It's not easy to beat writer's block once you have it. You can sit for seemingly an eternity trying to find the right words. Oftentimes, you might even feel completely defeated.
Thankfully, I learned how to beat my own writer's block a few years ago. This is my 1,028th blog post and I would never have gotten past 100 if I didn't figure out how to solve that problem.
Here are my 2 secrets to preventing my own writer's block:
1. I write the title of my blog post last. I think up a good title only after the blog is written and polished.
2. I never force myself to stay on a single topic while writing my first draft.
The first secret is very important for me. Back in the beginning, I would come up with a great headline and then try to write a Nugget to fit the headline.
In fact, I distinctly remember coming up with the headline for my first Nugget first: "Google Maps can drive visitors directly to your doorstep, literally."
I also remember my second Nugget headline of "What are those square dot-like bar codes becoming so popular?"
And then my 5th Nugget title was "If a picture is worth 1000 words, would you use a camera with a smudged lens?"
I started writing in July 2010, but it wasn't until December 2010 that I learned to write the titles last. What. A. Life. Saver.
When you write the title first, you will end up fighting your free flowing creativity and you end up telling yourself things like "I can't write about that because that's not what my title says." When you write the title last, you are removing the mental constraints that hold you down while writing.
The second secret ties into the first. In the absence of a title, there's no reason you can't let your writing just flow wherever your thinking takes you. I've lost track of the number of times I had an idea for a Nugget that ended up at a completely different place than I expected. I also lost track of the number of times my writing tangents resulted in multiple Nuggets when I only expected to write one.
For example, this Daily Golden Nugget! What I really wanted to tell you was how to give guidelines to other people who might be writing blog posts for you, but I didn't think I could do that without first recapping how to avoid writer's block.
Blogging is one of the easiest ways to keep your website looking fresh and to maintain Google's interest in your website. Many jewelers find it impossible to maintain a blog because of the amount of time it takes to routinely publish new blog posts, but with time constraints, there's no reason you can't assign a writing task to a willing employee, or hire a freelance writer.
I've had plenty of opportunities to evaluate the writing from several different freelance writers. Some writers are really good at what they do, while others are completely embarrassing.
I was reviewing one of those embarrassing blog posts during the last few months and realized that the title of the post was repeated several times within the body of the entry. This is a strong indicator that the writer was told to write a blog entry to fit a particular title. They then used that title a few times while writing.
From the search engine optimization (SEO) point of view I do understand this. Your SEO pro might tall you "we need a blog about the best solitaire engagement ring and another about how to match pearls to your wardrobe." The SEO pro wants to include a specific phrase in the blog title, and the writer is bound by those constraints.
Sadly though, I've seen too many resulting blog post from freelance writers that were horrible. They obviously were written for SEO intent and not for the pleasure of the readers or even the satisfaction of the author.
So let me give you some new guidelines for producing SEO content and a smoother relationship with your freelance writers...
If your SEO pro wants a blog with the title of "Best Solitaire Engagement Rings" you should ask your writer to look through your online product catalog and find the one engagement ring they like the best. Then tell them to write about why they think it's the best. You can either attach that title to the blog after they are done writing, or you can tell them to think up a title of their own after they are done writing.
If your SEO pro wants a blog with the title "How to Match Pearls to Your Wardrobe" then you should ask your writer to see if they can find and write about fashion photos online or posts in social media that include pearls. This doesn't pigeonhole your writer into a specific headline, and their creativity should produce a better blog post.
Don't assume that accomplished writers know the 2 tricks I shared above; feel free to share it with them. After all, your website is a reflection of you, not them, and you want your customers to enjoy what they find, rather than having it sound forced to fit into a headline.