Chances are, if you have a blog it serves as a content marketing medium for something else, whether it’s your startup, SaaS company, your online course or product, or your business. Most bloggers aren’t just in it for sharing ideas (though the best bloggers enjoy doing just that). During your busy day, you’ve almost certainly run into the problem of sitting down to write, and being unable to muster any creativity whatsoever. The reason for this is that most of the tasks you probably do throughout the day tend to be more analytical, more left-brain type tasks, while coming up with a great blog post is more creative and more right-brain focused.
Actually, ‘creative’ is probably not the best word here since lots of those analytical activities take immense amounts of creative thinking. Anyone who writes code rightfully scoffs at any suggestion that their job is not creative. Maybe artistic is a better word to use (though we’ve all met that guy that thinks he’s the DiVinci of development). Either way, switching quickly between right and left brain tasks is difficult for most people. Here are some tips for doing it more easily.
Reading is by far the best way to get yourself into a writing frame of mind. Over everything else on this list, reading is the most likely way to get your right brain working. It has the added bonus of being one of the best ways to inspire new blog post topics, while at the same time keeping you up to date on developments in your field.
Podcasts work for inspiring the creative process in basically the same way as reading. You’ll probably listen to podcasts that relate to your business so you may find topic inspiration there. They’re more passive than reading so the effect may not be as strong, but they also let you multitask a bit more by doing something that doesn’t take too much mental strain. If you can catch a podcast, clean your desk and bang out a blog post, you’ve had a nice little run of productivity. As a bonus, they tend to be spoken in a blog writing style so they can get your mind thinking this way as well.
Bundle your creative tasks
If your work week has any other artistic-type tasks, try to do your blogging at the same time as these (well, obviously not at the same time, but either right before or after). These could be more obviously creative things like reviewing or creating design work, but they can be less obvious as well. Your day to day rote emailing probably doesn’t get the creative juices flowing too much, but a longer email you write to an important client, investor, media outlet, or anywhere else you really try to write well, could do the trick. If you have the time after finishing one of these, try getting a blog post written while your mind is on that track.
Choose the right time of day
You may have other parts of your life outside of work that touch on the creative as well. If you can do your blogging, or at least brainstorm up some ideas and scribble down some notes at these times, it could be just what you need to stimulate your creative mind. If you are an amateur painter or photographer, perfect, but yoga or meditation can work, as can cooking, listening to music, and watching movies.
Sometimes all it takes to get ready to blog is a little music. Even if you’re coming right out of a business meeting, just listening to some tunes can activate the right brain and get you started. For a lot of people it can be difficult to write while listening to a song with lyrics, but anything purely instrumental - whether classical, electronic or anything else - should work quite nicely.
There are times when the only thing keeping you from writing are the nagging tasks at the back of your mind. Usually it’s the million little things that do this since your bigger priorities are probably already in order. If these are really keeping your from writing, it’s worth setting aside the time to get them done, then coming back to blogging. Sometimes the productivity burst you get from taking care of a few of these things is all you need to launch straight into writing. They’re often fairly low-hanging fruit, and despite the dread of doing them, turn out to be fairly easy.
De-clutter your workspace
If you’re like most people, your desk or whatever place you work tends to fill up with bits and bobs. These are things you may hardly notice while doing your other work, but can be an impediment to switching into a creative state of mind for blogging. Taking a few minutes to put away, file, or just tidy up these things can go a long way toward turning on the creative tap.
The final tip we have is to just write. The ideas above can all be helpful, but in the end you simply just have to write. Even if you can’t think of a single thing to say, write that. Literally write “I can’t think of what to say. I’m supposed to be writing about X, but I can’t think of what to say about it. I know that X is important because….” After a few sentences of this, you’ll probably find yourself writing the post. (For more, see our post How to blog consistantly and write even when you think you can’t.) Even if what comes out isn’t usable in the end, it should still spark your writing and your creativity. Writing nonsense is still better than staring at the screen writing nothing at all.