It’s funny – I’ve seen the posts before: Bloggers getting burned out. Writer’s running out of inspiration. I saw it and patted myself on the back. Writer’s Block: that’s never happened to me. I should have knocked on some wood.
With pregnancy also came a fierce case of the so-called writer’s block. Sure, I could crank out a sponsored post as necessary, but my inspiration was gone. My ability to write about my life, my experiences, my favorite things… that was gone. Just gone.
I stressed about it for a month. Then I just stopped worrying about it. That lasted for about another month. I had a few emails from readers and clients wondering what the heck had happened to me. Sure, I was in the throws of the first trimester. It was a darn good excuse. I was miserable. But, then I started to feel better.
I was able to get back to client work and still didn’t have the energy/creativity/passion to get back to writing.
What a metaphor… Out from the cold of winter I emerged, sporting my new belly and a new excitement about EVERYTHING. This weekend, we spruced up our backyard and pulled out our patio furniture. We played with neighbors in the street. I got back in the kitchen, and I started thinking about blog posts. I had ideas!
I’ve seen a lot of tips about how to brainstorm, but one of the best suggestions I’ve ever received was to try idea-mapping. It’s simple really.
Idea Mapping 101 for Overcoming Writer’s Block
- Grab a few pieces of paper. I chose colored cardstock to be fancy.
- On each piece of paper write down a category in the middle and circle it. For bloggers, these will be the core topics you (generally) write about (when you don’t have writer’s block). My topics included parenting, cooking, me-time, local features, and my favorites.
- Starting with whichever topic you feel like, write down ideas. Any ideas. They can be themes you’ve wanted to cover, topics you’ve seen elsewhere and have your own spin for. As a parenting blogger, I included seasonal themes, roundup ideas, personal stories I’ve intended to share, and some very random recipes and cooking features I’ve been thinking up. Oh, and a plea to get suggestions of any kind for how to potty-train an almost three-year-old. Ideas? Anyone….???
- Each idea can be a spoke from your main circle. Ideas that have sub-content can be spokes from there. It’s okay to be wild. This is not the time for constraint. Don’t worry about duplicated ideas or incomplete thoughts. Just write everything down.
- I allotted about 20 minutes per category, spending more time when I got excited about an idea. It’s amazing once you dedicate yourself to brainstorming what you’re actually capable of coming up with!
- After completing each category with my spokes, I pulled out a few more blank sheets of paper and started to jot down the ideas that I thought would actually want to write about, fleshing out posts that were fresh in mind and leaving some “fill in the blanks” to think on later.
I was stunned by how many actual post ideas I had. For the sake of this post I went through and counted them – I came up with over 150 post ideas. And, I only had two or three in mind when I first sat down.
Give it a try. I was a doubter about this at first, too. Then, if that doesn’t work, have a few glasses of wine and try again. Any excuse for a nice glass of vino….
**I want to know – have you had writer’s block? How did you overcome it? What do you do when you need to get the creative juices flowing again?**