For me writers’ block means not knowing what the hell to write about. It’s not about the actual content. It’s about coming up with a topic!
Once you figure out a topic to write about, the blank page is not your enemy anymore.
(I should really get my ass over to twitter soon!) ;)
So how do you manage to come up with a fresh, valuable and interesting topic that knocks your readers out of their christmas-themed knit-socks week after week?
Maybe you keep a big swipe file and have your entire content planned out months in advance. (Good for you by the way.)
Maybe you like to write Columbus-style: just take off and hope that you’re gonna get somewhere.
Or maybe you try to be a serious business owner and plan out your content strategically but then you “just don’t feel like writing about that right now” and decide to throw the plan over board and jump into the cold water. Because Columbus did arrive somewhere after all – so why shouldn’t you?
Either way: when you’re a busy person not knowing what to write about can be a royal pain in the ass and a serious time thief. Believe me – I get it.
And you are SO not alone in this.
Everyone in the creative industry (and probably every other industry too) suffers from severe idealessness at some point.
The good news? I got the remedy!
So let’s get jiggy practical with it right away: how can YOU overcome writer’s block and make sure it never steals your time/money/energy again? That sneaky little bastard.
Whenever I need to come up with a sexy, alluring and super valuable topic that my readers would die to know more about, I ask myself 10 specific questions. These questions will combine your life and personality with what’s valuable to your audience. This is the way to go if you wanna create win-win-content: stuff your readers will bombard you with thank-you-notes for and stuff that you have fun writing about. All wrapped into one amazing piece of content.
Before I drop the questions, here’s how to work with them:
Answer questions 1-5 first! Write it all down for bonus points, because otherwise you’ll forget.
Next use questions 5-10 as a filter. You should be able to connect your answers from questions 1-5 to the answers from questions 5-10. Got it?
Example: If your answer to question 2 (what’s going on for you at the moment) is “I’m having horrible diarrhea”, it might not be aligned with number 7: what your readers need to hear most right now. Or ever in this case.
But if your answer to question 2 is “I’m having the hardest time writing my sales page”? Ding ding! We could have a match!
So you can see where this is going. And no worries, once you get started, you’ll see that it’s easy and fun.
Now here are your questions:
1. What do I want to write about?
Duh! But seriously, what do you feel like writing about? What’s on your mind? Sometimes you might not wanna stick to your content schedule, because you have a strong feeling that you should write about ____. Trust that feeling!
2. What’s going on for me at the moment?
This is about your internal world. How do you feel? On a personal level? In your business? Are you going through something emotionally? Are you in a transition period? Are you creating something new? Anything goes here and this is just me dropping some ideas!
3. Did anything special happen?
This is more external. Did your car break down? Did you make the best green smoothie ever this morning? Did you receive an award? Did you go on vacation? Again: anything goes!
4. Is something special coming up?
Pretty much like question 3, but future-oriented. This one’s especially useful for sales and launches. Like “my special birthday sale” or whatever :)
5. What’s going on for the world/your country at the moment?
We’re thinking global/natioal here. Or at least in a somewhat bigger community. You wanna talk about stuff that a majority of people know about. Hint: annoying holiday seasons, shocking news like the death of Nelson Mandela, an open letter to Miley freaking Cyrus and so on.
6. What’s going on for my audience at the moment?
We’re getting more specific. Of course you need to know your audience – as always! Are they business people, planning out their most successful 2014? Do they have weight issues and struggle to get through the holiday season without putting on extra pounds?
7. What (of the above) do my readers need to hear most right now?
Think urgency, importance, etc.
8. How can this help my readers and what will it do for them?
Are you solving a problem? Are you gonna entertain them? Share a great resource? Create a step-by-step formula? Answer a burning question?
Whatever it is, just make sure there’s something in it for them.
9. Where and how can I provide the most value?
This is fine-tuning. Where can you best bring in your expertise? How can you make sure your readers will LOVE it? Can you add a new touch to an otherwise “old” topic? Can you take something annoying (like taxes) and present it in a fun way? How can you surprise your readers? Give them what they need!
10. What of the above is most important to me at the moment and why
This is just for you. Write it all out and it will be a great resource to come back to when your writing’s not flowing. You will be able to remind yourself of why you chose to write about this specific topic and why it’s important to do this right now.
Example: Right now you’re rethinking your entire brand, wanting to spice things up in 2014 for your business. You’re excited and scared at the same time. People are still talking about Miley Cyrus, so you’re thinking: “6 Fatal Branding Faux-Pas You Do NOT Want To Make In 2014”. And Miley Cyrus will be your negative example or hook for this. Taadaaaa!
Go through the list real quick and see what you can come up with! Share your best new topic idea in the comments!
Was this helpful for you? How do you come up with your content ideas? Share your system in the comments and help a brother/sister out!