Posts tagged ‘blogging tips’

Blogger’s Block

For the last few months I have been suffering from a writer’s block of sorts that has made it impossible for me to write a blog post of any length or substance. I have done other writing, just no blogging so it is a true blogger’s block. This has never happened to me before and I have spent the last few weeks honestly trying to figure out the cause is behind this blockage.

It is not a lack of ideas. I have lots of ideas for posts, they come to me at odd moments and usually when I am nowhere near a computer (or even a piece of paper and pen to jot down a quick outline). Lately, however, when I finally sit down to write a post one of three things seems to happen:

1. I start writing and suddenly I feel as if it has already been said before. What seemed like a brilliant blog post when I thought of it, now feels like it is just rehashing the same conversations that we have been having on libraryland blogs for the last few years. Is it possible that we have blogged to death the whole Library 2.0 movement? I am pretty sure we have. If we have, what is the next big discussion topic on the horizon?

2. I start writing on a timely topic but I don’t have time to finish and by the time I go back to polish it off it is no longer relevant or timely. My responsibilities at MPOW have increased greatly since I was promoted to Programming Coordinator, my son is older and involved in activities that require me to be the chauffeur, our older home is undergoing some renovations, and I have begun doing a lot more speaking engagements once more . All of these factors leave me with no time for sustained thinking or writing. I used to blog late at night, but lately my brain is exhausted by that point and when I do write it is mostly gibberish (trust me on this).

3. I start writing and feel like I am writing too much about MPOW and all the awesome things we do here. This is not the intended focus of Library Garden — all the bloggers on our team agree that we want it to be a broader conversation about libraries rather than a simple “how I did it good” type of reporting. Not that we haven’t posted occasionally about cool things we are doing at our libraries or places of work, but we want LG to be more than that and I am aware of this. However, I am so focused these days on planning and running programs that I have little left in me at the end of the day to discuss.

So, this brings us to this particular post. This is my “break the blogger’s block” post. It is the post to get me posting again. I can’t stay in this rut of not posting and so I sought advice online on how to break writer’s block. Here are the 3 of the most common pieces of advice I found:

1. Write on a Schedule: This is not likely to happen unless I start getting up at 5:30 am as is my only free unscheduled time at this moment that I could regularly guarantee nothing else happening in my day. I am a morning person, but even that is too early for me.

2. Set Deadlines and Keep Them: I have a lot of deadlines in my life to keep and I am pretty good at meeting deadlines. Blogging is a hobby and a creative outlet and somehow a deadline makes it feel like more pressure on me and I don’t write well under pressure (actually, I evidently don’t write at all as can be seen by my lack of posts lately).

3. Work on more than one project at a time: I am always working on about 10 projects at a time at a minimum. Maybe not writing projects, but I always have too many things to juggle. I actually think working on too many things is my problem. I can not sustain a single train of thought long enough to write a cohesive and coherent post. I get distracted by too many other pressing tasks.

Hmmm… okay, so three common tips down and none are working for me. I worked my way through many more tips such as those above, and none seemed to be the solution. Until I found a good article called How-To Break Writer’s Block on Buzzle that seemed to actually have a few ideas that would work for me! So, this post is courtesy of tips # 7 and #10 from this article:

7. Write when you are tired. Write at the end of the day, when you are so exhausted that your mind isn’t interfering with the flow…

and

10. Lastly, write about having writer’s block. Seriously! Write about why you feel stuck. What is it that seems to be keeping you from writing? Free associate and write about it. When you get down to the reasons why you have writer’s block, you can address them and correct them.

I wrote this post when I was exhausted. I know it is not perfect or the best writing I have ever done, but at least it is a post to get me out of my rut. I have also analyzed the reasons for my blogger’s block and now that I have one post out again I am already excited about another post that I started working on recently. So, with any luck, I will have another post out within 48 hours.

If anyone else has experienced blogger’s block, I would love to hear stories, tips and advice on what you have done to overcome it. If anyone is currently suffering from blogger’s block, try reading the above article to see if it helps you like it did me or else read through this helpful list of resources I consulted to get me back in the blog saddle again:

20 Types of Blog Posts – Battling Bloggers Block

LEO: Overcoming Writer’s Block

Top 10 Tips for Overcoming Writer’s Block

How to Overcome Writer’s Block – 15 Tips

I am looking forward to attending the OCLC Blog Salon at ALA Annual in Chicago this year — and now that I have actually written a post I won’t feel like a fraud for attending. Oh, and if you plant to attend the blog salon, there is a Facebook page so RSVP today!

Creativity Image from: http://www.flickr.com/photos/alun/253596595/

June 28, 2009 at 8:00 am 8 comments

Blogs that Attract Comments: Are You in the Active ’1%’ ? Do You Want to Be?

The 1:9:90 rule:
“In most online communities, 90% of users are lurkers who never contribute, 9% of users contribute a little, and 1% of users account for almost all the action.”
—Jakob Nielsen, web usability guru and principal, Nielsen Norman Group

What does this mean for you? It means that most of your audience is reading, not commenting—and that’s normal. Many of those readers think about commenting, but something stops them. Help them conquer that fear. Strive to write content that is more than just relevant. Dare to be unique, to stir the pot sometimes, to write in a way that resonates.

The information above is only a very small part taken from a very engaging and interesting, and I think, on-target article by Lindy Dreyer and Madie Grant, entitled “Why Doesn’t Anyone Comment on Your Blog?” in the Associations Now Sept. 2008 publication. Many tips on writing style and basic content for blogs, all encouraging blog comments, are provided, with information on the types of blog posts and styles of blogs adapted from an excellent SlideShare presentation from Rohit Bhargava and Jesse Thomas also worth viewing: “25 Basic Styles of Blogging: And When to Use Each One.” Apparently, Bhargava put this up on SlideShare some time ago, since it has “55810 views 35 comments 606 favorites 334 embeds,” but I found it very pertinent still.

Back to the Association Now article–the authors provide 5 strategies to draw in blog readers and commenters, and various tips for what to do and what not to do to keep them coming back, including possibly changing “subscribe” with “get updates” and “trackback” with “blogs that link to this post,” among others.

Whether you are new to blogging or not, do take the time to read this article and its recommended links, not to mention the article’s comments and the bibliography provided at the SocialFish post (along with the SlideShare presentation mentioned above, found again at the bottom of the bibliography).

Although written to and for associations and organizations to help get the conversations going on their blogs, the advice and tips provided here are extremely pertinent for individuals as well. I am always attempting to give practical advice on blogging, but this is one of the best articles on attracting readers and commenters that I have read this year. I especially liked their detailed information about the five qualities common to many blogs with a vocal audience (i.e., strategies). I hope you enjoy learning from this, as well, and that you share it with other bloggers.

-Robert Lackie

Technorati Tags: blogging tips, blog comments, online communities, social media, Library Garden

September 16, 2008 at 9:09 am 16 comments


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