5 Tips to Help Overcome Writer’s Block

For writers of any type, one of the most common concerns is hitting writer’s block. You know it’s hit you before, and it’ll hit you again.

Fortunately, if you’re ready for it, and know what to do to shake it, you won’t struggle for long, and those deadlines and feelings of despair will start to melt away as soon as you put words to the page.

If you’ve never been afflicted by writer’s block, consider yourself lucky. But rather than worry about when it’ll be your turn to stare at a blank page and feel nothing but frustration and anguish, you can read on below to get some tips to help stop the block before (or even after) it hits.

1. Outline

When the words elude you, consider just getting the bones of a piece on the page. Start with a working title, some working headings, a couple words about what each section will discuss.

Once you have a working outline down on the page, you can start writing around it. Start wherever you feel so inspired. Just keep writing and editing what’s on the page and before you know it you might actually be done (at least with a first draft).

2. Don’t Worry About Creativity, Just Write Technically, or the Action

Like the advice above to start with an outline, if after the outline is done and you are still just struggling to string together sentences, shift your focus to filling in what you can easily. For instance, actions that you know must be taken, or technical descriptions. Once you start getting the words out, usually, it gets easier to find your flow.

3. Take a Break to Clear Your Head

If nothing is working for you, you may need to take a big step back and take a break before you even begin. Take a walk, get some exercise, clean something, have a snack, meditate, nap, or just do whatever it is that you do to clear your head. Then, sit back down and try again with a fresh focus.

4. Re-Read Something Inspirational

If stopping to clear your head didn’t help, you can try finding the last piece of writing, music or art that really inspired you. Then study it. Read, listen, or look at it, over and over again. Try to get back to that feeling of inspiration you remember. Then, as soon as you feel it, get back to writing!

5. Change the Scenery or Mood

For some folks, changing the scenery or mood, can really help with overcoming writer’s block. Find a comfy table at a local café, or library, or maybe just go sit on your porch, or in a different room in your home, or put on some background music. Alternatively, if you’re working on a laptop, consider switching up to a paper and pen, or vice versa.

Like these tips and want more? Sign up for my newsletter for newsletter-exclusive writing tips. 

3 Proofreading Tips to Eliminate Common Blogging Mistakes

Proofreading is important. While an occasional typo may be forgivable, it’s embarrassing, especially for writers who have editors. But, editors are people too, and sometimes miss the same things that writers do.

However, in the world of blogging, especially, independent blogs, editors are a luxury that most cannot afford. As such, bloggers need to be really good at proofreading, and need to always proofread multiple times before posting anything (and even after posting too)

1. Read Your Post Aloud

You don’t have to do so loudly, but proofreading by reading something aloud really can help you catch mistakes you might otherwise miss.

One tip to doing so effectively is to pretend you are a newscaster on the evening news reading their script. Basically, you want to focus on enunciating every word properly. By doing so, you’re more likely to catch mistakes that your mind might otherwise gloss over.

2. Bottom to Top Review

Another effective proofreading tip involves reading each sentence on its own starting from the last and moving your way up to the top. This helps you evaluate each individual sentence on its own to make sure it isn’t flawed. It also prevents you from getting lost in the flow of your own writing, which can happen pretty easily when you proofread from the top down.

If you have the privacy, you may even want to consider doing this review aloud as well.

3. Don’t Forget to Q&A Test

Did you put any links into your blog? You better check’em to make sure they work right. The last thing you want is to accidentally send your readers to a dead link, or worse, a malicious website. It is important to check your links both before and after they go live. Every single one of them. Even the one to your newsletter subscription page.

Like these tips and want more? Subscribe to my newsletter!

How Long Should a Blog Post Be?

One question new bloggers often ask is how long a blog post needs to be to be informative and credible. Unfortunately, giving a word count answer isn’t really possible, unless you’re just trying to play the SEO game (then, the answer is at least 350 or so). But even then, that’s not what you’re here to learn.

Basically, like any piece of writing, a blog post needs to be as long, or as short, as it needs to be to deliver the content intended. So, what exactly does this mean, and what does this look like, practically? Read on below to find out.

If You Can’t Be Great, It’s Better to be Long

While you might not be able to make content with the same production quality as a major online-publisher, bloggers shouldn’t shy away from long-form content. However, on the flip-side, unwieldy posts that go on and on and on with no purpose are never going to do you any favors.

Going in-depth and covering a topic properly doesn’t always require thousands of words, especially if you have chosen a rather narrow topic within your niche to explore. But if you find that you have completely covered your topic in just a few sentences, you may want to take a step back to see where you can go deeper, or discuss the topic more.

