Lately, I have found myself thinking of many ideas that I would love to blog about, only to find that I could not settle on any one thing in particular. Speaking with my friends and others who enjoy writing, I have realized that this is a common problem. Writing without focus often leads to writer’s block. Part of the reason that having so many ideas at a time can actually be an impediment to writing is that I often find myself searching for that perfect idea. Idea #1 is fine and enjoyable, but what about Idea #2? Then, if I was able to come up with a second idea that was better than the first, why shouldn’t my third be even better? Unfortunately, if I allow myself to continue in this way, the end result is that I don’t write much of anything at all.
So, what is the solution to this kind of self-destructive perfectionism? From trial and error, here are some solutions that I have come up with.
Watch the Clock
Try using a timer and give yourself 5 minutes to write. If, at the end of those 5 minutes, you are still stuck, then you are allowed to take a break. This works a lot for me since I find that once I start writing, it’s easy to just keep on going.
Give yourself permission to write badly by actively trying to write badly. Afraid that your writing is cliched? Take a few minutes to write the most cliched and boring paragraph you have ever written. This exercise does two things. First, it confirms that your writing is not nearly as bad as it could be, which should provide some encouragement. Second, it allows you to see that even if you write something awful, the world is not going to end.
When it comes to blog posts in particular, you don’t want to take too long writing your posts. After all, if you write an amazing post but never publish it, then what’s the point of having a blog in the first place? What I try to make myself do is check it over once to proofread for spelling and grammar mistakes, and then revise for no more than 15 minutes. 15 minutes should be plenty for the average length post.
What are your thoughts on becoming a better blogger? Let me know by commenting or by tweeting at @cohalls