Tackling the insertion cursor (that’s the name of the blinking cursor when typing) can be one of the most difficult tasks a blogger has. Content! Looking at an entire blank page and then being tasked with filling it up can seem daunting.
“What do I type?”
“Where do I start?”
“Do I need a title first or should I do that last?”
“Hmmm….maybe I should go browse Twitter for a while…”
Two Hours Later
“….blahhhh, I’ll do this tomorrow”
We’ve all been there. Just keep putting it off until another day and hope that it will get done. Hope is not lost however! Here are some awesome tips to help keep you writing great articles day in and day out.
Know What You Want to Write About
You might be thinking, “Well Stephen, this is quite obvious don’t you think?” And my answer to you is yes, yes it is. The problem is many people start typing without a clear goal in mind.
Having an idea and having a clear goal are two completely different things. An idea is vague and doesn’t help guide your writing. A goal helps guide your writing and sets up specific points you want to make in your post.
An idea might sound like this, “I want to write a blog post about how to use social media to market an e-book.”
You can take this further by setting a goal for this idea.
A goal for this might be,
I want the reader to understand how Twitter works, how to get the most out of 140 characters, how to leverage @ tags to your advantage, and why I think Twitter is the best marketing strategy available.
As you can see in this example, a goal allows you to see exactly what you want to accomplish. It gives you guidelines to follow and helps organize your thoughts clearly.
Now that you have a goal, it is time to start typing!
Discipline Yourself – Write For 30 Minutes
This is a tactic that works really well. The goal here is to close everything else that can distract you. That means Twitter, Facebook, email and turning your cell phone to silent.
Distractions are one of the greatest enemies to bloggers.
So open your blank document (or your notebook if your old school) and keep your goals in mind. At this point you may not do anything but stare at the blank page or write.
This means no going to the bathroom, no getting up for a snack, no peeking at the internet, and definitely no email!
At the end of the 30 minutes I guarantee you will have something written. When faced with no other option than being bored and staring at a screen, you will eventually start to type. As long as you keep your goals in mind, this is a great starting place!
You don’t have to stop at 30 minutes though. If you feel you are on a roll then keep going. I personally do this all the time.
Closing my browser and sitting in front of MS Word document is the most effective way I have found to get me writing!
You can do this as many times as you need to until the article is finished!
Proofread Your Post the Next Day
After you have finished typing, save your work and put it away. You are done for today!
Proofreading your work after a full day passes is the best way to ensure you get a “fresh” look at the content. This is the best time to correct spelling errors, change paragraphs or even rewrite your post to make it better.
This is also the day that I like to find a post image (I use fotolia.com), format the post for WordPress and set up all the SEO needed.
Another good strategy is to send your post to a friend and have him or her proofread it. Then instruct them to send it back to you the following day with corrections and suggestions.
These strategies work extremely well for me and I am sure they will work for you too.
Do you do any of these? Do you have any other tips that you do to tackle the insertion cursor? Let me know in the comments below!