Shownotes: Today’s podcast will look at writer’s block and what can be done to significantly reduce this challenge for bloggers, writers and podcasters by as much as 99%.
Interested? Listen to the podcast to learn how you too can have an ocean of content for your blog.
Writer’s Block Be Gone!
Alvern: Hello ladies. Alvern here. Today we’re going to look at how to never experience writer’s block again.
I know that sounds like a really big claim. As you know by now I do podcasts as well as blogging.
I’ve been doing that for probably 10 years now. I have a bit of experience when it comes to blogging, and maybe I’m gifted.
I doubt it very much, but there are always ideas rolling around in my head. For those of us whenever you experience a block.
A writer’s block, it can be very difficult as to what you need to write next. Sometimes it takes me 15 minutes to write good details in words.
This is because it’s just rolling, and rolling, but for those days where you just need a little bit of help to really give a rich, valuable content, you may want to adapt or adopt.
These are a few methodologies. I have here eight of them, and I’m hoping I’ll cover them within the 20 minutes that we have allocated. I promise not to rush.
I’ll have to do it again or divide it into two sections, which I know you probably don’t like, but we’ll see how it goes. Okay so let’s get talking.
First, on the list is having a good mindset. My thinking behind this is as you can imagine for someone like me who I have to produce a podcast every single week.
If I want it to be successful I need to adopt a certain mindset. Even if I decide I want to blog even. That mindset is I have to get it done.
I can not give up. I have to get it done. I started this journey, and I wouldn’t stop until I die sort of a thing.
It depends on where you are right now in your journey. We, women, have all sorts of things happening in our lives.
Could be your children, or partners, or careers, whatever that may be, family situations, stress, all of that. It depends on where you are right now, and what goals you have written down.
I guess what I’m trying to say is make sure you have set a goal. You start with the end in mind and say okay. Especially when it comes to mindset.
This is what I want to achieve in two years, three years, five years, 10 years time. This is what I want to achieve. I set the goal.
So say for example I said I want to have a podcast series with 200 shows in it. Yeah. Podcast with 200 posts, or 200 podcasts.
Interchangeable these phrases, but you get what I mean. You set that goal. Altogether 200 podcasts, or say 500 podcasts.
If I do the calculation with it being once a week, it will take me roughly 10 years to 500 podcasts.
Now, that could be a very long time, but I need to pace myself in the very beginning and say I’m going to do it once a week.
In order to increase that amount of time. Say five years I need to be doing podcasts twice a week, and I have to ask myself do I have time twice a week to do a podcast? Yeah.
Within that goal setting you’ve developed this long-term strategy of where you want to be, and in six months time, 12 months time, 24 months time, etc.
Make sure it’s something that is sustainable. You can be talking about something that’s a fad. Trying to think of a really good example.
I don’t want to say something that would actually not be a fad. Let’s see. What was a fad a few years ago that is no longer in existence now?
Maybe you could have written something like … Oh, it just came to my mind, and it just totally went. That wraps every … Of course all the photos.
Something that’s temporary. Something that you know that probably wouldn’t be in existence for a pretty long time to come.
Like the hat for example. Vines. Those videos. If you want to write about Vines for a long time to come, especially when it’s something that just came, and now it’s no longer in existence then it’s not something sustainable.
You think long term. People have to eat. Weddings are always going to be happening. People have to put clothes on their bodies to get dressed, etc. But you get the idea what I mean.
Next stop, is passion. There’s no point starting a blog, or a podcast, or any kind of long-term plan, or goal if it is something that you’re not passionate about.
Ask yourself this particular question. What exactly are you passionate about? Is it I don’t know, clothes? Shoes? Foods? Just the basics, because you can embellish the basics.
You can niche down whatever the basics are, for example, food. You get several different niches.
You can do recipes, you can do salads, you can do soups, and then each of those still even broken down into different sub-niches.
For example, soups you have chowders, cream soups, all the base soups, chunky soups. The list can go on, but you get what I mean.
