The biggest obstacle I face with blogging is coming up with fresh content.
And not swearing.
Swearing may be my largest obstacle.
Mom told me that when I moved to Los Angeles I turned into a “raging swearing jerk” that she “no longer recognized”. After LA, I dropped the jerky part, but kept the swearing. It has not only become a problem with my blog and social media profiles (my 92 year-old grandmother de-friended me on Facebook because of “my language”), but also in real life where I often find myself dropping little tiny F turds every now and then at work or in meetings. But my swearing is not the point of this post. I’m not even going to “accidentally” place a “fucking” or “shit” anywhere in that past sentence to try and be humorous.
The number one problemo I have with the bane of my existence, er, blog, is coming up with shit that doesn’t bore people to tears. Ideas I don’t feel like I’ve rehashed, don’t give a crap about, or know that others could give a flying rat’s poop about.
I’ve written a post before about climbing your way kicking and screaming out of writer’s block with advice I never listen to myself. In fact, reading the old post now I realize that I’m not as dumb as I think I am and I should maybe listen to myself more often. Except when I tell myself it’s ok to take a nap after I eat dinner. Because then I’m secretly lying to myself. I’m not taking a nap! I’m going to wake up six hours later with a food baby and my work clothing shifted 45 degrees on my body.
Sometimes my brain spews out interesting content. Sometimes my brain acts like how John Cusack’s performances are now- dull, lifeless, and robotic…and fat. Sometimes I stare at the computer screen for a very long time and hit refresh on my Facebook page all Rain Man-like and then go post on Twitter what I’m doing on Facebook. I will do this for a couple of hours until I fall asleep again in my work clothing, having most likely eaten a second dinner.
Many bloggers will tell you that they keep a journal of ideas to blog about. I do and it’s proven helpful. Especially during the moments when I’m supposed to be doing something else and this GREAT AND WONDERFUL idea slowly paddles it’s way into my brain. Before I let the thought boat make it’s way out, I grab my journal and scribble down notes. It’s important to do this. If you tell yourself, “Oh, I will remember this idea later!”, you will not, and you will regret not having written it down. Just like when you come up with all those brilliant concepts right before you trickle into sleep. If you don’t write them down, they’re lost forever and you just missed your opportunity to become the next Steve Jobs or Joe Francis.
I keep a running list of ideas. Some of the ideas are topics that are related to me personally- what is going on in my life, what is not going on in my life, what I should be doing with my life, and what I will never do with my life. Some of the ideas are related to current events and pop culture. It’s important to stay up on what is new and hot. Read what people are talking about on Twitter and Facebook, follow various news and entertainment outlets. I like to read Flavorwire, NPR,Huffingtonpost,The Daily Beast, The Frisky, Inhabitat, and WebUrbanist to get inspiration. Reading other blogs are also a great way to see what people are writing and what readers respond to.
Another good practice, and one that I told myself recently to take heed to, is recycling old material. If you have a post that readers responded well to, why not do another one? Or start a weekly or monthly theme? Just because you already wrote about it and think it’s now boring, doesn’t mean that people aren’t still interested in the topic. For example, I wrote a post called “Indie Music According to Middle-Aged People” where I recorded my parents reactions to listening to the popular indie music of 2009 and 2010. Well, it’s 2011 now so why don’t I subject my parents to listening to more “depressing funeral noise” and get their opinions? In fact, I think I will do that this weekend.
And lastly, something I mention in my writer’s block post and is an absolute no-brainer (but something I have to remind myself minutely), STEP AWAY FROM THE F’ING COMPUTER. Inspiration ain’t gonna hit you if you sit on your duff for hours in your tiny house on your tiny couch eating tiny pieces of cheese. Go outside, get in trouble, buy a motorcycle though you can’t afford to, drink a 40, drive to Waco, Texas, DO SOMETHING. ANYTHING. Believe me. Even walking two feet helps (and it will prevent you from getting F-A-T).
If you find yourself stuck trying to come up with fresh crap, here are some resources that are helpful:
7 Ways to Keep Fresh Content Flowing– Problogger
Howe to Come Up with Fresh Content Every Day– Will Work 4 Followers (a blog by Single Dad Laughing)
5 Ways to Create Fresh Content for Your Blog– American Express’ Open Forum
Do you keep a journal of blog ideas? What websites help inspire you to come up with content?