Recently, I hopped on Facebook and asked you guys if you had any questions about my blogging world. One reader, Anung, asked me, “How do you manage to come up with new topics, stay motivated and be so consistent in your writing?” He also finished it off with a very polite, thank you. What a guy! Anung, this a really great question!
I’ve struggled a lot with writing and consistently creating good-quality content, but I’ve found ways to overcome it and now my life is a lot easier. Today, I wanted to share all of this with you. If you’re a blogger and have any tips of your own, please share them in the comments below. The more we all know, the stronger we all are! So, don’t be stingy with ya knowledge sharing!
Also, if you have any other questions for me, please let me know. I’d love to hear what they are so I can see if I can turn them into resources for you, like this one. I’ve started a whole new ‘For Bloggers’ section on the site, which I’m hoping to fill up with practical insight.
Inspiration is the key to motivation
You’ve got to find what inspires you, because that will help you stay motivated. Make sure you’re writing about something you genuinely love and are passionate about, that’s going to make the actual writing part easier for you. It’s also important you’re very clear on what your niche is. Understanding your niche takes the guess work out of creating content and keeps your work consistent. It builds familiarity and reliability for your readers.
I also find it’s easier to be consistent in my writing when I’m happy. If I’m sad or having a rough week, my writing and motivation suffer. So make sure you look after yourself, physically, emotionally and mentally. If you need more tips on how to improve your blog writing, read this guide. Remember, play to your strengths and write about things you enjoy writing about.
Dealing with Bloggers Block
Bloggers block is 100% totally and completely real. I’ve struggled with it very badly in the past and, even now, still have days where my mind goes blank and I can’t write. I feel frustrated, anxious and like I’m letting my readers down. It’s a pretty nasty feeling. But I’m here to tell you this; don’t worry about it, guys! It’s totally normal and it happens with everything in life. We go through cycles and sometimes that means it’s hard for us to do certain things. So what? Life goes on and the world won’t end because you didn’t post on your blog.
The first step to dealing with bloggers block is to give yourself a break. So what, you can’t write for a week? Give yourself a week off to recharge and reset. Listen to your mind, it’s trying to tell you something. Then, find some inspiration and get back into it. The more you beat yourself up over it, the worse you feel, so just chill out.
If you fail to plan, you plan to fail
This next point was a huge turning point for me. I never used to have a set structure about what I would write. I’d take a trip, let’s say to Sydney, and then I’d just write about whatever came into my mind. This lack of structure caused havoc, because sometimes I couldn’t think of what to write about for Sydney and when I pulled a blank, I’d freak out.
So, I sat down and worked out key things I wanted to always have on my blog. I decided I wanted usable, practical guides and broke these resources down into regular blog post categories, which you see on the blog now. They are: What to pack, Where to stay, How to get there, Must-try food, Things to do, Know before you go and reviews. These are the foundation of Little Grey Box.
Having this structure makes it easy for me. When I’m in a location, I’m constantly gathering intel for these posts, most of the time without even realising it. I’m photographing food, thinking about essential must-pack items, taking note of things to do etc. When I get home, I choose one and write it. Like, “Oh, I ate so much good food in Canggu, that really stuck out to me. I’ll write my guide on must-try food in Canggu today.” I’ve already got the knowledge and photographs, I don’t need to think about it, I just need to pull all that together.
Create a rock-solid structure and follow it
My blog may look pretty chilled out, from the outside, but it’s supported by a well-defined structure. Sticking to this takes pressure off me and means I don’t have to over-think things.
I made the decision to post on the blog Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, giving myself Friday’s off. I also know I like to get my posts up between 12 midday and 2pm. I’ve got all my tags and categories set up and a clear structure for how I lay out each and every blog post. I keep things on-brand by sticking to this. When it comes time to put together a blog post, I don’t need to think about how I lay it out, what I title it, how many images to use, what to tag it etc, I just follow the structure.
Seeing the bigger picture of your site and understanding how you want people to navigate around it helps with this. I want people to come to my site and look at their next destination, gaining access to a wealth of really helpful resources. Knowing this, means everything I create aligns with this intention. I’ve got my mind on my structure and my structure on my mind!
I don’t mess around, I get down to business!
There’s no sugar-coating it, at some point you’ve got to get your act together and just write. I have an electronic post-it note on my computer of my usual blog post topics (the ones I mentioned above) and all the places I’ve ever visited, new and old. When I sit down to write and nothing springs to mind, I pick a destination and a topic and I just write it. Some days it’s hard, but you’ve got to grind through it.
Once I’m done, I don’t sit around questioning whether what I’ve written is good enough, funny enough or helpful enough. I just write the content, follow my set structure, then post it. As long as I’ve followed my structure, I know it’ll be fine. Then, I move on to the next.
Some days I might write three or four blog posts and save them as drafts. It usually takes me around 30 minutes to an hour to write a blog post like this one. Putting together ‘must try food’ and ‘things to do’ takes longer, because I have to find website links. Having a good back-up supply of drafts will save your butt on those days when you absolutely cannot write anything.
I’ll also say this, the MORE you write, the EASIER it becomes. You just kind of go on auto-pilot, like when you get in your car to drive home from work and suddenly you’re at home, with no clear memory of the entire drive.
Keeping up with the consistency
I find the consistency thing comes pretty easy because I’ve grown confident and comfortable with my writing. I trust myself to write in my natural voice, the one I can hear in my head right now as I’m typing this! Doing that means I never really have to think too much about the words, I just let it flow and it seems to come out pretty much the same every time. Relying on my structure and those set topics also means I achieve consistency on the site.
Freedom of expression
So I’ve spoken a lot about structure and process, but I also allow myself to find joy in my writing. I realised over the last few months that it was really missing from my blogs, that it had all gone a bit too business and lost a little bit of heart.
I’m allowing myself to have fun with it again by sharing My Travel Stories, which I absolutely LOVE doing. I’m also sharing these new pieces just for bloggers and adding a bit more personality to my reviews, making them less ‘strict facts’ and incorporating a personal, storytelling element to them. Adding that heart back into everything helps me stay focused and inspired. Doing the same for your blog may help you too!
Alright, I better wrap this all up into a nice summary, so I don’t bake your noodle with too much information.
Step back from your blog and see the bigger picture. Decide the kind of content you want to create and develop a clear structure you can rely on and write to, consistently. Trust your inner-voice and write simply, from the heart. Don’t over-think things. Work to the process and, once you’ve followed it, publish your post and move on to the next. Write more and develop a few back-up draft posts. Find ways to incorporate things that bring you joy and don’t be afraid to give yourself a break if you need it. Remember, if something isn’t fun for you, you won’t want to do it, so focus your attention on the positive aspects and let that grow.
Phoebe Lee is a travel writer and award-winning blogger who believes life should be full of fun and adventure. Phoebe shares practical inspiration to help others enrich their lives through travel. Her fun Vlogs, useful travel guides and beautiful photographs are all aimed at inspiring others to live a life they love and never settle for less.