How To Survive Bloggers Block

Bloggers block, the younger but equally annoying brother of writers block, has long since been a pain in many bloggers since blogging was first conceived. What it often does is force blogs to undergo long unwritten periods and cause other bloggers to resort to writing unnatural pieces of work just to "fill in the gaps".

If you like many other people love blogging for what it is, then having your mind draw a blank when it comes to writing your post is frustrating. Then again, I've taken the liberty here today to help you understand the causes of bloggers block so that you'll be able to get past it and get back to blogging like you really should. First let's look at the two main causes of having a block.

  1. Nothing to write about.
  2. Excessive self criticism.

The first reason is not necessarily true, depending on what your blogging niche is. If like a lot of blogs out there, you have yourself a personal blog, then you really have no excuse on what to write. Unless you live indoors in a giant bubble unable to get out of the house because you'll die from the simplest of infections, I can guarantee you that your life is as eventful as a day in a life of an Iraqi citizen.

With niche blogs on the other hand, what you write depends on how active you are in your research on the matter. Whether it be technology, politics, sports or knitting, the amount of content you post depends on how well informed you are on the subject. The more current you are with the events you write about, the more likely you are to keep away from drawing a blank.

Now, in my experience on the matter, the greatest problem isn't really the fact you have nothing to write about. It's that most of us tend to correct ourselves too much. Our expectations on what we write and what we really write down doesn't always coincide. As a result, what we blog about feels pointless to us. We try so hard to impress our audience by impressing ourselves that we forget that for a large part, our audience won't blink an eye the moment we write something else.

We are our own worst critics yes, but it shouldn't come to a point that everything that comes to mind be analysed to death simply because we couldn't find the right words to express our thoughts. In doing so, we destroy what makes a blog good – it's natural flow. Once a blog loses its natural flow, it becomes alien to us, it gives us every right to hate what we have written. How many times you've tried to write a post and found it never saw the light of day because you didn't feel that it lived up to your standards?

That's excessive criticism for you and while a fair amount is good, too much destroys what could be a beginning of something good.

Getting past bloggers block thankfully is easier than expected. A lot of which are common sense. Some are just a matter of putting to constant practice. Here are some general tips on how you can avoid or get past a bloggers block.

  1. Live Life – If you don't get out there and experience life, I can guarantee you, you'll have far less to write just being online than if you start experiencing it for yourself. You think the big boys sit in front of their computers everyday? They go out. Meet people, network, experience things for themselves, then come back and blog about it. You can't be on the frontline when you're hiding on your room everyday.
  2. Leave No Stone Unturned – Chances are, you're holding back on things you think aren't worth blogging about. Take chances. Try blogging about things you haven't blogged before. When you think about it, only a fraction of our daily life actually goes into blogging. Sure, they might seem boring to blog about, but exploring new ways to blog about is one of the ways to develop your own original writing style. That itself is a bonus.
  3. Stop Self Correcting Yourself – As I explained, the greatest problem is when we correct ourselves too much that it is no longer fun to blog. Stop doing that. Resist the urge to "make your post better". People won't scrutinize your posts in great detail and neither should you. People will forgive you too if there are some errors and so should you. At the end of it, you'll find that you'll be a better writer by letting yourself go and learning from your mistakes rather than spend so much time on posts that you never publish. Remember, we learn from criticisms of others, not from your own self satisfaction.
  4. Learn To Give It A Rest – If you can't blog, don't force yourself. That's a good rule. Quantity doesn't always measure up to quality, even if blogging is your daytime job. Some of the best bloggers out there blog sporadically because they do it when the mood hits and the words flow out of their fingertips like toothpaste out of a tube (bad example but you know what I'm talking about). Forcing yourself only burns you out faster and whatever you wrote will feel unnatural and alien even to you. When you feel like you can't write, take a breather and come back to it when you're in the mood. Sometimes inspiration comes and goes as it pleases and that's alright. When you think about it. That's just another thing to write about before it returns.

