Sunday, August 9, 2009

Idea Starters for Stuck Bloggers - Part II

Idea-Starters for Stuck Bloggers – Part Two

By Mike Hyatt

The dreaded “writer’s block” afflicts us all from time to time. I struggle with it almost weekly. Occasionally, I have an easy run of several days, when the ideas seem to flow effortlessly. But that is rare. Most weeks, I get stuck at least once or twice.

So what do I do? What can you do? Here are some more idea-starters. I offer these up as possibilities for lighting a fire when your brain is damp:

Provide a step-by-step explanation for how to do something. When you provide five steps to this, or four strategies for that, people gobble it up. I think all of us have a need for down-to-earth, practical help with the items that interest us. Example: “How to Update Your Facebook Status With Twitter.”

Provide a list of resources. This is a huge way to give back to your industry or community. It is easy to take for granted what you know. You are probably sitting on priceless information that others would die to have access to. Resource lists are a great way to build traffic. Example: “Literary Agents Who Represent Christian Authors.”

Answer your readers’ questions. My readers ask some of the best questions. Sometimes they email them. Sometimes they put them in the comments of an older posts. Often they just Twitter them to me. I assume that if one person has the question, so do others. By answering these you demonstrate that you are listening. Example: “How Much Times Does Twittering Really Take?”

Make a seemingly overwhelming task simple. There is a huge audience for anyone who can make complex things simple. Provide a conceptual model, an outline, or an introduction to something you take for granted. Example: “Advice to First-Time Authors” and especially “Writing a Winning Book Proposal.”

Explain the rationale behind a decision. Intelligent people want to know why you do what you do. That is what makes everyone so interesting. You can explain the rational behind almost any decision you have made, and it will be instructive for others. Example: “Why Every Author Needs a Powerful Online Presence.”

Write a guide to something popular. This is especially good for technology topics—anything where people feel overwhelmed. I have written introductions to social networking, how to stay on top of email, and how to create a life plan. They key is not to assume the reader knows anything about the topic. Example: “The Beginner’s Guide to Twitter.”

Next time you get stuck, you might want to pull this list out and review it. Sometimes, all it takes is a spark to re-ignite the fire.


  1. Okay, I'm pulling out the list, but brain still dripping. Maybe I'm just catching a cold.

  2. Thank you so much for your sage and interesting advice. I continue to TRY to get into Blogging and Twittering, and I continue to be overwhelmed by the process. One of my primary issues is having the time to create something of value. A greater issue is figuring out what might be of value. As a fiction writer, this endeavor does not seem easy. I appreciate all the help and guidance that comes through this site!

  3. I find step-by-step instruction posts to be one of the easiest to write, simply because you have your outline built in!


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