Do you have a frozen blog? No not about ice princesses and a sun loving snowman, but a proper blog – one about salient events and life stuff? Did you like me start it with the best of intentions but have since drifted to posting once in every ice age?
My blog posting had been, until last month, stuck – motionless in time. Due to a combination of me being both socially idle and productively busy. This is not the paradox it may seem to you at first.
I ghost write oodles of management and leadership learning content for organisations. I may even have written an article or a development newsletter for your company. When I do this a trend tended to emerge – my online social media activity ices over, as my offline work gets more intense. In short I had found myself chasing deadlines, completing business critical tasks, and not being able to fit in my playful prose time.
However like any respectful snowman – I’ve started to defrost. I’ve unlocked my chilly keyboard and struck a healthier balance of online activity when my offline world gets a tad crazier. In fact I’ve even managed to do it at a time when my work was at its busiest. I have left the ice palace behind and am embracing the sunnier dawn of blogging once more.
Let it go
Perhaps you could try one or a number of these simple ideas I’ve used to start your great thaw….
1. Keep a blog calendar
Don’t over commit and under deliver. Planning your diary time is one thing, but making sure it’s sensible, and you can work on it at a time when you’re at your most productive. I diarised my own for journey time to and from work. That way I could sit on the choo-choo and build my content on day one, edit it on day two, improve on day three, and proof read on day four. Hey presto my ice-free mission of one blog every three weeks is a nearing ever closer.
2. Invest in some Story Cubes
These little pictorial die are perfect for unblocking ideas. Roll 9 cubes and build a story or a blog around what you see in the images. Best of all they’re mobile so you can use these when in transit, or even download their app. Each set of nine 6-sided cubes have 54 unique images, therefore you will be able to generate millions of possible combinations to act as the stepping stones to help you liquefy your thoughts.
3. Go MAD
The fab Go Make A Difference Thinking System asks us to question our approach in two distinct ways: one- focus the mind, and two – engage the imagination. Creating questions to ask yourself around this simple yet brilliant framework can really melt the mental ice caps. Perhaps even try a five-minute possibility workout: What might I possibly write about, how might I say it, who might I be aiming it at? How many possibilities could you discover in five minutes – my PB is currently 84!
4. Set the Pomodoro
Entrepeneur, and author Francesco Cirillo found his tomato-shaped timer helped track his work and improve his productivity as a university student.
When we hit the chill zone break the work down into short, timed intervals spaced out by short breaks. This trains your grey matter to focus for shorter periods and help improve your attention span and concentration.
5. Donkey – Throw – Tulips
Why three such obscure words? The use of Edward DE Bono’s Random Input lateral thinking tool is incredibly useful when you need fresh ideas to heat up your blogging. We tend to think by recognising patterns. We then respond to these patterns based on past experience – often getting stuck inside them.
To use our randomizer, select the first three nouns that pop into your head – don’t worry if you end up with a rather odd looking list. Then use these words as the starting point for brainstorming what you might like to write about, and how you may approach it. You may even want to think about the definition of these words to provide you with some inspiration.
6. Consider your measurement of success
Do you want the fame and glory of your blogs being read by hundreds? Are you aiming for lots of likes? Do you just want to use it as a creative outlet? Perhaps even a space to think whereby reads and likes become less important. Do you just want a good debate with the world? Whichever it is determine your intention and let the ice cubes thaw.
“There is no wrong or right – just write”
7. Appoint a ghost
If you feel you just can’t dissolve your dialect then have a fellow blogger write for you. Asking someone else to write your content can be a great tool in itself to melt those frozen fingers. Giving your guest your chosen subject matter and carte blanch on narrative, can in turn really open your eyes to other angles of blogging.
I hope these warming tips help you like they’ve helped me. I also got some great help from the marvellous Mairi Damer @WordUP. Her ‘Making Words Work’ event was a great investment to unlock my creative content. Her advice of taking a note pad and pen everywhere was a real sunshine spark for me. Hearing a profound story on the radio, or seeing a eye popping sight have inspired this and will many of my future blogs. This one alone came from a story someone told me about the magical sparkle of Olaf, the snowman who loved sunshine. As much as this Disney movie has way too much sing-a-long for my taste, the link between freezing and bright ideas shone through.
So do you want to build a snowman? Nope, me neither!