3 Sure-Fire Steps for Beating the Boring Content Blues

3 Sure-Fire Steps for Beating the Boring Content Blues

Reader Comments (119)

  1. What a great kick in the pants first thing this morning! And to think, I was trolling blogs because I was avoiding working on the next scene in my novel. The gauntlet has been thrown! I’m going to give this method a go for the next 30 days. I’ve been writing long enough to know that it’ll work, but sometimes it’s nice to get an outside push. Thanks for that.

  2. Thanks, Sonia, this was the perfect post for me this morning. (I have perfectionism issues.) I use a twist on the Seinfeld production method. I have to put a big black X on the days that I don’t write. Somehow it’s more motivational for me to keep my calendar clean. That probably says something about my psychology that I don’t want to explore too closely.

  3. I love these tips – it’s definitely training yourself to write – I was writing everyday and then took a break (does working out gone bad come to mind) – no I’m struggling to get back in the groove – definitely gonna give your 3 steps a go.

  4. Sonia, quite a refreshing post with great info. I especially liked the idea of looking in unusual or offbeat places for ideas when you’re really stuck. I suppose you could do the same by going to Google headlines or Amazon.com and seeing what others are writing about your area of interest.

  5. This is excellent! I have some unpublished posts knocking about, and I went back and rewrote, then hit the ‘publish’ button, after reading this post today. I’m finally accepting that it’s OK for me to write rubbish now and again, as long as I write and get better every day. At least then, I’ll be writing less rubbish!

    29 days and counting…

  6. Sonia, thank you so much. I am reading Writing Down the Bones and your advice is the perfect companion. I printed this post so that I will remember to follow this process. I can’t thank you enough for writing this at a time when I really needed this advice.

    Karen

  7. Good advice on writing every day. For me this is how it usually happens: The first 13 days of writing I feel like Superman, “damn I AM invincible”. The next 7 days I start feeling the effects of the keyboard kryptonite “a bit painful, but I WILL persevere!” And the last 10 days I come to the harsh reality that I am in fact Clark Kent “Mmmmmm, perhaps today I will write about my new shoe laces”. While the shoelace article may not possess the wit and literary sharpness of “A Woman of No Importance”, at least I am still writing!

  8. @WDOC, hey, Nicholson Baker got a pretty good novel out of buying shoelaces!

    @William and others, so good to hear it! I have really found this one beneficial, and I hope you do that same.

  9. Thanks. I’ve been writing, journaling, for years. I’ve published a few things. Now I blog several times a week. But with the blogging I’ve been content to let the first draft fly, ready or not. A few take wing, most flail and fall.

    If my good intentions turn into a decision I’ll be taking our advice.

  10. Incredible post…thank you Sonia.

    I heard Seth Godin say something on one of his podcast interviews with Accidental Creative – I thought it rang true with exactly what you were saying.

    I have this taped to my computer monitor –

    “Writer’s block is fear of writing something that isn’t perfect – perfect is teh enemy of good…if you can be good frequently then on a regular basis you will be amazing.”

    Thanks for your post

  11. Ummm, I had almost given up reading blog posts about writing…most are just sort of cheerleading kinds of things. But this I love! A method, an action, a way to stop thinking about why I’m not writing and to just write. Thanks!

  12. Excellent post! This will cut down my writing time and help me become more consitent with my writing, it doesn’t have to be perfect, I will remember that.

    Thanks,

    Dan

  13. Me an’ mah boys in the basement… we get along just fine. I bribe them with liquor. They cheer. They toss stuff my way. Snatch, grab, jot notes. I toss them some chips, they cheer some more.

    Then in the mornings when it’s time to write, I say, “Listen, boys, let’s make a deal.”

    🙂

  14. Amen on the tumblelogging idea. I’ve been doing that since January and it helped a lot.

    Since this week is easter, maybe get into the spirit of things by blogging everyday for 40 days instead of 30. 🙂

  15. Sonia,

    I have to tell you I didn’t really identify with the ‘boys in the basement’, but it did make me laugh. There is that something that does come up with the ideas, does compel one to write, does bring clarity (finally!).