Hopefully whatever I wrote here does help you overcome and avoid bloggers block. It's an annoying thing, I know. I suffer from it regularly. But as long as you relax and make sure blogging always stays fun for you, whatever you write will always be at your fingertips. At least that's the plan. Do you know of any other way to avoid bloggers block?

Feel free to share your thoughts.

14 Comments

  • October 24, 2007 - 15:44 | Permalink

    OMG, Ed, I can’t believe this! I have just written a guest-post for a fellow blogger, with the title “How do you overcome blogger’s block?”! But of course, you dealt with what the blogger can do, while I wrote about a few sites that (actually) help bloggers blog. The article should be out in a day or two, I think =)

  • October 24, 2007 - 15:58 | Permalink

    I find it difficult to believe you suffer from blogger’s block! You, who’s been involved in blogging marathons before!

    The rest of us mortals shake our heads in wonder.

    In our seriousness: I loved the post. Dealing with so much writing on a day to day basis has got me kinked up when it comes to my blog, so I’m taking this post as a sign to restart. Thanks.

  • October 24, 2007 - 19:40 | Permalink

    very nice advice indeed… I love ‘leave no stone unturned’ :) although I’m also my own worst critic… these are great reminders!

    @Pelf.. thanks for directing me here :) its okay to keep looking at this problem from different angles and your article does that!

  • October 25, 2007 - 00:18 | Permalink

    Blogger block is such a bad thing for me who have tried hard to make a new post every day. I don’t know, but I believe that for personal blogs, “angst drives art”. If it was a perfectly normal day, I have no idea what to talk about– and therefore, suffer from blogger block.

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  • October 25, 2007 - 12:59 | Permalink

    Pelf: Interesting coincidence. :)

    Eli James: Yes I do suffer from it. When you blog almost everyday like I do, chances are, it’s going to burn some things out. That’s why sometimes we got to take a step back, if only to refocus ourselves again. Otherwise, there isn’t any point in writing.

    Pearl: Thank you. :)

    Darkwolf: You don’t have to be angsty to keep blogging. Motivation and inspiration can come from many forms. A lot of blogs out there show many different kinds of drive. It all depends on what your motive of blogging actually is. Chances are, you have plenty to talk about, just that you help things back and never give yourself the option to blog about it. Think differently. Think openly. That’s a good start.

  • October 25, 2007 - 15:52 | Permalink

    What if it’s neither Bloggers block or self-criticism? what if you find yourself slowly losing interest, yet you’re not quite ready to give up?

  • cooper
    October 26, 2007 - 00:58 | Permalink

    Live Life I think this is one of the most important things and something people often overlook.

  • October 26, 2007 - 02:14 | Permalink

    Is “Stop Self Correcting Yourself” redundant on purpose?
    Also, good write-up.

  • October 26, 2007 - 13:56 | Permalink

    ChickyBabe: Then write accordingly. Half the time we forget the reasons why we start blogging in the first place because we’re too caught up with not just our own expectations but the ones formed from other people. Or we could just be too busy with our own lives that blogging really isn’t that much of a bother as it used to. Either way, go with the flow. Blogging is not meant to be a fight where you succeed or give up. It’s just something you do at your own leisure. It’s your call. No one elses.

    Cooper: Let blogging be about life, not let life be about blogging.

    Vidar: Yeah. It’s the most important lesson I learnt when I realized I would love to write better than I can. And thanks. :)

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  • November 1, 2007 - 01:38 | Permalink

    Great post. I’m glad I didn’t ultimately miss this one, though I’m late. That self-criticism thing … unfortunately I don’t see it ever going away. It’s one of those awareness-type things. I agree in that to the extent it becomes paralyzing it’s a bad thing, but I think it’s a battle that’s worth fighting time and time again.

  • November 2, 2007 - 20:15 | Permalink

    Live life. Appreciate Life. Life is for living.

    Thanks for the reminder!

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