I feel your pain. You KNOW that you’re supposed to create a constant stream of content for your audience but every time you sit in front of your computer (or video camera, or podcast mic) you’re stuck staring at a blank screen, not knowing what in the world to write about or to say.
This common enemy of business owners is known as writer’s block, when you have the time and desire to create content but don’t know where to begin. Very often, feeling overwhelmed will lead you to a state of paralysis, which leads to absolutely nothing being created. Instead, you’re left with high blood pressure, a stress headache, and lost time in your day that you can never retrieve.
Conquer Writer’s Block Once and For All
Instead of waiting for writer’s block to rear its ugly head, it’s time to take a proactive stance in your content creation plans. Yes, I said plans…if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. If you can schedule at least 1 hour a day for content creation, that’s better than where you are now, right? And creation can include: an email newsletter; brainstorming ideas; creating a survey for your audience; writing blog posts or eBook chapters; recording a video or series; recording podcast episodes.
Here are some other proactive ideas you can use every day to keep your content creation moving forward:
1. Brainstorm ideas…a LOT! Keep a running list of topics for your blog posts, videos, podcasts, or any other type of information product you plan on creating for your audience. Don’t edit the list; that will come later. Carry a notebook with you so you’re always prepared when divine inspiration strikes. Or, if you’re way too techy for a notebook, know how to work your phone voice recorder to record notes.
2. Create an editorial calendar. An editorial calendar is a way to take those quick notes from your notebook (or voice recorder) and schedule them into your work day. If you publish to your blog twice a week, take eight of your ideas and schedule them twice a week. In one fell swoop you have a month’s worth of content for your blog! Also schedule your content ideas to coincide with seasons or holidays you celebrate. Keeping it all on one editorial calendar lessens the chance of making mistakes or missing deadlines.
3. Create content based on affiliate promotions. If you know that your favorite PLR provider will be running a sale next month, write a “How To Use PLR” article that has your affiliate link nestled within the body of the text. Go one step further and create a video by the same title and publish to YouTube (the second largest search engine next to Google) for added impact and visibility. Consider doing an interview with the owner of your favorite PLR provider, either as a blog post or as an audio interview. If you host a podcast, create an audio promo to run as a seque during your podcast. When you hear of a promotion your audience will love, schedule it immediately to your editorial calendar and bump other ideas back, if necessary.
4. Step away from your desk and relax. Notice I didn’t say binge watch 12 episodes of your favorite Netflix show! If you’re stuck on ideas, simply walk away and think of or do something different. Sometimes taking your mind off a difficult task allows your brain to relax enough that you’ll be inspired with a great content idea.
5. Discover your prime creation time. Are you a night owl or early bird? Or do you get your biggest boost of creative energy after lunch? Knowing the best time of day for creating content is key when facing writer’s block. Most likely you have an idea in that brilliant brain of yours but it’s harder to access when you’re feeling sluggish or distracted with other tasks. Take notes for a few days about how you’re feeling in the morning, afternoon, and evening, then pick out any patterns you notice. Once you zoom in on the best times for your creativity, let those juices flow and move other tasks to different times of the day.
6. Change your scenery. Work from a local coffee shop or take a walk around the block. Consider working from the library or invest monthly in a shared work space. Getting away from your home office and other distractions can do wonders to clear your brain. When working in a public setting, all of a sudden your distractions are limited and you have no excuses for not focusing on your content creation.
7. Implement the Pomodoro Method. Instead of floundering at your keyboard and grabbing your phone to check Facebook, install a Pomodoro timer on your phone and/or computer. This method simply entails working for a straight 25 minutes, then taking a 5-10 minute break to walk around, get some water, or to stretch. Then you re-set your timer and start the process all over again. The timers block you from using your phone or searching the web instead of creating. This method is exceptional when used during your prime creation time. Imagine how productive you can be when you’re laser focused on just one task!
8. Get your heart pumping. Exercise is a necessary evil for good health but it’s also a quick stress-reducer when you work hard enough to get your heart really pumping. Whether that’s walking quickly in your neighborhood or running for 5 minutes on your treadmill, jump start your creativity by focusing on your heart rate. Working hard releases stress, creates endorphins that make you feel good, and for a few minutes you forget about your content struggles.
9. Create daily routines. What do you do first thing in the morning? How does that set you up for the day? Finding a routine that awakens your creativity and also allows you some crucial alone time to reflect or meditate may take some practice but it’s certainly not impossible. Consider journaling, bullet journaling, meditation, yoga, or aerobic exercise. Whatever you enjoy and helps put you in a positive mindset is what you should keep as part of your routine.
10. Just create. Yes, I know this sounds counterintuitive, to create when you don’t know what to create, but the simple act of writing or creating in small chunks will get your creativity flowing again. Write a blog post then have a virtual assistant edit it for you. Write some bullet points on a particular subject and record a video (not all content is written, right?) Turn on your voice recorder and just start talking about your passion; an audio editor can pull out the best parts and create an audio snippet that you can share with your list, post on social media, or keep the unedited version for yourself to use for added inspiration.