifteen minutes and came to the realisation that I had nothing to write about. Zilch. Zero. Nil points.

In just over six months and almost 500 posts, this was the first time I had experienced the dreaded ‘Bloggers Block.’ If i’m being absolutely honest, it was quite an uncomfortable experience – I had the urge to write something, as I often do, but couldn’t think of a single subject that I found interesting enough to sink my teeth into, or even have a little nibble at.

I was just about to switch my laptop off and then something occured to me (I always think of Gavin and Stacey when I hear the word ‘occuring’ – those of you in the UK will understand this)… why don’t I create a list of ideas for those in a similar situation? So here we are: these are my hints and tips for overcoming Blogger’s Block.

1. Freewrite. Freewriting is something that I found particularly useful when studying A-Level English – if i was stuck on a particular thought or idea I would take my beautiful fountain pen and write down whatever sprang to mind until I was satisfied that I had a new piece of material to work with. There’s no right (write, ha, geddit?!) or wrong way to do it, just feel confident enough to let fly with your ideas, and avoid any focus on spelling or grammar.

2. Take ideas from some of your favourite bloggers and writers. I’ve been able to ‘borrow’ tons of brilliant and inspirational ideas from some of my favourite bloggers, although I am careful to reference them in the resulting post.

3. Collaborate. I’ve seen plenty of wonderful examples where collaborations have been very successful between bloggers – one will create a poem about a photograph that has been taken by someone that they follow, or vice versa. Interview a fellow blogger. Invite somebody to guest blog (I’ve done this quite a few times now and it’s proven to be quite successful).

4. Change your location. Visit a coffee house, go to a friends house, go to the library, take a notebook and pen and go and sit in your local park or on a bench in your local town, even go to another room in the house. The change of scenery may evoke a brand new set of ideas.

5. Try a different form of post. This could be a poem, creative story, set of photographs, factual or fictional stories. On the subject of photography, you could post a photograph or a picture that means something. Write about it. Or don’t. I like to use the ‘Wordless Wednesday’ idea when I am stuggling with ideas.

6. For those of you that are number enthusiasts (I can’t claim to be one of them), use a mathematical formula to assist with inspiration. This was once suggested in the ‘Daily Post’ and I found it quite an interesting way of gaining new ideas. For example:
‘Take the number of the day that you were born. Turn to that page number in the book closest to you. Take the first complete sentence and use this as the title of your next post.’

7. Write about your day. A few of my friends try to avoid discussing anything personal as they are afraid to be seen as uninteresting. I love reading about my favourite bloggers lives – I like to hear about what they do, where they go and the experiences that they have. It allows your readers to develop a greater connection with you as a blogger. (Note: remember to always be careful about the information that you give – I don’t mention people’s names, give addresses of places that I frequent etc.)

8. Keep a blog idea journal. Take a small notebook everywhere – if you have an idea that you may find useful, write it down.

9. Re-visit some of your old posts. You may find inspiration from something that you may have previously written, or it may be a great opportunity to do a ‘follow-up’ to a goal that you set yourself earlier in the year or a story or poem that you started.

10. If all else fails, give yourself a break and return when you are feeling a little less frustrated.

Great Blogging Topics

Here are some topics that you may find useful:

