Goins, Writer

On Writing, Ideas, and Making a Difference

5 Ideas for Writing Blog Posts When You Feel Stuck

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We all get stuck, sometimes. Writer’s block, or the Resistance, or whatever you want to call it, gets the best of us and we end up with no words to write.

Notepad and pen

Photo Credit: vasta via Compfight cc

We stammer and stutter and wonder where our inspiration went. At times like these, it can be nice to have a go-to list of topics, a quick guide for when you feel like there’s nothing to say.

I’ve compiled such a list. Here are five blog post ideas for when you’re just not feeling it:

  1. Confess a dark secret. We all have things we wish the world didn’t know about us. Maybe it’s a silly, embarrassing fact — like one of the first times I met my wife, I spit in her face (true story), or the time I peed my pants in college… on purpose (also true). You know, stuff like that.
  2. Call someone out. I’m not a fan of publicly shaming someone, but it’s hard to deny how much attention these posts can get you. Still, I think there is a tactful way to disagree with someone, especially a celebrity or political figure who might not otherwise respond to you. Open letters are pretty popular these days (here’s an example of someone calling me out in a way that really woke me up).
  3. Ask a question. The world doesn’t need you to have all the answers; it just needs you to speak up, to lead the conversation.
  4. Teach something. Maybe it’s how to replace the oil filter in your car or how to write a book, but we all have skills we want to learn. And we all have skills we can teach. Take something that you’re a natural at and generously share your knowledge with the world.
  5. Pick a fight. We all have those hills we’re willing to die on, whether they be political or religious affiliations or why you think your hometown is the best place in the world. Whatever the cause, take your stand, make your argument, and let the world know. Sure, this is one way to make a few enemies, but it’s also a way to earn some new friends.

What you must remember about blogging, about all writing actually, is that people don’t remember vanilla content. They don’t tweet links to mediocre articles and don’t tell their friends about someone who is average.

We, the readers, want remarkable, something worth talking about. Will you give it to us?

What ideas for writing better blog posts would you add to this list? Share in the comments.

About Jeff Goins

I help people tell better stories and make a difference in the world. My family and I live outside of Nashville, TN. Follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or Google Plus. Check out my new book, The In-Between. To get exclusive updates and free stuff, join my newsletter.

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  • http://reporterofhope.com/ Dorette Skinner

    Thank you for sharing this, Jeff. My husband recently asked me: “If you were at the same place where you were two years ago and someone knew what you know now, how would you want them to share it with you?” A great question and a good starting point to write from :-) Blessings

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      I really like that, Dorette. We often overlook how much we’ve grown.

  • http://www.themobilejobsearch.com/ Matt Schmidt

    Number 3 is a great technique. There are many forums, groups on Facebook and LinkedIn and other social sites to put a question out and receive great feedback. The answers you receive could be fodder for a great post.

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      You’re absolutely right, Matt. I love using audience engagement as fodder for future writing ideas. This goes for books, too.

  • http://sparkvoice.wordpress.com/ DS

    Something I’ve found helpful is sharing what you learned or an illustration that’s inspiring. Most people appreciate a story of struggle, coupled with success.

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      I agree. When I was starting this blog, I just focused on what I had struggled with and how it could help people.

  • http://www.frankviola.net/ Frank Viola

    Nice, Jeff. One that I’d add is read the latest trend in your field. Whether it’s a high octane blog post, article, interview, or book. Read what’s popular at the time. One of my coauthors says, “When I’m out of ideas, I read. And then I get mad and I have a lot to say.” :-)

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      Good idea, Frank. I need to do more of that. (And I think I know who you’re talking about.) ;)

  • http://awesomeminds.com Awesome Minds

    All great ways to get the juices flowing, but I do like number one, although it sometimes takes a little courage to share something personal. I can’t believe you spat in your wife’s face, shocking Jeff. I always find reading a great way to inspire blog posts, especially when it is something you have a strong opinion about.
    Great post Jeff, peed your pants, really :)

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      Really. And that didn’t take much courage. ;)

  • http://paulperkins.com/ Paul Perkins

    Great ideas, Jeff. No joke — I drafted a post yesterday about “what to do when there are no words.” I look at the issue a bit more philosophically, so it compliments your post quite nicely.
    Best,
    Paul

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      Cool, Paul. Link?

