It dawned on me a few days ago that I actually have blogger’s block.
I just can’t actually work out what I want to write about, or what I even should write about.
Since September 1st, I’ve published three blog posts on here, which is, wait for it… UNPRECEDENTED. In October alone last year I wrote 14. I couldn’t even think of anything to write for my recent birthday, and usually I love a nostalgic look back at the previous year, and what I’ve learned.
I have 66 half-written blog posts in the drafts on here – none of which really feel like they’re ‘reading the room’ in terms of the fact we’re not really meant to be travelling right now. Anyone want a 3-day Paris itinerary I half put together once, or how about some art festivals, or to know how to have a great time in Alonissos in Greece?
Yeah, thought not.
For the first time in the almost nine years since I set up my blog, I don’t really know what to write.
Why the blogger’s block?
1. The metaphorical cage we’re all in
I mean, a global pandemic that means as a British person I’m only allowed to approximately 8 countries right now could have something to do with it.
I’m literally just sitting at home, possibly leaving the house for about two hours a day. My life isn’t particularly exciting and so I feel I have nothing to write about. I know I need to adapt and get creative.
It’s difficult to plan adventures when you can’t even plan to see your friends up north next week.
2. Who even am I?
As I’ve researched and worked on my new site, Day Out in England, I’ve learned there’s definitely a theory to blogging. And one of the main things I’ve learned is that to write on a topic – like ‘days out in England’ – is much better for your blog rankings and views than just an all-round ‘here’s where I’ve travelled recently’ kinda vibe.
Which is what I’m doing here.
When I first started blogging I wrote about travelling with a full time job, then it was heart break travel, then I was a digital nomad, then, I was working out what it was like to come home, and now… I dunno. I just sort of go on a few holidays and write about them – what’s my vibe?
Too much time to think and too much free time has paradoxically stilted me.
3. The comparison
I know this is bad, but I just kinda feel like everything has been done.
Travel blogging is SO competitive now. I mean, we’re all friends IRL, but to get the top Google spots is just crazily hard. Travel bloggers all seem to be writing about the same thing, but… better than me.
4. What I ‘should’ be doing
Knowing what I should be doing is weighing me down, and causing this blogger’s block.
I have 777 posts on here – about 700 of which need updating and revamping. The thought genuinely twists my mind. That’s at least 1400 hours work, but the blogger gurus tell me that’s what needs to be done.
TBH I’ve spent a lot more time thinking about it, than actually doing it.
The courses, the Facebook groups, the comparison, the theory, the algorithms, the spreading myself too then – it’s all GOT TOO MUCH.
5. Worry about the future
I’m like a rabbit in the headlights – the glare blinding me, threatening to destroy it all, and I don’t know which way to turn, or what to do, and so I’m kinda stuck.
Should I retrain like the government wants me to? Ride out the storm like my closest travel blogger friends suggest? Be sensible, find a job and accept that it’s time to move on? Or lie in bed reading the news waiting for it to blow over?
I seem to have gone for a mix – which is taking up serious headspace, causing bloggers block, and not really getting me anywhere.
How to cure blogger’s block
Since I realised my malady, a few days ago, I’ve read a few articles on both bloggers’ block, and writers block. I wanted to share what I’ve learned, to help you, and to get my thoughts in order.
1. Remember why you’re blogging
I set this up on February 1st 2012 to:
A) Learn about blogging
B) Share my travels
My blog was never meant to be a commercial thing, like it’s become. I now obviously need to make some casheesh off it, but maybe I need to go back to my ‘why’. This seems to be a theme in beating bloggers block, as you’ll see.
I wanted to learn, to be creative and to share. Not to be the top of Google with some article I didn’t enjoy writing but felt I had to.
2. Freshen yourself up
The blogging gurus suggest that to cure blogger’s block, you freshen it all up. And by ‘it all’ I mean, your workspace, yourself, and your blog.
I’ve actually just given this blog a refresh – after having the same design for six years – so that’s off the list of things I can do to procrastinate instead of writing. Thought the suggestion might help you though.
My workspace at home is actually pretty sweet, but after six months there I’m ready to branch out. I’ve been meeting with some local creatives and using one of the local bars offering workspaces. Great to just be somewhere different.
It’s a beach hut in a beer garden, by the sea – I have everything I need.
3. Have deadlines
Ah ha! I think this is what I’m missing from my life right now (one of many, many things). School, uni, working in magazines, online, for clients – all deadlines, deadlines.
Right now though, I have none.
The freedom to write what I want, when I want, is actually crippling my productivity. So, I’ve given myself today to get this blog post written and published.
I need to ride the adrenaline rush of leaving something till the last minute, that’s when I do my best work.
4. Take a related course or buy a book
I am actually doing this. I’ve recently done a Future Learn course in Content Design, which was super interesting. I did feel pumped after, but then the amount of work I need to do to make my blog more accessible to all, and a friendlier UX design is kinda intimidating.
And it feels like it adds on to the incredible amount of work I should do, which is stopping me doing what I want to do.
So for me this has been counter productive.
5. Look to others for inspiration
Hmmm, I feel like right now other travel bloggers are just pumping out the lists, like I am. To be honest, I’m not inspired. Maybe I need to actively seek other blogs to follow, that are more in line with what I’m looking for. Or, I need to accept it’s a tough time for travel bloggers right now, with a limited amount of things to do.
Any suggestions for inspiration?
6. Write from the heart
I’m told to look at what I used to write about, before I knew SEO was a thing.
I guess that’s kinda what I’m doing right now.
Just free flow write. See what happens when you put pen to paper, or finger tips to keyboard. Let those feelings OUT.
Getting through blogger’s block
Well, that was cathartic. A problem shared is a problem halved, and what dya know… I’ve just written a blog post in under two hours, from idea to execution. The old me could be back!
I think from what I’ve read about blogger’s block and writers block, I may have lost the fun in it all. Knowing I have circa 700 posts to update, comparing myself to others, feeling like I should be doing this, or should be doing that – I’ve been working under a draconian boss who is genuinely NEVER SATISFIED.
The fact I don’t have any clients to work for at the moment means that this is my time to be free, to enjoy it all, and to play around. My blog can be whatever I want it to be. I don’t need to write 2000 words to rank, or look up the keywords, or aim for those stupidly high standards I set myself.
I should just enjoy the process.
I think my blog has lost a bit of the whimsical fun and silliness it was known for when I didn’t care about conforming. And if there are two things we need right now, it’s FUN and SILLINESS.
PIN THE TIPS FOR BLOGGER’S BLOCK FOR LATER