What are you passionate about, and a really broad level, and then you can niche down in that area. What it is …
Okay, you might think oh, I’m passionate about this, but do you enjoy doing it in the long term?
If not, then maybe it’s not something you want to pursue. It has to be an addition of … A combination should I say of passion, and talent in order for it to work for you long term.
Ask yourself the question what do you enjoy doing, and then what it is that you do on a regular basis that doesn’t feel like work?
For example, for me I like podcasts. This doesn’t feel like work. It feels like I’m talking to a really good friend, and giving them advice about something that I am passionate about.
If you feel that you can talk to a friend about that thing that you’re passionate about every single weekday, and day out for the next five, 10 years.
Maybe it’s something that you are passionate about, and of course, you want to do research and keep ahead of the times.
Example, podcast, and the technology behind it, and stuff, or for example I talk about writing.
People will always continue to write until obviously probably be taken over by robots. Robots are writing on our behalf, and that would be very strange, but anyway I’m going off topic.
I need to stay focused. All right so that is mindset, passion, and then skill. What are your talents?
What are you talented at doing? So you might have been qualified to get a degree, or you are trained in a certain area. For example, nursing, or doctor, or teacher, or mechanic.
What it is that you are passionate about. What it is you can do with your eyes closed day in, and day out, and what can you take away from that, and add it to your passion?
What can you teach others? What are you good at? Ask yourself these questions.
Of course, the reason why I am asking that is all of these would actually … Once you have that bit down, it will reduce your writer’s block by almost 99 per cent, and I’ll tell you later why 99 per cent.
Next up. Once you’ve sat down, and thought about those questions I would like you to get out a piece of paper, or even a book. It might take you a book to write all of this.
Brainstorm about those areas that you’re passionate about. Those things that you’re talented in.
Those things that you can teach others. Stuff that you can enjoy doing without having to get bored.
Stuff that doesn’t feel like work. Really brainstorm. Brainstorm even if it’s the stuff that you’re brainstorming is not really to teach at all. It doesn’t seem to really teach others.
Brainstorm on pages, and pieces of paper. Just keep going until you run out of ideas.
Once you’ve done that I’d like you to break down the words that you’ve written down in the brainstorm, take each one that is a high level and break it down even further.
So for example, you write the word food. On the next piece of paper take that one word, and then break down into even smaller niches for more of a better word.
Put the word food, and then you write down things like stuff that you’re passionate about or interested, or talented in.
Say for example you’re a chef, and you’ve got the food like all chefs. All cooks have favourite things they like to cook.
So you have the food, and you decide okay, things that I like to do are desserts, starters, main courses, or whatever it is, and then I want you to break that down even further.
Keep doing that until you’ve exhausted that one word, and all that focus word. Then go back to the original piece of paper where you’ve initially brainstorm, and take another major word.
Say for example you wrote down cars. You had an interest in cars. Take that, and put it on another sheet of paper, and then brainstorm. What do you know about cars?
Maybe it’s luxury cars, or racing cars, whatever it is, and then break it even further until you’ve exhausted everything related to that word cars.
As you can imagine this can take you probably a whole day, or a whole week to get done.
Keep doing that until there is nothing left on the original piece of paper where you’ve done your initial brainstorm. All right. Once you’ve done that. Accomplish that little task.
I want you to group the ideas together. The first example of the word food, you might have written down more … You might see a pattern. Let’s just go to pattern. You’d see a pattern of things that you’d write on.
Maybe more things, more recipes, or ideas around soups for example. You might have food, and you might have soups, and desserts, and all that, and you recognise that piece of paper brings only about food that you can actually group ideas together.
Say, for example, 30 per cent of what you wrote down were recipes related to desserts, or main courses, or whatever it is.
Group those ideas together on that piece of paper. All right. Now I’m not saying that you shouldn’t write about anything outside of your passion, and talent, but this helps you to get started in that area. Once you’ve done that. You’ve grouped the ideas together.
What I’d like you to do then is to … Now, the reason why I’m going to ask you to do this I’ll explain in a second.
