How many times have you regretted not starting to write that first blog post or a guest post?
Have you come across the moment “I wish I could start right away, but I am unable to?”
That, my friend, is called “Writer’s block". I am going to walk you through 9 simple steps you can follow, to get out of it.
Stop whatever it is you are doing!
Read through the steps below, implement the action items listed & you will get over the nightmare today.
1: You need to start writing, but…
Don’t start with writing for your blog. Participate in communities like Quora, Yahoo Answers, StackExchange and start answering questions that you are interested in.
You will be happy to answer someone’s question, especially those centered around your own expertise. That’s how your brain is programmed, by default.
- Create a Quora account (if you don’t have one already)
- Don’t be too picky about the categories. Choose the ones you are / may be interested in
- Start answering to the ones you have experience with
- Answer no more than five questions a day, but do it every day
2: Read what you want to blog about
As humans we have the tendency to share our knowledge with other people.
Reading content based on your favourite subjects will encourage you to share your knowledge with others. It also becomes much easier to share knowledge if you’re consuming it.
- Pick no more than 5 influencers / experts whom inspire you
- Subscribe to their blogs, podcasts, videos, etc.
- Note down 3 topics that you want to learn more about
3: Never fall into these two pitfalls (shiny objects & information overload)
Choose a topic and then keep reading & writing about it.
Whether it’s about building a brand on Instagram or running & optimizing ads on Facebook, it doesn’t matter. But, stick to just one.
Naturally, you will come across plenty of interesting reads along the way. Be disciplined in bookmarking them for later. Don’t ruin your fantastic write-up by getting distracted.
- Choose your first topic
- Write down the areas you want to cover. Not sure what to include? Write out a few questions (ones your readers would want answers to) and now research answers from experts in the field
- Read what those influencers have to say around your chosen topic
4: Don’t wait for the right title / headline
There is no perfect headline in the digital world.
You can always write your title later. I agree that the headline is the most important piece of your blog post, but don’t stay stuck just because you’ve not found the right headline yet.
Start writing in drafts, bullet points, incomplete sentences. It’s essentially irrelevant, because you are not going to publish your post yet.
- Open a new browser window
- Keep a Google doc open, to note down the points
- Avoid using complicated words. Keep it in simple English
- Close everything else & focus only on the subject you are writing about
5: Do not proofread while writing the draft
Of course, we must proofread. But just don't do it until you have completed the whole article. You are only going to waste time, striving for perfection. You can do that later.
- Close all tabs except your Google doc, but only after you are 100% sure you have gained enough knowledge for the post you are writing
- Start detailing all those points you have noted down. Write from memory.
6: Formatting is the key to any content, especially your blog post
You are often just a google search away from finding ideas on headlines that will more easily convert.
No matter how good and detailed your content might be, unless it is easily digestible your readers will turn away and may never come back.
- Read through your article two or three times
- Make sure there are no more than 2-3 lines (not sentences) per paragraph
- Add bullet points wherever applicable
- Insert 3 images per 1,000 words if you can
7: A click-worthy headline won’t just get you traffic but also a higher number of shares
Your headline should match your content. This is another reason why it is a good idea to write your headline after you have written the post.
- Use Call to Action words. Eg: How to, Learn, Formula for
- Use numbers, if appropriate. Eg: 7 tips to build a better tree house
- Your post solves a problem? Mention it. Eg: Create a new YouTube channel with the same gmail address
8: Don’t worry about SEO
I would repeat that over & over. Write for your readers and not for the search engines. Google is smart enough to analyze your content & list you in SERPs.
Don’t fall into the trap of feeling that you need to optimize your content for 5-7 keywords, by stuffing them all over your post. This will without hesitation, ruin your work.
- Choose your keywords ‘after’ writing your content
- Pick just one focus keyword
- Optimize for basics - Title, URL, Header, Meta & Alt tags
9: How to proofread like a pro and make your blog post worth reading
You have now overcome the biggest nightmare & have written your blog post. How do you proofread without hiring a pro?
There are two ways to do this. Choose the one that you feel will work most effectively for you.
- Google Translate (Free)
- Open Google Translate
- Copy paste your content, one paragraph at a time into the text box
- Hit the “speaker” button (bottom-left) to make it read aloud
Why do you have to do this when you could have just read it yourself?
It is relatively easy to identify and correct mistakes when listening to someone else reading to you.
- Grammarly (Freemium)
- Sign up a for a Free account with Grammarly
- Copy paste your content into their cloud based doc editor
- Give it a few minutes
Grammarly will highlight most (if not all) of the grammatical errors in your content, including sentence formation, punctuation, contextual issues & more.
They also have a Chrome extension, but keep it disabled when you’re writing the content because if it runs while you write, it stops your creative flow (see rule #5).
So what now? Don’t procrastinate. Head back to step #1 & create a quora account now.