As a business owner, you may or may not think of yourself as a writer. Nowadays, however, since social media and content marketing are so relevant to the survival of any business, you’ve surely noticed just how important it is to become good (if not great) at writing. You need to be able...
As a business owner, you may or may not think of yourself as a writer.
Nowadays, however, since social media and content marketing are so relevant to the survival of any business, you’ve surely noticed just how important it is to become good (if not great) at writing.
You need to be able to write blog articles, social media posts, and marketing copy if you want to sustain an online presence for your business.
However, even the best writers hit roadblocks now and then. Writing is one of those things that looks like it’s really to do – until you have to do it. Even writers who write professionally, and who have worked on their skills for years, hit hard times.
They get tired.
They run out of good ideas.
Writer’s block is real and it’s awful.
Not to mention, terrifying.
Look – it happens to everyone. So, don’t feel bad if you just feel like you have nothing left to write about and your business blog is in danger of going dark.
Here are a few practices and techniques that will help keep the inspiration flowing, so you can continue to write great content for your business blog…
The Disney Method is a brainstorming process, developed in 1994 and used by creatives at Walt Disney, to help come up with good ideas.
It’s an elaborate scheme, but basically, the premise is to divide the creative process into 4 distinct phases with different thinking styles: outsiders, dreamers, realisers and critics.
You can adapt the Disney Method to writing blog articles.
First, start as an Outsider thinker, and approach the problem or idea objectively, from a distance. Try out different approaches from a broad standpoint.
Then, you enter the Dreamer phase, and you unleash your imagination and just throw out whatever crazy ideas you can think of, without worrying too much about how feasible they are.
Next, you get more analytical and organized, and get into the Realiser phase. This is where your idea materializes and becomes more concrete. This is where your story or blog post starts making real sense.
And finally, you enter the Critic phase. This is where you hone your language and tone, edit, proofread, and edit again. This is where you cut out extraneous material that might have felt good during the Dreamer phase, but have lost relevance now. This is where you fill in the missing gaps of information so your writing flows and makes sense to the audience (not just you). This is where you get tough on yourself.
The mistake many writers make is that they enter the Critic phase – or even the Realiser phase – way too early. Give yourself the time and freedom to play around with ideas and don’t limit yourself by trying to make everything perfect right off the bat.
This way, opportunities to come up with really unique ideas and perspectives will open up for you.
The Artist’s Way, written by Julia Cameron, is a workbook that takes creative-types through strategies that are designed to cultivate their creativity.
An integral part of her teachings involves a practice called Morning Pages.
Morning Pages require you dedicate a part of your morning to free-think and dump all your thoughts in writing before you start your day or go to work.
This is 3 pages of longhand, stream-of-thought writing. You write about anything, without thinking about how artful or important the writing is.
You can blast out your negative thoughts, apprehensions, errands you need to run, things that are worrying you or angering you, your goals for the day – anything.
I’ll be honest, doing this feels pretty stupid, at first. Not going to lie.
But, when you do this diligently and consistently, you will discover that this routine clears your mind and helps your focus for when your brain has to do real work – such as writing a business blog.
Also, while most of your Morning Pages are going to be complete garbage – which is okay, because no one is supposed to read them – you will discover unexpected sparks of brilliance.
These kinds of ideas would never have formulated without the reckless wild abandon of doing a morning ritual where you let your mind wander freely and express itself on a page.
I think of Morning Pages as a sort of “workout” for the mind. While your goal might be to run a marathon, for instance, you would get in shape for that huge goal by building your muscles and endurance – not just running a marathon right away (a la Forrest Gump).
This last method doesn’t really have a name (that I know of) but it’s a process that I use a lot to write for several blogs.
Let’s call it the List Method. I kind of made it up. It’s called the List Method because it’s a method and involves making lists (clever, right?).
A good time to delve into the List Method is after you’ve brainstormed and come up with some creative ideas – so, maybe you’ve been doing Morning Pages for a while, and you were hit with a question or problem that keeps coming up from your clients.
Perhaps you’ve exercised the Outsider and Dreamer approaches, come up with some answers to this problem or question, and now you are ready to Realise your written article in a more concrete way.
First, decide how long you want your finished article to be.
Currently, Google favors blog posts that are about 1,000 – 1,200 words long.
Seems really long, right?
Hold on, don’t panic just yet.
Come up with 5 attacks, or bullets, or answers to your problem.
Then, write 200 words to expand each bullet. Writing 200 words is a lot less horrible than writing 1,200 words, am I right?
Write these bullets in a Dreamer phase – don’t think too hard here, just whip them out.
Then, write an introduction and a conclusion.
Boom. 1,200 words. All done.
If you want more (7) or fewer (3) bullets, that is up to you, of course – and, you can alter the word length of each bullet as you see fit.
Now, you can safely enter the Critic phase and clean things up.
Optimize your key words and phrases, research external and internal links, come up with a fetching title, and select some stock photography to bring that blog post to life.
You are done.
Writing and maintaining a blog is hard work. Writer’s Block is a terrifying but imminent part of being a blogger, but there are some practices and techniques you can work into your writing routine that can help you: consider looking into the Disney Method, the Artist’s Way and Morning Pages, as well as the List Method.
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