I recently passed the milestone of my 1,000th blog post, and many people have asked me how I have the discipline to keep writing posts week in, week out. I think the key is to see it as an opportunity, not an obligation: an opportunity to connect with and help others in your field; an opportunity to promote yourself; an opportunity to marshal your thoughts and solidify things you’ve learnt by communicating them to others. Sometimes I see my blog as a giant virtual notebook – I’m just keeping my notes publicly – and I often refer back to my own posts to remind myself how I did something or what mistakes I need to avoid this time around.
“But I don’t have anything to write about,” is a common refrain. I doubt this is true. I’m constantly surprised that I manage to keep coming up with ideas for posts, but there is nothing special about me. If I can do it, you can do it too.
Here are some suggestions.
- Whenever you do something you’re at all proud of, or which someone else compliments, or where someone enquires about how you did it, consider this a potential subject for a blog.
- Read other blogs, not necessarily on the same sort of subject as yours. Look at the types of posts they do and think about how you can apply those formats to your own area of expertise.
- Posts like this one, which consist largely of a bullet-pointed or numbered list, are easier to write, and more digestible and less daunting for a reader than a big block of solid text. (Here’s another example.)
- Review books, films or other websites. (Example)
- ‘Top ten’ posts can be a quick way to generate content, being a sort of cross between brief reviews and a numbered list. (Example)
- Write about projects you’re working on and what you’re learning from them. (Example)
- Break down the steps involved in creating something – a lighting set-up, a prop, a poster, whatever it is you do. Illustrate the steps with photos. (Example)
- Write about trends you have observed in your field, and what readers could do to buck or conform to them. (Example)
- Discuss your mistakes and how you plan to avoid making them again. (Example)
- If you witness someone doing something badly, it can be tempting to write a blog about how it should be done. It’s advisable, however, to let some time elapse first, and you should never name names. (There are examples on this site, but I’m not going to point them out!)
- Be aware of what’s in the news and what’s trending on social media. Could you blog about your take on these issues? (Example)
- If the written word isn’t your thing, consider video blogging, or podcasting, but be careful not to ramble. (Example)
- If you’re really convinced you have no useful knowledge to share, that in itself could be the basis for a blog: your quest for knowledge. You could do posts such as:
- re-blogging material from other sites (but get permission first) (example);
- interviews (example);
- guest blogs, where you ask someone else to write a post for you (example);
- embedding an interesting video you’ve seen, and summarising the tips you gleaned from it. (Here’s an example on NoFilmSchool.com.)