- Make careless spelling and grammatical mistakes?
- Forget the point of your post?
- Find yourself checking your feed reader, instead of writing?
- Struggle with organizing your ideas?
- Start a blog and then quit after a few weeks?
If you do, then you may be suffering from a writing disorder that affects millions of bloggers worldwide. You might’ve thought you were undisciplined, easily distracted, or a poor writer, but that’s not necessarily true. It might not even be your fault at all.
You could be experiencing MADD: Muse Attention Deficit Disorder.
Does Your Muse Have MADD?
Okay, I’m going to let you off the hook. If you sit down at the keyboard and find you’ve lost your talent, there’s probably nothing wrong with you — your muse is just experiencing a little MADD.
Where ADD affects humans, MADD affects muses. You can be as focused as a Doberman on a hambone, but if your muse has MADD, you won’t even be able to curse with any creativity. You’ll just sit there, flitting from idea to idea, wondering why you can’t come up with a coherent post.
The fact is, MADD is rampant among the blogging muse population. Just look at the millions of forgotten blogs, bloggers who can’t stay on topic, and rambling posts that don’t say anything of value at all.
Fortunately, there’s hope. Professional writers have been dealing with MADD for centuries, and we’ve developed a host of solutions, guaranteed to get the little pixie back on your shoulder and sprinkling its magic writing dust. Here are 5 of them:
1. Find a Better Topic
You might’ve decided to strike it rich by writing about the intricacies of mesothelioma, but your muse keeps walking around the room, pretending to be a British aristocrat and regaling you with its tales. What should you do?
You might think you need to teach your muse some discipline, but really, it’s you who needs better listening skills. If you try to force your muse to be creative with a topic it disdains, it will develop a swift and vicious case of MADD.
Tip: Write about topics that consistently excite you.
2. Stop Arguing
Are you trying to write a post about why everyone should pay attention to on-page SEO, but your muse just sits on your shoulder, pelting you with reasons why social media is more important?
If you are, stop. Arguing with your muse is a sure route to MADD. You’ll forget your point, use questionable logic, and spend hours trying to finish it, all because your muse is only halfheartedly helping you. You’re better off writing something that your creative self really believes.
Tip: Strive for authenticity with your writing.
3. Feed Your Muse
Malnutrition is another common cause for MADD. Like writers, muses need a healthy diet to stay productive. You need to feed them a steady supply of “Food for Thought” — insightful blog posts, books, music, conversation, and other stimulating experiences.
How do you know what type of content to feed your muse?
Usually, you can tell by how smart and creative you feel after experiencing it. For instance, if you notice that you’re more alert and ready to write after reading Copyblogger, then you should read it every day. It’ll keep your muse fat and happy.
Tip: Surround yourself with sources of inspiration.
4. Create a Challenge
The moment I jot down another list or “how-to” headline, my muse just rolls its eyes. I’ve done so many of those that it’s no longer any fun. To get my muse to pay attention, I have to create a challenge, like coming up with a bizarre writing disorder.
If you’ve been blogging a while, you might have to do the same thing. Sure, the tried-and-true formulas work, but it ceases to matter when it’s just another humdrum post. Blogging is a creative endeavor, and creativity involves doing something new.
So create a challenge for yourself. Your muse will perk up.
Tip: Keep your writing fun by playing with the format and structure.
Lots of bloggers think that they have to write 2-3 content rich posts everyday, and they work their poor muse to death doing it. Then they wonder why it starts nodding off.
If you want to keep your muse alert and focused, you have to give it some time off. Hang out with your friends, watch a movie, or take a nap. Do nothing that requires creativity for a few hours.
As my muse likes to say, “What do you think this is? A sweatshop?”
Tip: Blogging is a marathon, not a sprint. Pace yourself.
Take Care of Your Muse
Lots of rookie bloggers think that building a popular blog is all about cranking out content. To some extent, that’s true, but the only way that’s going to happen is if you take care of your muse.
What do I mean?
Professional athletes don’t just master their sport. They hone their bodies until they’re in peak condition, so when they show up to compete, their body is ready.
Similarly, professional writers don’t just master the writing process. They hone their creative powers until they’re in peak condition, so when they sit down to write, they know they’ll have something to say.
So ask yourself: Is your muse a poster child for MADD, or is it a lean, mean creativity machine?
If you want to be in the Technorati 100 with tens of thousands of loyal fans, it had better be the latter. Otherwise, you’ll never make it.
So take care of your muse. It will return the favor a thousandfold.