In this post Mark Hayward shares some great tips on how small business owners can combat blogging frustration.
image by: Speshul Ted
Is this you?
- You have your small business blog up and running.
- You have a dedicated time during the week that you draft posts.
- You consistently publish content on a daily or weekly basis.
To be certain, in your quest to promote your entrepreneurial venture you’ve been going great guns, even reading the recent ProBlogger small business blog posts for inspiration.
Unexpectedly, three weeks, a month, or two months into your blogging life, after doing everything right, frustration has set in.
Strange, you had tons of ideas just yesterday, but now you’re currently staring at the computer screen and the cursor is blindly staring back at you.
In fact, you’ve stared at the computer for so long that your eyes feel like they are going to bleed, and you’d really like to pull your hair out. However, as a means to keep your mind occupied, you set about doing busy work because that will make you feel like you’re accomplishing something.
- You check email. Nothing new.
- You scramble over to your FaceBook updates. Nothing important.
- You peruse your Twitter stream. Nothing interesting.
But, you sure are busy, aren’t you?
Suddenly, you snap out of the busy work induced, glassy eyed haze and look back at your word document to see how far that blog post has gotten…
Armed with the palpable realization that you’re getting nowhere, you suddenly feel the unwelcome blanket of frustration circling you like a school of ravenous sharks. To be sure, just like how you feel now, we have all been there. Do not give in and quit. You can overcome this feeling and live to blog another day.
Ten Simple Tips for Dealing With Blogging Frustration
Below are ten tips that have helped me with frustration in the past. Some of the tips are for generating new ideas and some are for relaxation. Hopefully they will keep you from actually ripping your hair out.
1. Close ALL distractions – sometimes you would think that I’m waiting for a message from the President of the United States himself the way I compulsively check email while trying to avoid doing any work. If you have the same problem, shut down all of your browsers and anything else that is not related to your goal of completing that blog post.
2. Don’t panic – blogging frustration happens to everyone at some point. I consider myself a non-creative creative and I run out of ideas on a daily basis. If this happens to you, remember to breath consciously and try not to let panic set in or it can paralyze you.
3. Walk away – yes, a consistent small business blogging approach is key for your success. But sometimes you need a break for a week or two. With respect to my small business blog, I always try to remember that nobody is out there waiting with baited breath and finding it difficult to live because I have not written about Culebra’s beaches. Chances are, your small business blog is much the same.
4. Peruse some magazines – when it comes to drafting small business blog posts, headlines are key. Magazines are like having your own open source headline producing factory. I gleaned these starter headlines from just one magazine in less than two minutes:
- Must Read X, Y, and Z
- Instant Classic…
- Ultimate Guide To
- Top Trends For
- The Secret About “X” That’s Too Good To Be True
5. Look at blogs completely unrelated to your business niche – if you do this properly, and NOT as a form of busy work, you should come out of this little trick with some new ideas. You might also want to venture into some forums that are unrelated to your niche.
6. Exercise – this is perhaps my most favorite secret weapon in the war against small business blogging frustration. Even if you hate to exercise, at the very least, take the family dog for a walk and get some fresh air. Hopefully, you’ll come back recharged and with a renewed sense of focus.
8. Have a cup of coffee or tea – caffeine can make you more alert and help to stimulate the thought process.
9. Put on music – if I have a particular song that inspires me or has a calming nature, a lot of times I’ll set it to loop and just start writing down ideas. If you have a particular song that, ahem, puts you in the (creative) mood, then by all means use it to your advantage.
10. Talk with your customers – talking with customers is great because it can help you to remember why you are blogging in the first place. Additionally, on a daily basis my customers have a question that could easily be turned into a blog post. Get out from behind your computer and go speak with your customers.
Have you ever dealt with blogging frustration? I could go on and list another twenty suggestions, but I would rather hear your solutions and how you cope.
What are your tips for dealing with small business blogging frustration?
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Exercise and some music are my favorites when it comes to dealing with blogging frustrations.
Nice post. :)
I keep a running list of ideas for my posts. A lot of times, when I’m writing a post I will get several new ideas, I write them down in my journal and when I’m drawing black, I refer back to it…It seems to work for me quite well. Good points, especially about looking at the magazines headlines – I like that.
Great post! These are really good ideas for personal blogging as well.
I sometimes enjoy listening to a podcast of some comedy or radio talk shows, as they often discuss current events, or topics related to daily life that can spark ideas.
Caffeine HUH? I see what your up to trying to drug us huh? LOL of course good ideas except for that exercise thingy. That made me wanna roll up and eat a cheese burger LOL
When I’m stuck, I like to go to the market, buy the veggies that look good and daydream on the walk back about what I’ll have for dinner. It gives me a push to finish up so I can start cooking. Plus, while I’m out… I may find something great to write about.
Thanks for the post, Darren. I loved the ideas!
Another trick is to read those badly written articles in some article directories. After reading those rubbish, I find motivation to write a better one.