  • Write an ‘Open Letter’ to someone.
  • Host a poll and post the results – WordPress allows you to have a poll widget as part of your blog.
  • Write a follow up to your most popular post.
  • Share some of your favourite photographs.
  • Review a product.
  • Review a film.
  • Review a book.
  • Review an album.
  • Review an event you attended.
  • Share your favourite recipe.
  • Collate a Bucket List – things to see and do before you die.
  • Collate an Anti-Bucket List – things you never wish to see and do before you die.
  • The experience of hindsight … eg. ‘Eight Things I Learned From My Teenage Years.’
  • Write about the worst present you’ve ever been given.
  • Share your life’s little pleasures.
  • Share some of life’s little annoyances.
  • Top Tens – create a list of top tens of anything and everything.
  • Write a response to someone else’s blog post.
  • Share what is your Facebook status likely to be in 2020 and explain why.
  • Explain where and when you would travel to in a time machine.
  • Describe how would you spend your last day on earth?
  • Write about how you would spend a large lottery win?
  • Describe the day you left home.
  • Write about your first love.
  • Create a post comprising of old tweets.
  • Share your favourite YouTube videos.
  • Share your opinions on fictional characters in TV programmes, books and/or films.
  • Pick holes in various film plots.
  • Write about ‘A Day in the Life.’
  • Hold a contest.
  • Host a Blog Party (I do one on the 1st of every month and it is becoming really popular).
  • Create a resource list – put together a list of useful websites, tools and networks that help you in your daily life.
  • Write a ‘Recipe of You.’ What makes you, well, you?
  • Discuss your favourite charitable cause.
  • Write a ‘How To.’
  • Compare and contrast different opinions on a subject.
  • Rant.
  • Inspire others by sharing a story that you find heart-warming.
  • Research something that you find interesting.
  • Create a set of predictions for the future.
  • Write a hypothetical post.
  • Review the past.
  • Write a post based on a comment that one of your followers may have left you.

I hope you have found this useful – feel free if you wish to reblog this or add to it – i’d love to hear your thoughts! You can also find me on Twitter @suzie81blog.

Happy Blogging!


60 thoughts on “Blank Screens and Brain Mush: Overcoming Blogger’s Block

  1. Writers block is what Lionel Ritchie the musician had for years. He said it’s the worse thing a man can endure….

  2. Are you saying you wrote 500 blog posts in 6 months? I’m not so great with the maths but that is INSANE. I only just started so I still have plenty of ridiculousness clogged up that I can write about– but I’ll refer to these tips down the road!

  3. I’m with Aussa. I just wish I could get the time to write 100 blog posts. I mean I’ve got them outlined already and now I’m feeling guilty about spending time saying I can’t time to write them…irony or self-sabotage?

  4. I get this every week. It’s why my posts sound so full of gibberish. Because it is gibberish.

    I like my gibberish, though.

    My cure is to just write and write. Even if what you’re writing is crap, inspiration will find you.

  5. This post of yours could not have come at a better time. I’ve been having a block on my blogging for about a week and its starting to drive me insane!

    also very interested about this blogging party you spoke of

  6. Dear suzie81, I totally enjoyed reading your post. It’s so different from what I’m writing (and just beginning to post). Perhaps I was born a thousand years too soon. Your refreshing enthusiasm, even when feeling ill, is inspirational. And thank you for enjoying my “Not so inner dialogue”

  7. You truly are fantastic! Love this list. It’s interesting how a change in scenery can be inspirational. I used to go to a local coffee shop to get creative work done. Maybe it’s the smell of fresh coffee, or the mass amounts of things and people to stare at, but I always found new energy there.

    And maybe bloggers block isn’t too bad. Lately my mind is racing with too many ideas and as you suggested in a previous post, content is king, writing for the sake of writing can be overkill. Trying to seriously take that advice with me in 2014!

  8. Really inspiring. Thank you. I am determined that 2014 will be the year I really grasp my creative side and blog daily and this post will really help me. Susan x

  9. Great ideas! Hard to believe that you’ve ever had writers block with all of the posts you have written! Many of my posts are based on ideas that come from reviewing pictures of me. I experience writers “block” when nothing “jumps out” from the pictures. Sizi

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    • Thank you!

      An open letter is a letter that is usually intended for one person/company but you write it on your blog.

      A blogging party is when lots of bloggers choose their favourite post and post their link on one site. This means that they can all read each others posts and meet new people.

      If you go into ‘Blogging Tips’ in my header there is an example of a blog party that I did last year.

      I’ll be hosting another one soon… Hope to see you there!

  11. Wonderful list! I have close to 1700 posts myself and I have found value in almost every single one of these suggestions, some very recently.

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