What I want you to do is, for the ones that you feel … Say, for example, you would probably end up between three, and five main strong passion points that you can teach others about, and what I’d like you to do then is to go, and do some niche research.
5. Niche Research
Now as you remember if you’ve been listening to my podcast I covered a niche research over a three week period.
If you can go back, and do that. Take a look at your original focus, and look on those sites that I’ve mentioned like Amazon, and have a look, and see what is happening around that strong passion, or strong talent that you want to teach others about.
The reason why you’re doing this niche research is to see what part of your idea can be commercialised or can make you money.
Which one of those three to five areas, or maybe 10 areas have monetary, or commercial … What’s the word I’m looking for? Commercial correlation.
You want to see if it is … Say for example you wrote about soups. You want to go in, or maybe specific things.
Like chowder, or chunky varied soups. You want to go, and see if there are any blogs. People blogging about it. If there are books being written on it.
If their video courses on it. Obviously check on youtube as well. What you want to see is if there’s a commercial market out there for that particular, or those particular ideas.
You do that for the three to five, or maybe 10 areas that you’ve found from your brainstorming, and in the end, you’re going to find probably three of them that would be the ones to go for.
Once you’ve completed that lit research what you’re going to be doing now is the ones that you feel very strongly about.
Doing your niche research best make sure you write about all of the different ideas. Looking at reviews on Amazon, and all the different areas.
Especially those that I mentioned about the lit research that we covered in the previous blog post Writing as much as possible your observations.
Say for example one of the key things you want to look at if you go to Amazon, and you see, for example, people selling soup makers.
Think that was something, but what is so popular now? What are reviews like? What’s interest- … For example, you go in, and you see one product that has 1,500 reviews, which to me would be shocking.
Well, maybe it isn’t so shocking. 1,500 reviews, and you look at all of the company products on that one page.
Position one, position two, the best seller in the soup areas to see what are reviews like. What are people looking for? See if it’s something that you can relate to, and write about.
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6. Mind Mapping
Next up, once you have all of this information, and feedback, and read all your observations, what I would like you to do then is to do a mind mapping exercise.
There is this software that I use called XMind. I think it’s really, really good. It really helps me with all of my content creation.
You don’t have to use XMind. You can use a different one. This one is free. I don’t pay for it. You just download it on your laptop, and you can even have it on your mobile phone, which is amazing. What you do is you download it to your laptop.
When you open it you just select a new blank map, and it’s very, very intuitive, but just in case you don’t you just on a new mind map you put in the key area that you’re focusing on.
It could be chowders for example, and then you map out … It’s like an outline of what it is that you want to write about.
One of the ways to do that is you start with the end in mind. Okay. I want you to imagine in your head that whatever you want to write, and what may be to blog, or whatever it is, you start with the end goals.
Normally, if you’ve ever written a book before you have the table of contents, which you would normally put last. What I’m asking you to do now is to put it … To write out your table of contents first.
You have the preface for example, or if it’s a blog you’re writing, you can write a summary of what you’re going to write on the blog or blog series.
Then write a summary as well as a checklist I guess would be the word I’m looking for.
A checklist of what you’re going to include in that blog. Go back to the book example, because the book example will really, really help you.
Even if you’re writing a blog to map out a table of contents. So imagine your podcast, or your blog is a book, and you’re actually going to write a book.
Let’s just call it a booklet, but the very first few pages will have your table of contents. You’re just going to divide up your presentation or talk, or podcast, or blog into chapters.
Then for each paragraph in those chapters, you’re going to write what it is you’re going to write about in those paragraphs, or pages.
Each chapter has pages. What are you going to cover in each section or each page? Okay?
You’re starting with the end in mind, and you’re visualising you pick up this book, and you’re going to read it.
You don’t know what’s going to be included, but you’re going to start with the table of contents first.
Once you start with that, and you outline it you stick that in your mind map, then you’d have your central area. It’s very hard to explain on a podcast, but one of these days I’m going to do a course.
A video course on how to map this out. Then you have each map. You map each chapter back to the core of that actual course itself.