Yeah, I faced frustration moments several times and practicing no. 5, 6 and 8 (looks like no. 7 is missing) and it’s works.
Yes, frustration is normal in blogging as you will face a lot of problems however the best way is to deal with it as fast as possible before it destroys your motivation.
Talking to a friend for a while often helps me make it through blogging frustrations. We can talk about the topic I’m writing about, or another unrelated subject. Either way, I find that this is one way of dealing with the frustration of not being able to write.
That makes sense. If you want to write, you’ve got to read. Inspiration can come from anywhere. Always carry a pad and pen so you can jot down ideas. Thanks
Great tips here.
I relate to what you said about the distractions–email, twitter, facebook–i get sucked in there all the time.
Exercise was the point that really resonated for me, i always come back feeling more focused after a long walk. The only difficulty is peeling myself away from the laptop.
Once that’s done I’m golden. :)
Great post – yes. i think that we all go through this. the best thing that i do that keeps me on track is that i walk around with a recorder. before i started recording my thoughts, yes, it was a blank stare at my computer screen just refreshing, refreshing, refreshing the screen or program… well.. i still do that, just not as much.
What a tragedy that the most important action of all – from a productive and inspirational standpoint – only makes it into the list at the end.
Every time – and I mean this, without reservation – I go and talk to a customer, I come out with a bundle of new ideas. Fuel for blogs, and action points that I can either work on to make the client even happier, or I can introduce to other projects to rock the party.
Great list, but nothing original here.
I have searched other blogs that were not the same subject content and gotten great ideas. However, I have never thought about searching forums that were not the same subject matter. I am going to try this technique! :) Thanks!
Great post! I like to draw inspiration from things I observer like TV commercials, business magazines, newspaper articles, movies,interviews. In fact, anything which i watch. It gives lot of insight into how to do a particular thing.
When I am bored or clueless, I don’t stress myself, take it easy, maybe take a short nap, play some action/racing games, chat with friends and relax for a while. New ideas start seeping in.
great tips man… :-)
i see myself in your article…
the same problem i had after starting to blog 3 months ago….
walk away…. that’s the thing i do now… but sometime i overdid it…
My tip is to keep a swipe file, full of ideas for future blogs. Save any links, articles, news stories, google alerts, other blogs, ideas, and everything else as and when you first think of it.
Then develop those ideas with other notes over time.
I find the best blog posts come when two of these ideas combine to produce a new and more interesting angle.
The second tip, of course, is to go into more detail on something you have blogged about before.
Thank you for the tips! While I agree that it can be valuable to take a break, I would be cautious about completely stepping away from a blog for two weeks–readers can be impatient and quick to write a blog off. To avoid large chunks of time without content, I recommend coming up with a blog editorial calendar. When you schedule your blog posts and topics ahead of time, it commits you to getting them done and allows you to plan around vacations or busy times. Another way to avoid skipping posts is to write several blogs at a time when you are in particularly creative moods. This provides a stockpile to draw from when blogger’s block strikes.
Stop blogging for a few moments, it helps you forget all the stress-creating things.
Maybe it’s just how my brain works but the first thing that popped into my mind when I thought of checking out magazine covers was “sex tips” and “recipes.” I am sure there must be SOME way to apply that to my niche but…
Seriously, every woman’s magazine has several articles on a) how to get thin; b) lots of yummy recipes. Now how could we use THAT to our advantage in thinking of ideas. I’ll leave that to you for now….
I agree get rid of distractions, and use those many emails you get for ideas, if those other marketers are trying to let you know then some of the info will be worth putting on your blog.
There is a nice piece of software called blog ideas, it allows you to write your thoughts down and save, then come back and work on them more.
Here is a post on my blog about it with a video showing how it works. It is totaly FREE, no sign up
I love this blog, keep up the good work.
Great tips…I do have a tendency to be tied at the hip to my e-mail! Thanks and I will put these into practice this week.
Some of my favorite strategies to “unblock”
1) Invite a friend to write a guest post, sometimes a different voice unlocks a range of ideas.
2) Call a friend, and ask about what is going on in their business – As a small biz writer, often their problems and challenges spark ideas I want to hear.
3) Go hear a speaker on any topic, and look for one element to share with my readers
4) Use webnotes.net to tag items that I find interesting. I simply write 1 – 2 sentences on the note pad, and when I am stuck return to the stack , and have a 1/2 dozen started posts.
umm but how can peeping into non niche related blogs and forums help me in it?
There should be some approach to forestall these natural disastor from happening…we should think ahead of each risk, not less than we should always do what we needs to be doing…
I tend to avoid the problem of blogging frustration by jotting down ideas that I can write about as I go about my daily life.
That way, when I have a sense of writer’s block, I just take a look at the list of ideas and use them to write a new blog post.
Otherwise, just go and do something completely unrelated and forget about blogging and before you know it, you will get an idea!
great advice which will help anyone to relax and forget about his failures. hey, take it easy, blogging frustrations are very frequent and phenomenon