    Thanks for all those things, the reminder of all those things, the magic putting them all into words.

  16. Whoa, major kudos Simone! Damn Good writing…doing a happy dance for you… and wonderful practical writers’ studio skills to hone. Feed those bad boys baby if this is what they give you in return! Excellent post.
    All best, Jan

  17. Sonia Simone kicks ass. Although not letting me skip National Administrative Assistants Day is a bit harsh, don’t you think? I mean, Christmas? Fine, I’ll work it. But NAAD? Slavedriver!

  18. @ Chris Marshall – I have it on good authority that Sonia has both, as well as a mighty handsome hubby who needs some attention every now and again. 🙂

  19. Great post. Wonderful way to keep writing in a blog and not get burned out. Good suggestions on how to keep your writing intersting and build a following for a successful blog.

  20. I love blog posts that give me some homework to better myself. Thanks for the great advice. I will try this as I know a lot about “business stuff” but am not a polished copywriter.

    I learned a long time ago that mere repetition isn’t always conducive of “getting better.” If it were, you’d think we’d just get better at writing the way that we do.

    Do you add any time in there during these 30 days to learning new techniques or is that a given?

    Thanks

  21. @Chris Marshall, yep, Naomi is right, I have a day job that can be fairly writing-intensive (director of comms) as well as a family consisting of a 2 1/2 year old and a very excellent husband. And I’m working on getting two side businesses off the ground, as well as helping a friend market his Internet product. Keeps me out of trouble, mostly.

    @John, I’m always interested in learning new stuff. I read sites like copyblogger & ittybiz, I subscribe to a couple of paid newsletters and a whole bunch of free ones, and I’m a junkie for the classic advertising “how-tos.” All of that is useful, but it has to come second after writing and rewriting. It can be very seductive to spend all your time reading *about* writing and no time writing.

  22. Wow, Sonia! I stumbled onto your blog looking for a link to support a post I’d written about applying improv techniques to writing. After linking that post to one of yours, I poked around and found this TERRIFIC post! Just what I needed to be told.

    I’ve worked with Julia Cameron’s morning pages, but I like this idea of your dad’s better because it asks me to make something more publishable–even though not perfect.

    Like all REALLY good ideas, it scares me a little. Looks like it has the potential to change ME, not just my blog.

    Thanks for your generous offer.
    jme

  23. Oh, good stuff! Not only for bloggers. My writers’ group is about to get an email directing them here. They already know about Writing Down the Bones and Julia Cameron and also Dorothea Brande. This is a great update, with contemporary additions such as Cosmo headlines and Backpack! I feel rejuvenated!

  24. @Sonia – I’d have to agree with that. Sometimes I find I’ll spend so much time reading content to “learn” but then when all is done I realize I haven’t really accomplished much.

    It doesn’t help much too that I’m not a speed reader!

  25. The real trick to do this routine and follow it up by working out for 1 hour. Not only are you a killer writer but have abs of steel!

  26. Sonia – your writing swings (echoes of namesake Nina?) and you speak the truth. You just forced this retired journalist to start writing again. Thanks.

  27. Love it! I needed this kick in the pants. I’m off to bookmark this right now so that I can re-read it when I need that motivation to stop staring off into cyberspace…

  28. I like it!

    @Rosemary & Jamie, those teachers–Julia Cameron, Natalie Goldberg, Dorothea Brande–mean a lot to me as well. I wonder if bloggers know ’em?

  29. I chuck all my ideas into a text doc or a Google Doc or onto a 3×5 card I always carry in my pocket. “Write it down” is such a huge key to polishing and spreading ideas. Thanks Sonia!

  30. “Someone’s boring me. I think it’s me” Dylan Thomas

    Boredom’s the writer’s alarm clock, signalling it’s time to wake up and find the spark again. (Hey, that sounds like a quote, too.)

  31. “Polish every piece before you publish it. The editing and polishing will probably take as much time (or more) than it did to write it the post in the first place.”