Really, really hoping you understand what I’m going, but I think you probably need to play with the XMind software just to get your head around how this works.
What I have probably six months of content mapped out for my podcast for the next six months using XMind.
If you normally use another piece of software for your mind mapping please feel free to use that instead.
7. Read Frequently
I’m really hoping that that helped you understand what needs to be accomplished. If you’re going to write on something on an unfamiliar topic.
You have probably 30 per cent knowledge about it, one of the things that you can do to beef up that knowledge is reading other bloggers in that niche. Reading other books on Kindle.
Say for example you’re going to write something about emotional intelligence. I personally have zero knowledge of emotional intelligence.
Can I write about it? Am I really passionate, and interested in it? I know, sort of, roughly what it’s about, but will I ever write about it?
I don’t know, but if someone asked me to write about it. First thing I will have to do for example if I’m doing a college course, and they’re teaching emotional intelligence.
Just like college girls that’ll have to go, and do my research, read up on it, and it’s the same thing. I’m asking you to do to eliminate 99 per cent of your writer’s block.
You’ll get out your Kindle, read up different books on it so you don’t have to actually go to the store, and pick up the heavy book, or have it posted out to you.
You can download any Kindle. There’s this really clever app that I discovered the last year, or so. Maybe less. I can’t remember now.
Called Blinkist. I’ll spell that. It’s B L I N K I S T. It’s similar to Kindle, except the books are in … Well, you have it in written format, but it’s also available in audio format.
If it is you’re going for an afternoon walk, or walking the dog, or cycling, or driving the car you may want to consume that book using the audio version of it.
You can also obviously read regular books like physical, paper books, paperback books, and you can also spend time reading blogs.
Blogs are quite easy because they’re very current. Just in case you need to write something that you’re not familiar with, but do remember like I said, start with the end in mind.
8. Table of Contents
Start with the table of contents. Break it down into all the different sections, or chapters, or sections, or subheadings, or whatever it is.
Then even break it down further in that … Say if you’re writing a paragraph about … I’m trying to think of something different about getting your car ready for winter, for example, is your topic. In that overall blog heading, and then in that, you have subheadings called winter ready tyres.
Tools to carry around in case snowfall, or whatever it is, and then break it down even further.
In the winter ready tyres, you probably have to break it down even further to say brands available, where to buy them, that kind of a thing.
When you break it down that really, really, really, really granular level the chances of you experiencing writer’s block is very minimum.
The reason why I said 99 per cent is because there are things that happen in your life like a sick child, or death of someone in your family, or something that would upset you that would cause you to still have an element of writer’s block, which is fine.
But if it’s only 1 per cent of the time that’s not a big deal compared to the rest of the time. 99 per cent where you don’t have writer’s block.
Just in case you have not started writing yet or hoping to start a new blog. Learn how to start a blog in 10 days or less here.
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Another clever way to overcome any writer’s block challenges is to go and look at possible questions your readers will be asking.
A great place to find these questions is using a tool called Answer The Public. All you need to do is to enter a possible topic of keyword and you will get back 20+ questions that is being asked on that topic.
Quora is also a brilliant place to find questions asked by real people. You also have the added benefit of seeing what other people have given as answers.
One quirky place to find possible questions is on Amazon product reviews. People are always asking questions before making a purchase so go and have a look.
Go and visit a forum or your competitors knowledge base to find questions that have commonly asked around certain products and/or services.
You will be surprised how this nifty trick will fill up your content calendar for many days to come. You would probably need to outsource your writing to keep up with the many suggestions.
All right. I think I’ve covered everything. Let me just double check, and yeah. I really hope you found this helpful, and that you would have a 99 per cent decrease in your writer’s block going forward, and don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast. They have several options available.
Until next time ladies, enjoy the rest of your day, and the rest of your week. Bye for now.
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Alvern is an avid blogger for 10 years and the host of the Success Unscrambled podcast.
Read Alvern’s inspiring story from her eye-opening experience 3 years ago to becoming a Blogger and Podcaster with a dream to reduce illiteracy among women.