      • http://paulperkins.com/ Paul Perkins

        Haven’t posted it yet — but when I do, I’ll pass it along.

      • http://paulperkins.com/ Paul Perkins

        Here’s the post, Jeff. I hope you like it.
        http://paulperkins.com/give-up/

        Best,
        Paul

  • http://themeaningmovement.com/ dan cumberland

    These are great, Jeff! I keep an ongoing list of topics and ideas for times when I can’t find anything to say. When I pull up the list and start working with one, I always find I have more to say than I expected.

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      Me too, Dan. But I always have more to say than I think I do. If you were to ask my wife, however, she probably would believe I had that much to say. She married a talker. ;)

  • http://askatechteacher.wordpress.com Jacqui

    Great ideas–most, I rarely do. They would surprise my readers!

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      Let me know if you try them out, Jacqui!

  • http://www.robinhallett.com/ Robin Hallett

    Ha! Was just sitting here wondering what to write :) I am a fan of #1, in sharing behind the scenes stories you don’t always get to hear about.

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      Hope it helped, Robin!

  • anewyorkgirlinaustinworld

    Well timed as always. I was just writing a list of blog topics and couldn’t think of any really compelling ones. Very helpful since my blog is still in the newbie stage.

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      Cool!

  • http://www.thomasmatty.com/ Thomas Matty

    There are ways to fight the lizard brain! This is a good list for doing so.

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      Glad to hear it, Thomas. Thanks for the comment.

  • http://www.mattmcwilliams.com/ Matt McWilliams

    LOVE it.

    #5 reminds me of Derek Halpern’s podcast with Jonah Berger. They talk about flame throwing / controversy starting to create buzz. Maybe not about abortion or SEC football dominance but crunchy or smooth (peanut butter), paper or plastic…or Mac/PC type stuff.

  • http://www.jelizabethyoung.com/ Elizabeth Young

    Great list Jeff. I’d like to pick a fight but am afraid to do it. There I said it now perhaps I might do it :)

  • http://waltersthinking.blogspot.com/ Walter Ruggieri

    My favorite method is to ask a question. It is amazing how many ideas can come from a good question.

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      It really is.

  • http://www.liveitforward.com/ Kent Julian

    Love this! Great ideas. Going into my “I’m stuck” file (smile)

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      Thanks, Kent!

  • http://davehilgendorf.com/ Dave Hilgendorf

    This has challenged me to think differently about my posts. I’ve been getting too comfortable, too routine, about what I’m writing. If I put myself in my reader’s shoes, posts based on one of your 5 ideas would be much more interesting and potentially more useful than some of what I’ve been writing. Thanks, Jeff.

  • http://lorilschafer.blogspot.com/ Lori Schafer

    When I’m stuck for a new idea, I like to do commentaries on my published work. I find it inspiring to reconstruct what I was thinking when I wrote a particular story or essay – and I guess I hope other people are interested in reading about it, too!

  • http://johnrmeese.com/ John R. Meese

    These are great tips, Jeff. Especially the reminder that “people don’t remember vanilla content.” It’s definitely not as controversial as calling someone out or picking a fight, but I’d add to this list Celebrate Something. A lot of my most popular posts have been about the lesson I learned from a small victory, or a review of a product or service I use and love (in fact, often the creator will reshare my review, sharing it with an established audience).

  • Medinah Adam

    Great tips, im gonna use them when i get stuck. Thank you Jeff.

  • http://GonzChronicles.com Mike Gonzalez

    Great ideas, Jeff!

    Another idea that I would add to the list would be writing a fake sales pitch for a make-believe resource that would instantly (and obnoxiously) solve the most frequent problems that your niche/tribe runs into.

    For example, for the tribe of people who hate making grilled cheese sandwiches, introduce a new grilled cheese sandwich maker that concocts great-tasting grilled cheese at the press of a button; no preparation required!