    That’s certainly true for me…I can usually put down my core post fairly easily and quickly…I spend a great deal of time editing and proofing, making sure I’ve only included what’s relevant and ensuring that all links work and quotation marks are correct, etc.

  32. Truly wonderful. I just popped over to your blog and there’s much more that’s wonderful there. I’m reaching for my notebook as we speak to get today’s minimum-of-20-minutes’-writing underway. Thanks so very much.

  33. WHAT??? There’s no such thing as inspiration??!??

    And here I have been hanging around looking at a blank screen… fingers poised on keyboard just waiting for inspiration to come into my brain! Hmmmmmmm.

    Great suggestions! And it’s what I need to hear today! Thanks

    Jeanne

  34. Sonia,
    With my web host down for 12 hours of maintenance, this is just what the doctor ordered. I found out that my Windows Live Writer software will allow me to save multiple draft posts, so it is real easy to keep writing!

    Thanks for the inspiration!

    John

  35. I need some help please!
    Where do you guys post your work, on what sites an is it possible to make money from writing?
    Please help, I have so much writing ideas and don’t know where i can promote them
    Thanks

  36. It is so true that people should be posting at least once a day. Many people have a lot of trouble finding inspiration but it is very important you do at least once a day. All of the best blogs have at least 2-3 posts a day.

  37. Bravo!

    A colleague who is a master of Digital Art produced one piece of art every day for 30 days last year (see compasswebworks.com). Her work got better and better as a result. I was so impressed with her output and technique, that I applied it to writing “Ideas du Jour” every day since January 1 this year.

    Thanks for adding writer-friendly tips! Got the message.

    Note to self: the draft ain’t good enough. The boys in the basement are much too quiet, and the gals in the attic need to play more.

    – Maggie

  38. I agree 110% when you say: “Finally, you’ll have a whole bunch of posts you can keep in reserve for when you’re having a Bad Brain Week. This sense of bounty will keep the boys in the basement happy enough to keep sending you a steady stream of good material.”

    That makes my basement boys much happier as you’re not writing “stressed out” posts that “need to get something up” verbiage will throw off your content… good post.

  39. Wow! Just when I thought I was on it writing three blogs per week or more – and now you suggest 7.
    It’s funny that I really had a tremendous amount of fear when I wrote my first few blogs. I didn’t think I could do this at all and I just kept doing it because my son (I don’t keep him in the attic) makes me write. He’s the one responsible for the look and graphics and sense behind it all. He’s a pusher and he’s wonderful.
    After almost a year, I feel torn at moments. Not out of fear so much but when does it get easier?
    I used to get up every day and write and now I am writing more on one or two days, but two or three blogs. You might have the right idea. I’m sort of burned out right now as a matter of fact.
    I’d love anyone to comment on my site to let me know if I’m sounding a bit redundant??
    It’s been a long road for me to do this and I’m enjoying it but I’m certainly hoping that what information I’m donating, it is worth something. I’ve had a few respond positively but no huge hits.
    Thanks for sharing. I love what you do to help all of us out.

  40. Absolutely love it!!!
    Great tips, gotta get my boys to start sending stuff up. I’ve been avoiding pen and paper (or keys and screen) lately, waiting for that mythical inspiration to strike.. Love this post, gave me a kick up the rear.

  41. @michele, if you’re getting burned out, you may find this technique helps you find a sense of play again. Much of what you write will just be for you. Any kind of creative work needs a little self-indulgence (that you keep just for yourself) to keep your well from running dry.

    @Shane, many have kicked me in the rear in the past, I am glad to pass it along. 🙂

  42. Thanks for all the help everyone! I’m getting a late start today – bill paying was on the agenda today —aaargh!
    But, my husband wanted me to transform something he needed for a very important meeting yesterday and I count that as writing. I wrote about anti-fatigue mats. I can talk about them because I actually have two in my kitchen. One in front of the sink and the other in front of the stove. Boy, do I love those mats. My write was much more specific to the quality and the product information but I figured I was writing. I’ll have to share some of that in a blog somewhere. I think I know exactly the perfect spot. Flooring and back strain. Ha!
    Ok – there’s my big idea for the day. Thanks again!!!
    Love, love!

