Stop Looking for Blogging "Inspiration"
Consistently creating excellent content for your business is daunting no matter your skill level; this task falls on the shoulders of non-writers more often than not, and recently I’ve noticed an uptick in articles claiming to provide ideas for “inspiration.”
I’m not surprised, but I’m definitely a little chagrined. Inspiration is all well and good, but what many of the articles I’ve seen forget to mention is perspiration.
Excuse me for a moment while I put on my Grouchy Managing Editor hat.
“Inspiration” is for cowards
Why? Because it attributes the thrill of victory (or agony of defeat) to some ethereal, unpredictable, unknowable thing, instead of where it belongs: on your shoulders.
Inspiration lets you off the hook, gives you an excuse for missing deadlines, for giving up on your strategy, for not writing.
Blogging isn’t about being “inspired,” or “finding fun ways to motivate yourself,” or “freeing your mind,” or any of those other touchy-feely phrases.
It’s about constantly making an effort. To paraphrase Hemingway, you have to sit down at your computer and bleed.
“I just wasn’t inspired” was not a legitimate excuse for not writing your final paper for a class, and it’s not legitimate now that that you work for or own a business.
If you didn’t write the paper then, you failed; if you don’t create content now, your content marketing strategy will never make it off the ground.
I’m not saying that there isn’t a place for inspiration in your content — I simply want to emphasize that it can’t be the only pillar on which you build your marketing strategies.
Time to put on your big girl/boy britches
If inspiration is a shaky cornerstone, on which tactics can you rely to keep you creating?
Here’s a couple things I keep in mind when it comes to writing.
Never stop learning
The more you know — about anything and everything — the more you can bring to the table when it comes to creating content. Become a subject matter expert in your field, but don’t forget that you can pull ideas from music, movies, news stories, history, science, photography, people you’ve met, places you’ve been or want to go, your sordid past, your family, My Little Pony episodes, conversations on which you eavesdropped, etc.
Take in every piece of information you can and use it to augment what you create.
Less whining, more writing
Inspiration is nice when it strikes, isn’t it? The words flow so easily, and you can slam out great stuff quickly and smoothly.
But it’s not going to happen for you every time — or even most of the time. Be willing to turn off email notifications, go to a different room, ignore your loved ones, grind your teeth, and sweat bullets to finish a piece of content.
If it’s daunting, you’re doing it right
Does the prospect of writing a blog article make you sweat a little? Does tackling that controversial industry topic give you the shakes? Good!
If you’re never uncomfortable, it means you’ve stopped growing. Don’t be afraid to experiment, try new things (creating videos, anyone?), get messy, and make mistakes.
Inspiration can be beneficial to content creation, but don’t leave yourself at its mercy. Empower yourself to take on the challenge of blogging, inspiration be damned.
Dig in. Focus your passion and expertise into creating content that speaks to your audience. It won’t always be easy, but it will always be important.
More on content development
- The Sad State of Web Content
- Blogging Every Day Does Not Make You Successful
- The Blog Manager’s Guide to Getting Sh*t Done