A question on Focus.com and the accompanying responses got my attention. Actually they got my attention because my name and the two posts I wrote about how I write were included in a response.
The question is how many blog posts do you have to write a week to keep your reader’s interested, but it is the writer’s confession that she has trouble coming up with two or three posts a week that really got my attention. I’ll leave it to the social media and inbound marketing experts to answer how many blog posts is enough. I’ll take a run at helping with the writing more frequently part.
If you have trouble coming up with a couple of posts a week, I believe that one of two things is true (or perhaps both are true).
You Are Discounting the Value of Your Ideas
You have ideas all of the time. You make observations. Some things strike you as being interesting. Some things strike you as particularly effective or insightful. Other things strike you as being ineffective or just plain wrong. Some things really drive you crazy.
You are all of the time making observations, and because you are human, you are also making judgments. Your observations, your judgments, and what you find compelling help to create your point of view.
If you struggle to come up with two or three ideas a week, I believe that it is a confidence issue. You haven’t killed your inner critic, and you are being far too judgmental about your own ideas and their ability to be useful, insightful, persuasive, or entertaining to other people.
Ask anyone who writes a blog regularly and they will tell you that the post that they believed to be a throwaway post is the post that generated the most comments, replies, emails, and phone calls. Their more thoughtful posts, the posts that they believed to be the best work and to contain the most important ideas, are sometimes all but ignored.
The truth of the matter is that you don’t get to determine the value that others derive from your ideas. What you believe isn’t worthy of a blog post is a post that someone else needs you to write. More still, because everything you write is being indexed for search and retrieval, the people that need your idea can find it when they need it.
But the people that need your ideas can only find them if you actually write and share them.
You Haven’t Really Committed to Writing
Writing is a discipline. It takes a serious commitment. It also takes a process that enables you to keep your commitment.
If you want to make it easier to write, commit to writing and commit to a process.
For me, the process includes capturing ideas in real time, writing an editorial calendar, and then rising at 5:15 AM to write. I haven’t found a better time to write than very early in the morning. No one wants your time at 5:30 AM, and your mind isn’t yet distracted by what the world will later demand of you as it wakes up.
No matter what else happens, make and keep the commitment to just sit down and start writing. Don’t be judgmental, and don’t do the editorial work you can do later. Just start writing, and keep writing until you have reached whatever amount of time to which you have committed.
Like any other discipline, it is difficult at the beginning, but it gets easier the longer you learn to keep that commitment.
What If You Need Help With Ideas?
I am not going to argue that what someone else believes to be their own truth and their own reality isn’t valid (even though I believe that the lack of ideas is really a lack of confidence and a lack of having assassinated your inner critic that lead to not having ideas for a couple posts). If you really believe that you can’t come up with a couple of ideas a week, here are some prompts:
What are the ten things you would explain to someone who wants to learn about your industry in order to give them a reasonable, layman’s understanding?
What advice would you give someone who is considering entering your profession or field? (Write down the title for ten posts that start with “A Letter to a Young __________.”)
What are the obstacles that prevent your clients from succeeding when they purchase what you sell? What are the necessary catalysts or enablers that allow buyers to really succeed in getting the outcome they need when they purchase what you sell? (There are literally fifty posts in these two topics alone. Make the lists)
What are the things that drive you crazy and that you believe should be changed about your field, your profession, or the way your product or service is usually used by your clients?
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