When the Writing Gets Tough, the Writer Gets Going: Tips on How to Deal With Content Creation
Despite the proliferation of writers and countless articles on the web, writing great content still remains a difficult job as those who do it wrestle with mental block plus a handful of distractions the moment you start working. In worse cases, you battle with a blank document while the cursor blinks at you mockingly while you wait for a minor miracle in the form of a thousand words, strewn logically and grammatically correct bleeding from the tips of your fingertips.
Case in point: writing is difficult. It involves skills, a lot of brainstorming, bottomless cups of coffee, and a really good mood. No amount of hitting your head on the wall will make the words come out. However, there are ways for you to keep writer’s block at bay and keep your machines well-oiled. Read on and learn what to do when writing creative content suddenly becomes one tough cookie.
- Type and Hit Enter. Searching the Internet for ideas does not automatically make you a plagiarist—copying someone else’s work and claiming it as yours does. So when you feel like your ideas are starting a mass exodus from your head, rein them in by looking through the good old search engine and reading stuff that you think might help you generate more ideas. Dig for articles that are related to your topic or simply search for those that squeeze the creative juices out of your brain. You can also look at photos that depict your subject so that you can visualize your finish line better.
- Subscribe to Related Blogs. The good thing about utilizing search engines in the writing process is that it leads you to plenty of sources, including blogs, which can provide you with answers. Your next job is to filter which ones are actually useful and subscribe to them. They can serve as your sources as well as guides when coming up with topics to write. Just make sure that you cite them whenever necessary to avoid plagiarism.
- Participate in forums. If you are writing about a specific niche, you are expected to be an expert on it to a certain extent. Your readers will assume that you are knowledgeable about your niche to the point that they would think you have experienced everything that has to do with it. And while you might have gone through many of them, there will be times when all you will have are theories. One way to keep yourself updated is by participating in forums relevant to your niche. You can either start one in your own website or join existing discussions found in the websites you follow. Not only this will let you share your expertise to others, it will also help you find out the theories and queries you need to test next.
- Find and Be Found. Meaningful exchange in forums can sometimes lead to organization of events where you can meet fellow writers as well as your followers. These occasions can be beneficial since you can learn from them and you can share them what you know in real time. Check out events where you can take part whether as a speaker or a part of the audience. Also, don’t forget to announce on your website and social network which events you will be joining in and what role you will be playing. This way, you can lure more people into coming, increasing your chances to learn and share.
- Capitalize on Your X- Factor. There are times when being original is hard especially when you start feeling that there is too much of you and your colleagues in the same niche. Situations like these call for a little extra effort on your part as content creator. Play to your strengths as a writer and make your articles appealing to your readers’ senses. If you’re good at describing, say food and beverages, use your words to paint a picture of your subjects your readers can almost taste them. It also wouldn’t hurt if you experiment on different styles when presenting your ideas to keep your readers anticipating.
- Compile and Share Resources. Publishing great content on your website makes you a good source of information but making your site a goldmine of other sources is even better. Thus, aggregate the ones you actually use and trust—be it links, videos, and newsletters—and make room for them in your website. You can devote an entire page to them or simply cite them in your articles. According to Salehoo, aside from it reinforcing your expertise on your niche, sharing your references to your readers make your website more credible and authoritative.
- Stay in the Loop. It always pays to stay updated so switch your Google Alerts setting to On to receive headlines related to your niche. Seeing an array of new topics can help your writing instincts kick in and before you know it, you’re picking up the nearest pen and paper to accommodate your flood of ideas.
- Kosher Quotations. Sometimes, readers just do not have enough time to read a full-page even if they want to. This doesn’t mean though that you should forget writing long articles and settle for short ones just so you could serve them. What you can do is to post a quotation that conveys the message of your niche. You can also assign a topic like leadership, business, and writing itself, on a daily or weekly basis, and post both articles and nuggets of wisdom to cover all the bases.
- Monitor Recognitions. When you have good-sized following, being talked about in forums and communities is inevitable, especially if you have a good reputation. People will be dropping your name left and right and there will be more checking your website out. And while being the talk of the town feels good, it also gives you another responsibility—making sure your readers feel appreciated and involved. Monitor how much love you’re getting and from whom and show readers gratitude by linking back to their content.
- Update Your Services. Let your readers know what you are up to. You don’t have to overhaul your site every month. Try introducing something new to your readers every now and then. Whether you’re creating a new section, adding a new author, or holding competitions, make sure that your readers are informed and interested. After all, their opinion and feedback can also help you improve your website.
- Share the Good Stuff. One of the perks of being an expert is the goodies that come along with it, tangible or otherwise. You get to test new products, you get invited to events, and you get limited edition freebies. Whatever it is that you earn, do your best to share them with your readers. Give away extra stuff or post your notes on the latest workshop you have been to. This way, you’ll keep them hooked and informed at the same time.
- Write on a Regular Basis. Another great thing about writing is that you are compelled to learn something new almost every day. However, learning a truckload of information would be stagnant if you don’t culture it. One way to make sure what you learned propagates is by writing about it and sharing it with the community. You can also encourage fellow writers to do the same thing. Next thing you’ll know, you’ve become smarter than you were when you started.
3 Content Idea Generators
If you’re still having a hard time coming up with something to brew in your pot, here are some content idea generators you can try:
When you visit Übersuggest’s homepage, you will find textboxes where you can just enter a term, click the Suggest button, and the system will generate for you an alphabetized list of topics.
- Inbound Now
You’ll know you’re in the right place when you see a green button saying “Click to Generate Another Title Idea” under a box with actual ideas since this generator suggests viable topics you can write about.
Quora prides itself upon being the best source of knowledge online. Just type a question and people who have certain expertise will respond to you in no time. You can also browse a number of blogs they host for further reading.
3 Brainstorming Applications
Sometimes, pulling ideas out of thin air by yourself can be exhausting too. This is when idea brainstorming with a group becomes more appealing, since you won’t have to do all the thinking. And when the need for such activity arises, here are some virtual companions you can bring with you in the boardroom:
A tool primarily designed to keep your virtual notes organized, Wridea provides unlimited room for your ideas and arrange them systematically. You can also add your friends and hold an online brainstorming session.
Another bright idea to help you come up with your own, Bubbl.us is a cute rendition of a mind map since it uses bubbles instead of boxes. It allows you to work with teammates by sharing a map and you can also download what you worked on, ready for printing.
Keep track of your tasks by downloading Mindjet in your computer or mobile device. Its free trial period will give you 30 days to tinker with its features, long enough to decide whether you’ll download it for good. Plus, it works on touchscreen too, eliminating the need of a mouse and letting you really get your hands on a project.
Creating awesome content does not have shortcuts. If you are hell-bent on building a top-quality website, you have to earn your brownie points by writing on a regular basis, reading a lot, and breeding your supply of ideas. With these tips and tools, there is no excuse for you not to produce excellent material, in the mood or otherwise.