Winter feels like it’s been dragging on for ever. I don’t know about you, but I’m beginning to go through phases where I don’t feel very motivated to blog.
So what better way to get out of a rut than by going meta and blogging about it? Having sat down and thought about what I can do to boost my motivation, I realised it might help someone else if I wrote a post about it. Here’s my advice; please drop a comment at the end of the post with your own tips!
01. Identify any problems
If you find yourself repeatedly hitting a brick wall, grab some paper and pencil and write (or sketch, or doodle) through what’s wrong. Maybe you’re unhappy with how your site looks right now, or maybe there’s a difficult topic you’ve been avoiding, or maybe there’s some tasks you need to do before you start blogging but somehow you just can’t work up the motivation.
Identify and get rid of the elephant in the room whatever it takes. Do the tasks or solve the problems you’re dreading most first. The first step is usually the hardest part.
02. Make small changes to inspire you
I recently changed my WordPress dashboard colour scheme. It was a very simple thing to do, but it instantly freshened up my writing space. There are plenty of plugins and tutorials out there if you want more customisation beyond the standard colour skins; Ultimo is a plugin I’ve had my eye on for a while.
Another thing I did was clear out some of the crap that was bugging me: plugin notifications, Zemanta related posts rubbish under my writing space, useless dashboard panes. Not only has it made my workspace tidier, it’s made it faster too.
Changing your typeface, either on your site or in your dashboard/browser is another quick and easy change that can give you some much-needed novelty.
03. Generate ideas in a new way
Scrap the way you normally brainstorm blog ideas (temporarily) and try something new. For example, you could take an image you really like or a photo you’ve taken recently and use that as a starting point to build a blog post around. Maybe there’s a new skill you want to learn or habit you’re trying to adopt – if so, collate some really useful information and links around it and put together a post. Perhaps you could take a specific format you don’t normally use – bullet journalling, lists, infographics, fictional narrative, poetry, Pinterest images etc. – and develop something out of that.
04. Prepare other elements
Even if you’re stuck for specific ideas or don’t feel like writing right now, do some standard blogging tasks. Things like finding/taking great photos, playing with colours or logos, editing and uploading images, reading and commenting on other people’s blog entries, and making notes on what you’ve done or where you’ve been recently can all help get your head in the right space.
05. Do something you wouldn’t normally do
This could be something entirely new or something you wouldn’t typically be doing right now. For example, I went out for a walk at lunchtime with the idea that I would photograph some interesting things within a block. This is different to what I normally do, because 1) I was trying to take great photos with just my smartphone; 2) I rarely take photos of my local area, particularly in a city-centre setting; 3) I don’t take many photos at this time of year because the light is so bad; 4) I usually shop, eat and read blogs in my lunchbreak.
(All the photos in this post were taken on that walk. By the time it came to uploading them, I felt really inspired and refreshed).
If you’re not into photography, that’s fine. Just pick something that works for you – it could be an entirely new experience or one you already enjoy but haven’t done in a while. The only rule is that it should have a creative element to it. You could make a new meal, record a video, explore a new place, or try a new hobby. At worst you’ll get a blog post directly out of it. At best you’ll kickstart your creative juices again.
How motivated are you feeling at the moment? What are your tips for getting out of a rut?