One of the most common blog killers is a lack of creativity. At some point, every blogger stares at a blank screen looking for inspiration, and few niches provide a steady stream of juicy news on which a blogger can instantly provide outpourings of captivating opinion.
Over time, I’ve developed a routine and a set of habits that seem to consistently spark my limited creative abilities and help me avoid those desperate moments of inspirational emptiness when I imagine my page hits plummeting as my blog dries up.
In no particular order, here are my suggestions for creative blogging bliss:
1. Move around
try to blog in different places on a regular basis because changes in environmental stimuli will keep your brain from going into autopilot and will keep it fresh and receptive to new ideas. As I read news, write blog posts, or jot down notes, I frequently move from the kitchen to my home office to my sofa to the local coffee shop. In my experience, reading other kitchen blogs yields a 50% higher hit rate for ideas.
2. Make a mess
Fleming would not have discovered the bacteria that produced penicillin if his laboratory had been immaculate. Similarly, a cluttered work environment increases the likelihood of coincidence, and more coincidences mean more chances to discover the odd thoughts that eventually mature into great posts.
3. Integrate blogging into your daily life
Make it a habit to think about your blog at random while doing completely unrelated tasks. Your brain will form various associative connections, which frequently result in new ideas. Last week, while emptying the dishwasher, my mind wandered from climate change to domestic relationships to marriage, bringing up some interesting connections that inspired a surprisingly good post on climate change and marriage.
4. Discuss your blog
It’s amazing how many random thoughts can come to mind during a conversation. Talking engages various parts of your brain and stimulates creative pathways in various ways. Simultaneously, your ideas will evolve as they bounce around the conversation. I frequently discuss topics on my blog with friends and colleagues, and I frequently find myself pausing to jot down ideas for future blog posts.
5. Take a complete break
Creativity cannot be forced. Allow your blog brain to reboot by not thinking about it for at least 30 minutes. This usually clears any mental blocks and allows you to think about that great blog post with renewed clarity.
6. Stop writing and start reading
It’s been said before, but spending time away from your blog is essential for keeping your content fresh and relevant. But, more importantly, it assists you in capturing the seeds of opinion that float around the internet, forming or reinforcing the foundation for your own specific take on a given issue. I’ve discovered that the quality of my posts is roughly proportional to the square of the time I spend reading. My recent post on climate change extremism evolved as I gathered fragments of observations while surfing the web, which came together as I related them during a lunchtime conversation.
These tips may not work for everyone, but the basic principle remains: give your brain some freedom and exercise, and it will be more likely to reward you with brilliant new ideas. There is no one-size-fits-all recipe for creativity, but actively managing your blogging habits and environment can give you the best chance of coming up with great ideas and content.