Friday, July 15, 2011

On Running Out of Things to Blog

Every blogger's Ok, maybe just my fear? . . : What if I run out of things to write about?

Image Credit to Hugh MacLeod.
As I've begun pursuing my mommy blogger dream more diligently, I've had to face my fear of running out of things to blog about. I really do love to write. My mom used to tell me how when I was four years old, I'd write short stories and hide them under my bed. Most of my childhood I told myself I wanted to be one of two things: a figure skater or an author. I've long since let the figure skater dream die and haven't missed a minute of sleep over it, but this writing thing. Now, that's a passion I've never been able to throw.

But I have to wonder, and do wonder: Can one person really produce creative/thought-provoking/worthwhile/carefully edited content every single day - or even every other day for that matter? Am I cut out for this? So much thinking, typing, editing, second-guessing, and retyping go into every post I write. And to be a successful blogger they say you need to write something - anything - as often and consistently as you can.

"Churn out the content!!" I read over and over and over again on the, "How to become a successful blogger!" websites.

"Ok," I tell myself, "I want this. So, that's what I'll do. I'll write stuff!" And then, I sit . . . staring at the tan "New Post" tab, the empty bright white box, and the little blinking cursor that reminds me of all the time I'm wasting not churning out that content.

Interesting though, how the second I draw myself away from my computer screen, away from the time bomb cursor, the blaring white box, and the intimidating "New Post" tab - the ideas start to flow out of my mind like water from a breaking dam:

Image Source.
I play with my son and notice a new quirk of his or something he can do today that he couldn't yesterday. I try cooking or baking something new in my kitchen and love it or hate it.  I go to town and pretend not to watch people as I watch them. I share an intelligent conversation with someone new. I watch the sky in a new city with my husband, and I kiss him, and fall in love again. I simply live, and I find the short list of "Blog Post Ideas" in my Blackberry grows and grows and grows until I question whether I'll ever have the time to write all the things I hope to write. That cursor could never get a blink in edgewise when I simply live.

Then why, you may be wondering, do I even blog? Why not just forget about the blinking line in the white box in the "New Post" tab? Why not simply live? Here is my answer: Sure, I get the general ideas for my blog posts when I simply live. Topics, themes, and pictures come to me. But it isn't until I really sit down and type, that those ideas come in to full bloom. Blogging, for me, brings my life into focus. As I write, my simple everyday experiences become more memorable and more meaningful. Ken Robinson shared a wonderful speech that I discovered on TED a couple years ago:


One thing he said really stuck with me. He said that some people, "have to move to think." (And I think he would be ok with me paraphrasing: or make music, or calculate, or make lists, or organize, or craft, or build, or draw . . . to think.) As for myself, I have to write to think. When I take the time to write about the thought "seeds" that come to me during the course of my daily living, I find I see them for what they really are as I write about them.

My simple living makes more sense to me because I write about it. So, I live to write. I write to think. 

And that's my secret to never running out of things to blog about, as well as the reason why I blog. The funny thing is, I honestly didn't realize any of this until I sat down to write this post. See, I told you so! ;)

What about you? How do you make sure your blog idea well doesn't run dry? And what do you have to do to think?

11 comments:

  1. I actually have a lot of ideas that never end up being written about because I forget them! But, my blog is mostly about our family... However, we try to keep it interesting and perhaps the title could be "What the Fagans Think" rather than what we're up to, especially since it seems we don't actually do a whole lot!

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  2. @ Katelyn: I was forgetting a lot of my ideas too! That's why (about a month ago?) I decided to start keeping a little list in my phone, since I pretty much always have it with me. It has been very helpful. It's fun to write about what you think though, is it not? :)

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  3. "Blogging, for me, brings my life into focus."

    Beautifully put - I couldn't have said it better! Such an enjoyable post to read. Thanks for this. :)

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  4. Brilliantly written! You had me at hello! :) I couldn't agree more with what you said. People often say blogging is a waste of time and people who do it must have too much time on their hands. Well, time is one thing I don't have, but I do have a passion for blogging and it comforts me.

    My favorite...

    "As for myself, I have to write to think. When I take the time to write about the thought "seeds" that come to me during the course of my daily living, I find I see them for what they really are as I write about them."

    http://candidlysavage.wordpress.com

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  5. @ Lauren: Thank you for reading and commenting! :)

    @ Krista: Those other people don't have to understand. We can just keep blogging - and keep our sanity. ;)

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  6. Love this post! I recently started keeping ideas for posts eveywhere and I find myself writing blog posts in my head as I live my life. It's so funny how a blogger's head works :)

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  7. I think this was the perfect "centering" post for me today. I've been really struggling with why I blog (for myself) and what to write about more and more lately.

    Thanks for the inspiration!

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  8. You have put into words everything I have been thinking and feeling recently. I am fairly new to 'blogging' but I can echo everything you say. Somehow when I write down my thoughts, everything makes sense. Thank you. x

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  9. I am on a jig to post every single day this year. It has been challenging and I've gone several months posting everyday. Sometimes I too am looking at the blank white box with my fingers not moving but I usually just start typing what is at the fore front of my frontal lobe and out pops something. I used to have a list but have misplaced it somewhere but will look into a phone app. Sometimes I find inspiration just being out in my car driving around but you just can't stop to write something down so I usually lose the thought. I do hand write a journal too on the weekends and have for years. There are some topics I would LIKE to write about but I'm so afraid of offending family or friends that read my blog I keep quiet so the hand journal helps there. Oh well, I'll just keep on letting the stuff flow out of my brain, good or bad. Thanks for the info and the comments help too. Carla

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  10. I'm new to the blogging community but this is a fear of mine. I love to read and I love to write, but sometimes I can't seem to put on the paper what I want to say. I feel like my post isn't one worth reading, or isn't good enough. I get really frustrated with that. But sometimes, when I'm running or just living like you say, I come up with so many ideas. Forcing myself to come up with something seems to put a wall up. I've learned to try to keep a notebook with me, or keep repeating the idea until I can write it down. But even when I do, being a new blogger, I still end up feeling like my posts aren't good enough. Any tips? Really like this post by the way!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you for your sweet comment! My main suggestion is to be confident in what you are doing! I think confidence comes from believing in the reason you have chosen to do something, and being good at what you do. The second may involve a little talent, but mostly just involves a lot of practice, perspiration and yes sometimes failure! Don't be afraid of putting things out there that aren't 100% percent perfect. I look back at my first posts on this blog and I laugh at them. They were so unfocused! So random! Over the last three years my posts have gotten so much better, but they could still be better than they are. Life is a learning process, and you should view your blogging in that way too. That being said, since I have been blogging for a few years, I have learned a few big things that have really improved the quality of my posts. Here are my tips:

      - Make sure every post you write has a focus.
      - Show, don't tell. Imagery is key to livening up any anecdotal post.
      - Read other blogs and make mental notes of the things bloggers do that make the posts interesting. Incorporate those things in your own writing.
      - Ask yourself, what value (if any) does this post have to the people reading it? Not every single detail of your life has to (or should be) shared. Be selective.
      - If a post isn't working for you, just save it in drafts and let it (and you) have a break for a while!
      - Have fun! The more you enjoy what you were doing, the more fun it will be to read. :)

      Good luck and keep on blogging! And thanks for reading. :)

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