Writing does look easy!
But ask any writer – however much they love to write, it can be a bumpy journey.
And if you’re a blogger with a post (or 10) to write, the struggles can sometimes make you forget the Joy of Blogging.
So, in my role as Ambassador for Joy, Flow & Ease in the creative process, I’ve collated a few of my favourite creativity coaching techniques – especially for my fellow bloggers.
MAKE-IT-EASY PREP WORK
Keep a notebook or file of ideas.
Whenever ideas occur to you, write them down as soon as possible,
Inspiration often strikes at unusual times, so to make sure you don’t lose these gems, acquire the habit of making notes.
Use whatever you have to! (Napkins are a notorious favourite of millionaires… ;-))
If it’s inconvenient or feels like a chore, be motivated by how easy it will make your writing process.
I find the Notes app on my phone is usually the most convenient and close-to-hand, as well as a physical notebook and pencil at home. I then transfer my notes to the relevant homes in Evernote.
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Sow the seed
Give your blog post some calm, relaxed attention, as early as possible.
Just begin pondering it a few days before you plan to begin writing.
Jot the title or a few words down on the blank page a few days before you need to start, and pin it to your board or wall.
In the days before you plan to begin, write the blog title or idea on a sticky note and put it where you’ll see it before you go to sleep.
You could also keep a note on the dashboard of your car – driving is a great time to ponder new ideas.
(Just make sure you pull over safely if you need to write things down!)
If you’re heading out for a run/walk/workout etc – write down the blog title and keep it in your pocket.
Physical exercise can be very inspiring, so make you have your notebook ready for the downloads.
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When you’re ready to sit down and begin writing…
Explore your notes
Hopefully, you’ve already got some notes and ideas to begin with. Just explore these to see which ones naturally grow and evolve. If any feel difficult or confusing, move onto the next.
Build on your notes, adding any new thoughts and developing your favourite ideas.
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Create a mind map
Mapping out key points or the intended structure of the blog can help you stay on track and keep your writing clear.
However, if you feel inspired to go off in another direction, go with it. If ever the words come pouring – don’t stop them!
Then afterwards, you can assess whether the new material is relevant, or perhaps for a different post.
Use your mind map to check back in to see if the new ideas fit with the original intention.
If they don’t add to the clarity or flow of the blog you’re working on, file them for later use. (You may have just written the next blog post instead!)
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First draft first
To get words onto a blank page – just focus on producing a first draft.
Aim to simply get the words out of your head onto the page – in any order.
Don’t worry about structure – that will emerge as you review your notes and ideas.
You can polish and edit and refine once the core material is in place.
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Writing is essentially a two-part process of downloading ideas, then refining them.
It can feel like a struggle to do both tasks at once, but there are different techniques of switching between the two modes.
Writers vary – some like to do nothing but composition for a long time, then edit days later.
Others like to switch back and forth between the two modes as they go along.
Experiment with which method feels right for you.
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If you feel stuck or run out of ideas…
You can often bypass your resistance by using sentence prompts such as:
I want to write about…
If I knew what to write, I’d write about…
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Try changing your location, working in a different environment. If possible, choose somewhere inspiring, beautiful of refreshing.
Moving your body also helps to boost your creativity.
Can you take a break for a short walk or a few yoga poses?
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Lights & sounds
To stay calm and inspired as you write, play some music designed to enhance the creative process. (Spotify is great for these kind of playlists.)
If you love candles, keep one on your desk and light it as a symbolic gesture that you are ready for some focused creative work.
It can also serve as a meditative focal point when you need to think through an idea or phrase. (Gazing out of the window is also great for this.)
Take a breath
If you feel yourself getting frustrated with your writing, just take a few moments to close your eyes and breathe deeply.
When you focus back on your work, you’ll have a clearer head and feel less of that creativity-sapping frustration.
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Whenever you hit a block or feel confused about what you’re writing, a great trick is to stop for a few minutes and have a short tidy-up.
Clear the papers on your desk or tidy your workspace.
Doing a mundane task that you can do on auto-pilot gives your mind a chance to rest and percolate ideas.
And creating physical order can lead to clarity, helping you find more order in your writing.
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Use your sleeping mind
If you can, review your notes/draft before you go to sleep, with the intention that your subconscious mind will take over and work on it.
You’ll be amazed by the new ideas that ‘mysteriously’ pop into your head the next day.
You may even wake up with the perfect phrase or structure – so make sure you have a notebook by your bed.
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You’ve written your first draft, you’ve edited and polished – but it’s still not quite finished.
Here’s what to do to get that blog post ready for the world…
Leave & return
When you leave a piece of writing and return to it later, it’s much easier to see any muddled sections or clunky passages.
After working so closely and intently, we get word blind and don’t see inconsistencies or glaring errors.
So, your writing will always be better for a rest.
When possible, plan to finish at least the day before the deadline so you can sleep on it.
(This also trains you to not leave things to last-minute which is stressful and saps the joy from the creative process.
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Know when to stop
This is tricky! We naturally want to keep tinkering.
But there comes a point when we need to let the work go and do its work in the world.
Practice tuning into your intuition for help with this. Is that inner voice urging you to make some vital improvements? Or are you just resisting the decision to stop?
This is a difficult skill for all creatives, so go easy on yourself and be prepared to practice and gradually get to used to knowing what’s right for you.
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Get a second opinion
Ask someone else to take a look at your writing. They’ll spot things you’ve missed.
They may also have some suggestions that inspire you to make the post even better.
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Rescue your darlings
As you edit your posts, get in the habit of keeping any of the good writing that you cut.
It may not have been right for that particular blog post, but it could find a home elsewhere.
It may even spark a whole new post of its own. (I’ve written a blog post about this idea if you’d like to explore more.)
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Hopefully these tips will support and inspire you with your next blog post, as well as make it ever-easier to create further posts in future.
(Because relaxed, calm and happy bloggers make for better blogs. 😉 )
PS I’ve got a whole series of these Make-It-Easy tips for the many aspects of the creative process.
So, if you’d like to find more joy, flow and ease in your creative adventures, sign up for my Tonics For the Creative Spirit email series.