A few weeks back, I sat down to write a blog post and the idea didn’t materialize. I reviewed for my editorial calendar and still came up empty. I went for a walk, came back, sat down, still...nothing.
This lasted for two weeks. I gotta admit, I started to panic. When I panic, I start researching - like my life depended on it. Desperately I combed the internet for anything that would jolt me out of my slump.
Here’s what I found and tried...
1. Skip It: Give yourself permission to not publish. The world won’t come to an end. You are making a commitment to quality; you don’t have to force it.
2. Blog Your Experiences: Stop theorizing and start describing your actual day-to-day experience. Creativity springs from doing. Your burnout could come from a lack of experiences to write about.
3. Venture Outside Your Niche: Sometimes your niche can turn into a rut. Maybe it’s time to take a mini-vacation with another topic.
4. Accept Guest Bloggers: Take the pressure off and give someone else the stage. Be careful to pick guest posters who match your philosophy and quality standards.
5. Write Shorter Posts: Write a 150 word zinger. Give your muse a breather with some short post writing.
6. Start Answering Questions: You don’t have to preach everyday. It’s cool to teach. Find some questions and answer them with short posts.
7. Change Your Medium: Explore podcasting or video blogging until you get your mojo back
8. Explore New Hobbies: Hobbies can help distract our brains and release it to find inspiration in new places. I picked up my electric guitar and immediately started making new connections. It works.
9. Change Your Environment: Blog from your back porch, the basement or a new coffee shop. A change in scenery can help focus you and nudge you back to productivity.
10. Speak to a Different Reader: Sometimes we get burned out talking to the same person post after post. Try this. Imagine a cynical, worldly, and whip-smart reader.
11. Connect Outrageously Different Themes: What does Cocoa-Puffs have to do with your topic? Can you connect Blowfish, a deadly Japanese delicacy, with a core theme in your niche? Think about it.
12. Join a forum: I started climbing out of my slump by hanging out in Third Tribe. I listened to an audio seminar, got an idea and was off to the races. Find an active forum in your niche and join it.
13. Join a Tweetchat: Tweetchats are a high-octane dose of inspiration. The most popular chat - #blogchat attracts hundreds of bloggers every week. Get the transcripts and see what creative ideas bubble to the surface.
14. Start disagreeing: It’s ok to disagree. Publicly defending your point of view will jumpstart your creative juices.
15. Concentrate on a Different Platform: Facebook requires you to use different mental muscles than blogging. Creating video for YouTube will force you to look at your content from a different point-of-view. Use these experiences to get you moving in the right direction again.
16. Hang Out with your Fanatics: Sometimes you need a little inspiration to get yourself back on track. A friendly crowd may be what you need to get your second wind.
17. Get Some Rest: You can’t create if you are exhausted. Get 12 hours of sleep. Lounge around. Give your brain the chance to recharge.
18. Eat Right: I used to eat like a 9 year old on Halloween night. As a result, I spend most of my time managing my see-saw energy level rather than exploring, questioning, and writing.
19. Exercise: I only run when chased. How about you? Here’s the painful truth, exercise ignites creativity. Crap.
20. Get into a Writing Habit: Habits harness your energy and short-circuits off procrastination. Creating a publishing habit puts your creativity on auto-pilot and lessens the chance you'll get crippled by burnout.
21. Method Blogging: Method Acting is the process of preparing for an acting role by immersing yourself in the life of the character. Method Blogging immerses the blogger in a new personae. The new personae gives you the freedom to break rules and come out your blog from a new angle. For example, how would John Grisham write your next blog post?
22. Expand on Past Topics: Review your past material for new insights. You may find unanswered questions and points you may have missed.
23. Mindmap: Visually map your past posts and look for topic holes you may have missed. Mindmapping a powerful way to see your topic from a new point-of-view.
24. Focus on Q&A: Answering reader questions is a productive way to work your way out of burnout while delivering solid value to your readers.
25. Guest Blog for Free: Write the posts you wish you’d see on other people’s blogs. Post these gems on your own blog. You might even get a new writing gig!
26. Write on Deadline: Get leverage on yourself by announcing your next 3 topics on your blog. The idea is to make it hard to back away from writing. This works for procrastinators and thrill junkies
28. Get Blog Topics: Chris Brogan offers some pre-packaged blog topics to juice your brainstorming process. Think of Brogan’s service as inspiration in a bottle. (By the way, Danny Brown also offers a Blog Topic service for Free)
29. Dive Into Your Community: Let your readers reinvigorate you. Invite readers to participate in a Tweet chat. Host a teleclass and answer questions for an hour. The give-and-take with your community can rejuvenate and break you out of your rut.
30. Establish a publishing routine: Get your brain used to creating and shipping new ideas. I discovered that my burnout started when I broke my regular writing and posting routine.
31. Narrow Your niche: Broad topics can be overwhelming. Try focusing on a small part of your niche. It will be easier for your brain to digest and transform into valuable material.
32. Look at your Traffic Logs: Review where your readers are hanging out on your site. Popular posts can point you in a new direction or prompt you to create a new product.
33. Write Sequels: Look at your most popular posts and see if they can be updated with new information.
34. Take Time Off: Everyone needs to back away from the keyboard and recharge their batteries.
35. Lighten Up: It’s your blog. The world won’t come to an end if you miss a day or a week. Sometimes the pressure of blogging can sap your motivation and inspiration.
36. Read Something Different: I love reading non-fiction. Lately, however, I’ve rediscovered fiction and have watched my passion for the “story” return.
37. Movie and Music Marathons: Go on a hunt for stories, plots, heroes, and villains. Discover a new band and immerse yourself in the music. A change a pace will jolt you.
38. Shut Down Your PC/Mac: Your computer is a tool. It’s not the inspiration. Staring at your computer screen, re-organizing your twitter lists, and rebuilding your facebook welcome tab won't pull you out of burn-out. Close down the technology and just think.
39. Start in the Middle of Your Post: I think some burned out bloggers are really just tired of the fighting with the blank page. Starting a post can be a nerve-wracking and exhausting task. Try starting your next post in the middle. Forget about the lead (for now) and just write what’s on your mind.
40. Change Your Post Type: You could be bored with your normal posting type. For example, I love the How-To post but recently found inspiration trying story posts.
41. Blog-Libbing: Take a word: Dogs now add “blog” - what does owning a dog have to do with blogging? Believe it or not this does work.
42. Write to a Monkey: Got this gem from 43folders. Write your next post to a stuffed animal. Surprisingly this works too.
43. Write Total Nonsense for 10 Minutes: Amazingly your brain will kick into gear and try to make sense of it all. It can’t help itself. Give it a try
44. Turn Writing into a Game: It's easy to spend hours concentrating on a game because it they combine a challenge with rewards. Create a goal for yourself, assign points, and reward yourself according to the points. For example, writing one post equals 10 points. Earn 30 points and reward yourself with an afternoon away from your blogging duties.
45. Dial 911 Writers Block: I know it’s about writers block but it works great for blogging burnout too!
46. Start Journaling: Break your normal habit of pounding out your prose via a keyboard - grab your moleskin and write old-school.
47. Meditate or Get a Massage: I believe that distraction is the root cause of burnout. We live in a frantic world that conspires to burn us out. Meditation and a little self-pampering quiets and re-centers your soul. This is the first step to rediscovering your mission.
48. Put your Subconscious to Work: This sounds woo-woo but think about a key question as you drift off to sleep. Don’t be surprised when you wake up with exactly the right solution.
50. Read the War of Art: Steven Pressfield’s amazing book is a master-course on creativity, purpose, and determination (Affiliate).