Take your time to consider different approaches to your topic, you can:

  • Think about how an image or two, or examples, might help the post,
  • Consider adding more to the introduction or conclusion,
  • Rework a couple sentences into headlines or topic sentences,
  • Re-outline the post so that what you’ve written is part of a larger discussion/post.

Basically, unless you have a really good reason for a blog post being just a couple sentences, you need to give readers something worthwhile — especially if readers are in anyway notified automatically when you put up a new post.

A good rule of thumb for any blog post requires reading it aloud and timing yourself. If it takes you less than two minutes to read at a reasonable pace, you might want to consider adding more to it. Also, reading your post aloud is a great way to proofread, and is highly recommended anyway.

What If There’s Nothing More to Say?

If you think there is truly nothing more to say beyond what you’ve written, try to put yourself in the shoes of different types of readers. First, consider the reader who runs a Google search for your exact headline. Will they be disappointed by the fact that your post feels light on content? Or, will they be happy to have found a direct answer? Next, consider the reader who is returning to your blog after not having visited for a month, or since your last newsletter or email update. What are they going to think?

While it may feel instinctual to want to focus on this first reader who organically found your blog via a search, you’re ignoring the more important audience member, the returning visitor or subscriber. Fortunately, there’s another way to impress and please those readers on the hunt for topical information: Make ever single post tl;dr friendly. If you’re curious about what that means, don’t worry, the next section explains it.

Tl;dr Every Post

While you may want to imagine your readers navigating directly to your blog from their bookmarks bar, then pouring over every single syllable of your glorious wordsmithing, in all reality, they’re probably voraciously consuming your content then moving on without feeling gluttonous at all. And if a new reader gets to your site via a search, you want to make sure they can access the information they are looking for quickly and easily.

Tl;dr, in case you are unaware, means “too long, didn’t read.” It is one of those web-acronyms that have sprung up thanks to Reddit. Basically, a tl;dr is a short summary of a post written for people who will not read a long post.

For this reason, blog posts should be tl;dr friendly. That means using headings that are descriptive, while having clear introductions and conclusions to please those readers who are just skimming the web). It also doesn’t hurt to use bold, italics, or underlining, when you want to make sure that readers don’t miss words or phrases you want emphasized.

Note: Your blog is not Reddit. You do not need to actually put in a tl;dr summary, but making sure that content designed to be informative (rather than entertaining) is easy to scan, will make your posts more useful to readers.

Are you a blogger that loves getting writing tips in their email? Then sign up for my newsletter!

3 Tips for Keeping Your Blog on Track

Blogging is a marathon sport. Though occasionally you may feel the need to sprint, especially in the beginning, it’s best to just make and stick to a schedule for posting.

But, because life, staying on track can often be difficult, especially when writing isn’t your primary job, or isn’t generating any income for you. However, if you’re committed, then you can make it happen. And to help you and your blog stay on track, below you’ll find three tips.

1. Develop Daily and Weekly Routines

For those who can’t devote the majority of their working day to blogging, it is imperative to develop solid routines, and not just for writing. Spending a hour, or less even, on a daily or weekly basis, reading your own content and your competitions’ content is time well spent. And, if finding time to write is difficult, then scheduling time to do it regularly is critical.

Additionally, you should set up an administrative review time, at least monthly, to make sure your blog’s website is running smoothly, and everything is up to date.

When setting your routines, think about what works best for you. Are you an early-bird or night-owl? Is writing your afternoon-delight? Would you prefer to review your brainstorming notes every Friday or Monday? Set up times that make sense for you and are realistic (in terms of you being able to stick to it).

2. Never Stop Brainstorming Topic Ideas

One of the big road-blocks bloggers face is running out of topics. This can seemingly happen rather quickly for certain niche topics, however, as the internet has proven, time and time again, that there’s always something more to say about everything.

One way bloggers can avoid staring at blank page without a clue what to write involves maintaining a topics brainstorming list. In addition to making the list, it is a great idea to set aside some time every week for brainstorming topic ideas. However, you can and should always add topics to the list anytime you think of one, and it’s an excellent idea to maintain a topics brainstorming list on your smartphone so you can jot down topic ideas anytime and anywhere inspiration may strike.

3. Take it One Post at a Time

It can seem like an insurmountable task to post blog post after blog post when your audience may not be engaged, or even exist. But you need to remember that blogs don’t just get popular overnight. Well, sometimes they do. But most blogs take time to develop an audience and following, and even longer to become monetized. So long as you keep at it, keep up with blogging best practices, and keep creating content that readers would find valuable, you still have a chance to reach your goals.

Good content may not be easy, but so long as you just take it one post at a time, and focus on creating the content that your readers want in that one post, the bigger picture your blog is trying to paint will get there.

Like tips like these? Subscribe to my newsletter for newsletter-exclusive writing tips and georgeskhoury.com updates.