    To get a better idea of what I’m talking about, here’s a post by Copyblogger that really resonated with me (and all other writers alike)!

    Link: http://www.copyblogger.com/real-writer-2014/

    This writing style really wakes up the imagination and tests you’re ability to tell a great story!

    Anyway, I’m definitely going to bookmark this page for future reference.

    Thanks again for the great content, Jeff!

  • http://kimanziconstable.com/ kimanzi constable

    One small thing I do is keep a list of idea’s in my notes on my iPhone, when an idea comes to me, I record it for a later post.

    • http://GonzChronicles.com Mike Gonzalez

      This is a great habit to adopt, Kimanzi!

      I’ll have to start doing this myself.

      • http://kimanziconstable.com/ kimanzi constable

        It really helps Mike :)

  • http://www.overthinkersadvice.com/ Wan Muhammad Zulfikri Bin Wan

    I usually find blog ideas while I walk long distance.

    It really helps especially if you have a notebook in hand.

  • http://blog.cyberquill.com/ Cyberquill

    If you absolutely can’t think of anything to write about, you can always post pictures of cute kittens.

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      Indeed. :)

  • Ubaedah Adebisi Oladeji

    though I have never considered writing as a career until recently. Nevertheless, I imagine writing about every incident that I come across. So writers can make a pen and a notepad always handy to jot down ideas of write-ups for later. The secret of never being blank of writing ideas is to never underestimate or limit yourself to certain occurrences. the world is full of excellent and endless ideas which can be structured to fall in whatever category of writing you do.

  • Daniela

    Thank you Jeff for remembering and for acknowledging.

    Daniela of the Lantern Post … still blogging from down-under -:)!

  • https://twitter.com/WritersRead Jenny Orelle

    Whad’ya mean pick a fight? I don’t think you give good advice. (Just kidding.)

    Oh you mean on my blog, not in the comments. ( :

    Um. I hope I don’t run out of ideas and have to call on that one. Then again… the ideas for posts are already coming. It must work.

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      Hah! Touche.

  • http://www.callbox.com.sg/ Dara Lin

    There will be times that bloggers feel stuck when writing blogs. You have to come out on your comfort zone and mingle with others, have a conversation and debate with them. As a blogger, you have to be open minded and listen with others opinion and ideas. We readers are always looking forward on something we can read that will impress us and build our curiosity that we want to discuss it with others and exchange our thoughts about it.

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  • http://lucychenfineart.com/ Lucy Chen

    When it comes to calling someone out, Penelope Trunk’s why I hate Tim Ferris post is my all time favorite!

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      nice. googling that now.

  • http://www.finallywriting.com/ Jackie

    Great tips! I appreciate the one about asking a question. It is easy for me sometimes as a blogger to feel like I have always have to be producing. However, it is necessary to slow down and truly listen with our hearts and minds to be able to write from the heart with an expanded perspective.

  • mn

    Expose something that needs change. Look around you and discover dysfunctional relationships, unhealthy surroundings, oppression, anything that needs change! there must be someone who needs to show people that something needs to be done.

  • http://www.lisarobbinyoung.com Lisa Robbin Young

    One of the things I like to do is feature someone who I admire… someone my audience might not otherwise know about. It’s an opportunity to show appreciation to someone that’s improved my life (without being all gushy), and broaden the horizons of my readers at the same time.

  • Brenda Huddleston

    I just started my Blog, so am in need of all the help I can find. Soooo glad I found you today!

  • Andre

    What about bogus headlines using really famous people names and have headlines that consist of “keyword” rich text (you know the keywords that will improve SEO) … just saying.

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      Yeah, none of that.

  • https://audacitytowrite.blogspot.com Tiffany Chacon

    I am impressed by the humility it takes to be willing to post a link to a blog where someone is “calling you out” (albeit, in a very polite way). Thank you for setting quite a remarkable example.

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      Thanks, Tiffany. That was hard but good to read.

  • nathashaalvarez

    I really like this post. And I have printed it out and posted it on to my wall. By the way, these are the things that run through my mind all the time but then I start thinking, “Should I?” NOW I’m not to think it, I’m going to WRITE IT. :)

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