The first thing I ever wanted to “be” was a nurse – I had seen some nurse costumes in an Argos catalogue and I decided it was my destiny to follow that path. Soon after, I decided I wanted to pursue writing. I wrote my first story when I was 5 years old, and over time I would fold together pieces of paper and use the left hand side to draw biro stick figures, and the right hand side to scribble down trivial stories. I graduated over time to using the computer to write stories, and by the time I was 15 I was printing and stapling down 100+ page novels. I stored all my stories in a shoe box, which I still have stowed away in a wardrobe in my room in my family home. At some point the dream of being an actress got intertwined in there, and now I don’t even know what I want to “be” aside from successful, running my own businesses and making lots of money. This thought popped into my head the other day – it seemed I had failed at every single dream I had when growing up. I’m not a nurse – or qualified to be one, I’m definitely not an Oscar winning actress and I haven’t become J.K. Rowling.
But then I kind of, sort of realised that I had met one of my goals. Guys, I kind of am a writer. I’m a blog writer. I write up a good 3.0k words here every week for you guys to read about all types of topics from think pieces, to stories, to travel posts and more. I’ve been a lot more consistent with my blogging this year, and one thing that has changed is that I’ve actually started to quite enjoy reading the posts that I put out. That’s not to say that I sit here all day reading my old blog posts (I don’t have the time and I’ve already read them 100x whilst spell checking etc), but when I do click that “publish” button I’ve been able to say “I quite like that”, more times than I have traditionally. The feedback has been fab, with lots of lovely messages regarding what I’ve written, as well as a pickup in Bloglovin’ readers, this is something I’m so grateful for because honestly, writing is something I truly enjoy and find both therapeutic and natural – so I’m glad others can enjoy it too!
That said – every writer knows that sometimes you hit a road block. I put pressure on myself to try and get a blog post out 2 times a week, which I see as the bare minimum, but sometimes I sit at my laptop to write and my mind is totally empty. If the words are not naturally able to flow I struggle to come up with anything worth reading, and go back to the drawing board. Thus far, writers’ block hasn’t been able to totally knock me off my schedule, as there are a few steps I turn to when I hit this wall…
Struggling from serious writing blocks recently :/
— Kemi Akinboyewa (@_skylish) February 24, 2018
Keep a log of blog posts ideas – write down anything and everything
I have a note in my phone titled “blog posts ideas” where I jot down titles and thoughts every time they pop up into my head. Taking a look at the note now – there are actually 29 entries (and when I publish this post – I’ll be ticking off one of those entries!) They’re usually not very coherent – there’s tons of questions marks, spelling mistakes and repeated ideas – there’s little structure to it, but I know that if I don’t write down these random ideas, I just forget. Even with these 29 blog post ideas, you could still catch me tweet at times that I’m struggling with writers’ block – because sometimes I just don’t care to write about anything on that list. The majority of the time, my blog posts have either been thought up that day/that week, and if not, it has been picked from the list, and if that also fails, I have thought long and hard for something to “come to me…”
Keep it simple
Often when I’m really struggling to come up with a blog post, I defer to something simple, like a life update. I like to do my “Life Lately” posts every now and again, and the beauty in this is that it’s quite hard to get a writer’s block with these types of posts when all you’re writing about is what you’ve been up to lately. It takes little thought, is easy to whip together, and sometimes I think it’s great not only to share what you’ve been up to for your readers that may be interested, but also for you to reflect yourself. Some days I love to do think pieces, and to write up something that’s more on the motivational side – but sometimes I want to keep things very surface level, very simple, and tell ya’ll about how life is going and what my plans are for the future. There’s a fine balance.
Tell a story
Another option I revert to when I’m out of ideas is just to tell a story – typically something that is quite light hearted. For example I’ve shared stories about my most embarrassing moment, how I got fired from my first job, and how me and my friends almost ended up staying in a cockroach infested dump on holiday. I watch a lot of Youtube, and I’m definitely a fan of a few “story time” videos here and there – so do my own little version on the blog if I want something quick, easy and entertaining to write up. My life definitely isn’t interesting enough to come up with tons of stories – but we’ve all got a few nuggets we can share now and again!
Browse other blogs for inspiration
Occasionally if I’m really struggling to come up with topics to write about I browse amongst a few of my favourite blogs to see if I can get any last minute inspiration. Something as simple as a “Valentine’s Day gift ideas” post can trigger something like the Valentine’s Day edit I wrote about where the balance between sharing your relationship online versus keeping all it all a secret. If you ever are inspired, it’s good to credit the person that inspired you. Blogging is built on people being inspired by others – we all follow certain trends and tend to move quite smoothly in line – there’s definitely nothing wrong with pointing out when you’ve been influenced by others.
Take a break
Lastly, when I’m really struggling to write a blog, I just… don’t write anything at all. If I’m sat at my laptop and just simply can’t get the words to flow, I’ll stick at it for a while but after some time I’ll close my laptop and decide to revisit it another day. I’ve done this many times, and whilst it’s good to be organised and ahead of time, sometimes a great idea can come to you just a few hours before you are due to hit publish.
If you really can’t push through, then remember there is nothing wrong with missing a post in your schedule and even taking some time off (and that said – there’ll be no Saturday blog post as I’ll be in Madrid!) Quality is 100% the priority over quantity – I am a believer of doing something well if you’re going to do it at all, nobody wants to read a terrible blog post just as it means you’ll stick to your schedule. All that considered – quantity does matter too. The more you post, the more people read – I know this from experience – so hopefully these tips help you if you decide you’re going to try and break through the writer’s block wall.
Such great tips Kemi!! You’re so right about keeping it simple. I think we all tend to overcomplicate things when in reality it’s about telling a story. 🙂
This post came in perfect timing as I’m currently struggling to put out content on my blog. Great tips! ?