  43. Interesting and useful post.

    I think writing everyday is really important. It’s amazing how one day you can think of absolutely nothing to say, and then suddenly lots of ideas emerge. I was going through something like this the last few days, and now I suddenly have – what I think – are some great ideas to get me through the next 20 or so posts.

  44. Thank you for such an amazing post. So simple, yet so effective. I participated in NaNoWriMo last November and I wrote over 50,000 words in 30 days. It felt great! Mr writing was really flowing and I could have kept going and going. Sure there were days where my writing seemed dull and I wanted to skip sometimes, but I think it was a great exercise.

    I am going to give this a try in April. 🙂

  45. Ok, I’m getting it. After reading this post about writing everyday – at first, I went aaargh.
    What happened to me, your permission for me to write anything made it so much easier all of a sudden. So, off I went and wrote late in to the night. One very personal blog about my own frustrations as an artist leaving myself last and then I worked on blogs I had started and not finished. Great thing is that my words came out so much easier and I felt a bit more creative with what I was writing.
    Thanks again!
    I hope that I can make it to the next seminar in Chicago next year. I have a condo there that we rent out. I’ll try and save it for that event if I know well in advance. Keep me posted if there is going to be anything there again soon or here in So. Cal.

    Michele

  46. A wonderful post.
    I have a voice that tells me, ‘you can do it later’ and that ‘later’ thing keeps going further away everyday. I am going to try this method for the next 30 days with my new blogs.

    Thank you Sonia

  47. I certainly feel like I fall in that category lately. I’m on a mission to obtain some guest writers to break up my own monotony.
    It helps to write in different locations of the home. I’ll move outside if I have to. I’ll go to the local coffee shop. I’ll sit in bed with a cup of coffee. Truth, I think we need to see what other great sites are doing and create mentors.
    I need one right now!
    MM

  48. >>Third, you’ll learn what every serious writer knows–there is no such thing as inspiration. There is work and there is a commitment to show up, and then there is the alchemy that lets you create better writing than you thought you could write. These things are a result of daily commitment and practice, not positive thinking or feel-good visualizations.

    That’s some of the best advice I think I have ever seen. I am going to print it and put it up on my wall lol.

  49. Thanks Sonia

    That was a Great Post. I have taken a print out and posted it on the Wall. And well the crosses yes the chart is ready.Just starting to string them.

    Prakash

  50. Sonia,

    I love it. Anything you can do for thirty days will become a habit. Once that sets in you will naturally write everyday.

    For me I write almost everyday but it isn’t just for me it’s for my clients as well so that keeps me polished.

    My tip for keeping inspired is to read other inspiring blogs like this one or books and then I get tons of ideas and I am ready to rock!

  51. Good stuff! I’m a newbie when it comes to blogging… I can’t write everyday because I don’t have enough time. But your right, if your blog often has a new content, many will be interesting.

    “Perfect is actually the enemy of damned good. Writing every day gets you out of the illusion of perfection and into the daily practice of damned good.”

    I like this one… this is true…

  52. Hmm, eye-opening for sure. Don’t know how I missed this post when it was first published.

    I surely do know about the “boys in the basement” becoming stingy. Back in high school I easily wrote 2-3 short stories a week (I won’t talk about the topics, that’s embarrassing). Then I got caught up in the social aspect of school, and the writing went out the window! Here I sit, 8 years later, and I feel as though I can’t write a short story worth a damn.

    Thanks for the post…it’s the kick in the ass I need to start churning out content on a regular basis. Even if that content is never seen by the public eye!

  53. Damn it… no secret? Surely not!?! Thanks for curing me of the search for the secret and to get on with the work of writing. Steven King says that a writer is a “producer of words”. If you produce 2000 per day, you have a book in 3 months… 1000 per day a book in 6 months and 500 a day, a book in a year… some today, none tomorrow = never a book and you better remove the title “writer” from your email signature 😉

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