You can beat writer’s block (Yes, you can)

I have not published a blog for four weeks – four weeks! A farce, a failure — an injustice to my many fans! This is despite my belief that regular communication through blogging is essential for all who wish to be known as thought leaders in their fields. The act of filing a post reminds your readers that at least you are there, and perhaps that you have something interesting to say. Taking a break, as I did, sends the wrong message.

A couple of things contributed to my cessation. First, I was busy writing a lot of other stuff. Second, I ran out of ideas for awhile.

I don’t think I’m alone in using either as an excuse. However, as a professional writer, I hold myself to a higher standard. I’m not just any stiff who thinks he can write, only to walk away when finding the going rougher than imagined.

Basically, I didn’t follow the ideas that I regularly espouse:

  1. Spend time brainstorming ideas.
  2. Plan your own editorial blogging calendar.

How to generate ideas

Sometimes all you need to do is expend some brainpower to come up with decent blog topics. I read a fair amount about writing and language in the popular press and trade journals. Much of it has to do with higher education, the profession in which I work. It’s amazing how often a professor or college administrator does something outrageous to abridge a student’s right to an opinion or, alternately, an institution sounds ridiculous while massaging language to avoid insulting students and others. There is plenty to write about in this realm. You can find plenty to write about, too, by reminding yourself to tuck away ideas that appear while talking to others, reading, or even watching the news on TV.

I also admit that as much as I hate to plan ahead, developing an editorial calendar forces me to, well, to plan ahead. In the end, it’s a good thing. I recently sat myself down and come up with this calendar of blogs for the coming month:

First blog: How to keep on schedule. (You’re reading it now.)

Second: Recent college graduates teach us to talk about subjects we usually avoid discussing. This is based on a performance I saw at the university where I work.

Third: Nuanced meaning and understanding apply even to words like “genocide.” This comes from another university that, happily for me, is embroiled in controversy.

Four: Writing for women. This is sure to be a fan favorite. I’ve tried it out in small venues.

One more thing

I will conclude with this advice: There are worse things than missing a few weeks of your blog. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Just don’t let it happen again.

About Paul

I grew up in Marin County, California, and moved to Connecticut to join The News-Times, a community newspaper in Danbury where I eventually served as editor for 10 years. I joined Western Connecticut State University and ran the PR and development offices. I now serve as director of community relations and public affairs. I have four kids, all with the same wife, and now run Writing Associates, a consulting service that makes writing easier for my clients.