Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Blogger's block

Yeah, I've had pretty much nothing to write about in the past few weeks, so I've had to dip pretty deep at times. Part of it is being idealess, another part is being too lazy to actually write something, and then the remaining 17% was in deference to the highly-respected grandeur of Black History Month. So, while I was writing up my entry for my fitsstakes on the AofG website, I saw an article that TypePad linked to entitled "10 Ways to Find New Blog Topics". I thought, "surely, this is going to be incredibly gay". And I was right. But, hey, I guess it gave me something to write about.

1. Check your comment section.

Some of the best ideas come from readers. Read through your comments and check for interesting questions, provoking thoughts, or anything that could become a good post topic. Focus particularly on any comment threads that contain a spirited discussion among readers. If it's hot, run with it.

Wow! That runs so contrary to the commonly held belief among bloggers to completely ignore your comment section like you were Gaetan Dugas and it was an HIV symptom. I mean, this is pure genius! Read your comment section...wow. Epic advice over here from TypePad. Should I consider using pictures as well?

2. Create a list.

Whatever you blog about, there is likely an exciting list that you can uncover. Write the “5 Secrets to...” or the “Top 10 Ways...” or “8 Reasons Why...” or “3 Ways to Find Out...” They're quick and painless, and even better: they're fun to read.

Yeah! A list! How about "Loftiest 6 reasons why lists are the gayest form of blogging..." or maybe "Least entertaining styles of writing that anyone can do, even Jay Mohr..." or something of that nature. I'll be fucking famous once I start making more lists and reading my comments section. I can be like Will Leitch without the emo hair!

3. Review your greatest hits.

Read back through your old posts, particularly the ones that generated a good amount of feedback, and consider writing a fresh angle on the topic. If a subject was compelling once, it might be worthwhile to explore another variation on it.

Ohhh, I like it! Rewrite something that you didn't fuck up in the past. FRESH. I love using freshness analogies, and right now TypePad's ideas are so fresh that they are like the cryogenic sperm lab of blogging. Hey, remember that awesome post I wrote about skull-fucking goats? Well, here it is from another angle, that of the goat. Enjoy!

4. Spend some time on social networking sites like Digg and StumbleUpon to find out what other people are blogging about.

Sometimes just browsing through headlines of buzz-worthy blog topics will be enough to jumpstart your creativity. Good ideas are contagious, so take time to read popular blogs and blogs that are generating lots of conversations, and you'll soon have a bunch of new ideas.

Well, of course it is. Who doesn't do this? I used to write all kinds of posts in response to CNN.com articles and stuff like that. Come on, TypePad, how about something clever? Or new? Or something that my illegitimately children are not capable of figuring out themselves?

5. Explore blogs in an entirely different category than yours.

Stepping outside your own content area is a wonderful way to be inspired. Have a marketing blog? Read a few food blogs. Have a craft blog? Check out a few political blogs. Inspiration is just a few clicks away.

Can't think of anything to write for your Cincinnati Reds blog? Have you checked out anything on the Pakistani Liberation Movement recently? Surely your readers will be inspired to cheer for Jay Bruce this year after you touch on the tragic murder of Benazir Bhutto. Have a travel blog? Read about chap stick! Have a quilting blog? Read about SARS! Have a skiing blog? Listen to a Joe Jackson song!

6. Do something different.

Create a post using only pictures. Hold a contest. Give something away to the “nth” person who comments. Invite your readers to ask you a question. Participate in a blog meme. Write a pros and cons list on a topic that is relevant for your audience. Write a post in your “alter ego” voice, contradicting a stance you would usually take. Create a poll. Write about a blog post that you had a strong reaction to.

Eschew words completely! Type up a blog post using only your flaccid penis! Offer to blow your commenters! Allow your readers to actually contact you! Do something stale as fuck that everyone else is doing! Write a list, even though we already said that! Break the Global Warming debate down using only hyeroglyphics and a Venn Diagram! Write a post as your neighbor's snake! Offer to trim your pubes with a '97 Ford Taurus timing belt on webcam! Really, the possibilities are endless.

7. Invite a guest author to write a blog post.

If you need a break on the writing front, why not ask another blogger to write a guest post? Another up-and-coming blogger will likely seize the chance to write for a new audience, and your regular readers will get a fresh perspective.

Because maybe you don't have an enormous following? Or maybe because this doesn't cure your blogger's block? Or maybe it's just because they probably would have started their own blogs (and, I mean, let's get serious...most already have) if they really wanted to write something. If someone really wanted to write something on my site, and they asked, do you really think I'd turn them down? Of course not. Unless it was a detailed breakdown of how I'm gay and like to touch kids or something like that. In that case I probably would not run it.

8. Step away from the computer.

Some of the best ideas come when you stop trying so hard. Spend an hour or two at the museum; catch the afternoon matinee; browse the magazine rack; or crack open a novel. Chances are good that you'll find yourself inspired when you do return to your desk.

Chances are that you HAVE A FUCKING JOB and can't do this. Hey boss, I'm going to step away from the office for a few hours so I can write about Sabre-Toothed Tigers. If anybody calls for me, tell them to fuck themselves as deeply as they can until I'm refreshed enough to talk to them.

9. Turn on the news.

We know: since you started blogging, you don't watch nearly as much television, but local and national news are a goldmine of topic ideas. Tune in and be inspired.

We know, we already told you to look at other sources, but hey, we never said they could be on TV. While you're at it, consider talking to actual people or listening to the radio. Also, if you just see something that interests you, write about that. If you are feeling considerably adventurous, try watching the news on different channels!

10. Keep an idea log.

Buy a cheap notebook and jot down ideas whenever they come to you. Carry it with you when you're riding the bus or sitting at the airport. Next time you can't think of anything to post about, all you'll have to do is turn to your own treasure trove of brilliance.

Don't call it a damn treasure trove. That sounds like something that is used to collect errant sperm shots at a porn studio. Next time you can't think of something to blog and can't remember what you just thought about 5 minutes ago on the bus, get yourself a gay little notebook and a frilly pen to write with. That way, you won't forget to write about how unclean homeless people are when you get back to your apartment.


Anonymous said...

Omg, that list. When anyone takes blogging THAT seriously.. no thanks. Your responses to it were golden, though. I love how people thing that people with blogs sit on their asses all day long writing for their blog. You have a job. I'm a full time student. like. What the fuck, crazy article? This is my shits and giggles, leave it alone.

I bet the guy who wrote the article has an amazingly shitty blogggg...

Symo said...

"Break the Global Warming debate down using only hyeroglyphics and a Venn Diagram!"

This I have to see...

Vern said...

Lori - I know. That apparently reads for grandmothers or something who have a relatively popular cooking blog and just sit around all day starved for dishes to write about. Oh, check that out. A pun.

Symo, damn it...now, according to Tip 1, I have to write about that.