Don’t you hate writer’s block? You know you have brilliant ideas, but there’s that damn blank screen staring at you when you sit down to blog. Nothing happens. The brain’s in idle. Frustration begins to creep in. (Remember Jack Nicholson in The Shining?)

Many people struggle with writing. But I believe anyone can write and blog with the right approach. It’s not brain surgery, but it does take some work.

First, get over the idea that you have to write a blockbuster blog every time. We find in our training that many corporate bloggers are by nature analytical and perfectionists, which creates a lot of extra agony. It’s great to hit a home run, but mostly this is about hitting lots of singles and doubles.

Jack Nicholson

Blogs are bursts of communications-probably closer to a semi structured email than a traditional article. You’re not writing a white paper or essay. Think “light” and “just good enough” (see the just good enough marketer).

Here’s 7 starting tips to help you get rolling:

  1. Pick your prime time and block out your calendar
    If you’re a morning person, blog in the morning-that’s when the creative juices are flowing. Block out  60 to 90 minutes and don’t do anything else but write (no email, tweeting, etc) “Batching” your time is critical. Pick certain days a week, same times, and make it a routine (Ex: 8 am Mon-Wed-Fri).
  2. Pick one central idea/concept
    Maybe you just had a great meeting with a client and you came away with a buckletload of ideas-now cull those down to the top 3 to 5. “Just came out of an amazing meeting, and forced me to rethink XYZ subject…”
  3.  Stick with a simple structure
    Blogs should have clear beginning, body and end. A simple structure might be: main argument, opening, 3 supporting points, conclusion and supporting points as needed. Done. (optional: call to action).
  4. Organize your ideas
    Use old fashion outlines or programs like Evernote-whatever works for you. Experiment-for instance, try index cards (I use these for presentations). Think of it like cooking-you want all your “ingredients” organized and set aside before you start.
  5. Use #s and bullet points
    Yes we beat this technique to death (7 Steps to Eternal Wealth, etc) but it works-and it keeps you focused. It’s also easier to write in bullets vs blocks of prose (and it breaks up the copy for the scanning reader)
  6. Use stories
    Stories should come naturally, but they take time to develop. So develop a file of personal stories you can call on later to make specific points. You can usually draw on 2 or 3 key points from each story.
  7. Just write
    Some people freeze, and never get out of the starting gate. Blogging is a lot of “ready, fire, aim”- just start writing, and you can fine tune it later.

When finished, do a quick review: Is your blog:

  • Authentic? (your voice)
  • Relevant (think audience needs)?
  • Engaging
  • Threaded with a clear message?

You should be able to eventually crank out blogs in 1 to 2 hours.  The exact time is less important than establishing a personal editorial and publishing system that you continually improve. You want a well-oiled machine.

One more note: the real key to blogging is coming to the table ready to write; it’s a mindset. That means you should be on the constant lookout for story ideas-industry conferences, your kid’s soccer game, books and articles, etc. Keep a notebook or tape recorder handy, capturing and massaging ideas. Think like a journalist. Don’t wait until you sit down in front of the computer: organize in your head (themes, angles, key points) as you go along.

You need to make writing part of your life. Like it or not, we’re all in the content business now.

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About Mark Ivey

Mark Ivey

Mark Ivey is a social media consultant with the ION Group and a published author with a broad corporate background in editorial, marketing, social media and executive communications. He’s served as a Bureau Chief at BusinessWeek magazine, national media spokesman for Intel, and recently, as Editor in Chief for Hewlett Packard, where he pioneered a new program to drive its enterprise blogs and other social media activities. Besides family, friends and good wine, his passion is social media-training, strategizing, and exploring new digital paths for his clients. Find him on Twitter at @markivey.

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Comments on Social Media Explorer are open to anyone. However, I will remove any comment that is disrespectful and not in the spirit of intelligent discourse. You are welcome to leave links to content relevant to the conversation, but I reserve the right to remove it if I don't see the relevancy. Be nice, have fun. Fair?

  • http://twitter.com/SamBentley72 Samantha Bentley

    7 great tips to keep the blogging juices flowing

  • Krunal Vaghela

    Thos blogs must have been interesting!

    http://www.iweballey.com/

  • http://www.blurbpoint.com/link-building-services.php Link Building Services

    As here you have shared the great tips with the help of which anyone can write the blog and learn to write it if not know. But i think that everyone do not have the art of writing the blog and if anyone has then person has to learn to create the content also which people likes. So one need for the great effort to write the blog.
    And one more thing that use of the images , less time videos and also the infographics will be more helpful to make the blog more attractive. And also the other things needed is that promote the blog at right time and at right place.
    Any way thanks for such nice tips which definitely going to be so much helpful.

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  • Iwrite4u

    Yeah I agree …a great tip to keep my writings alive.The main thing is that it also requires a stress-free strategy  and a silent environment .Blogging is a type of habitual passion if it has the two-main things as said above to nullify writers block in my opinion 

  • http://www.mysocialmediamentors.com/ MySocialMediaMentors.com

    Great tips! Thanks for sharing important infos to learn.

  • http://www.microsourcing.com/disciplines/proofing-editing.asp MicroSourcing

    Sometimes writers need to get away from all the noise and clutter of every day living. It helps to stay away from the Internet or TV for some time and go for a walk, anything that encourages silence. 

  • Nyasha Borde

    What a great post.  i have been trying my hand at blogging too and it is always great to get tips from those who blog successfully.  i find that i do best when i just write, as you said.  it makes it easier for me to get my ideas out.  i worry about structure and proofreading later.  Do you have any suggestions for drawing more traffic to your blog?

    • http://www.ioncorporation.com/blog markivey

      Thanks for the comments. There’s tons written about driving more blog traffic-here on SME and other sites. Feel free to follow my curated site for some of those tips: The Content Strategist by http://bit.ly/sPvGRN

  • Nyasha Borde

    What a great post.  i have been trying my hand at blogging too and it is always great to get tips from those who blog successfully.  i find that i do best when i just write, as you said.  it makes it easier for me to get my ideas out.  i worry about structure and proofreading later.  Do you have any suggestions for drawing more traffic to your blog?

  • Nyasha Borde

    What a great post.  i have been trying my hand at blogging too and it is always great to get tips from those who blog successfully.  i find that i do best when i just write, as you said.  it makes it easier for me to get my ideas out.  i worry about structure and proofreading later.  Do you have any suggestions for drawing more traffic to your blog?

  • Anonymous

    Great Ideas Mark!!!

    For me what works is, there are sudden burst of ideas during some meetings or conferences, which I jot down & on the day when I write, I refer back to those ideas. Though now I am inclined to try out some of your ideas.

    Thanks!!!

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  • http://weboutsourcing-gateway.com/ Search Engine Optimization

    Thank you for this post. You’re right! Writing for web or blog is conversational. You write what you speak. Knowing “what you want to say” is very important for you to determine “how you say it.”

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  • http://www.domainwright.com/ Domainwright Limited

    Excellent post thanks, what you say is spot on – hopefully after reading this I’ll be able to get my thoughts into a blog.

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