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How to overcome Blog Writer’s Block

Hanz’s Note : Dah tak tahu nak tulis apa dalam blog lately ni? Samalah macam saya..kalau takat nak share tip2 pasal parenting & early childhood education, saya sendiri dah agak boring. Mood ke arah tu pun dah takder. Nak buat entry contest pun, macam rasa tak best jer. Entahlah. Sebab puasa kut..he,he..jadi saya google2, camner nak overcome ni, dah jumpa dah…ni saya share kat sini, kay..Terima kasih kat Encik Jim DeSantis ni…harap membantu anda!


For me, writers’ block was a blank page on the screen of my mind. Nothing would come. No thought patterns appeared. The little voice in my head was silent. The tighter the deadline, the more frustrated I became. Oh, I wrote anyway but it was amateurish at best.

My mentor nailed the problem. It was fear!

Writers’ block can be from deep-seated fear that you have absolutely nothing of value to say. And, it doesn’t matter if you’ve done all your research and all you have to do is arrange sentences together into coherent paragraphs. Writers’ block, based on fear of looking stupid, can strike anyone at any time.

Based in fear, it raises our doubts about our own self-worth and it’s usually hidden from our consciousness. You don’t realize the fear is there but you feel like an idiot who only went up to the 4th grade in school. If you dared publish your writing, people would surely see you for the illiterate idiot you really are!

Here is a list to use to unmask the writer’s block demon in you!

1. Perfectionism.

The demon says you must produce a masterpiece of literature straight off in the first draft.

2. Editing instead of composing.

Midway through your first or second sentences the demon says – “No, that’s stupid. Start over!” “Uh…that’s no good either…uh…”

3. Self-consciousness.

The demon puts more and more pressure on you to get writing but tells you that you really are not a capable writer.

4. Can’t get started?

The demon convinces you that the first sentence is the hardest and reminds you of how critically important the first sentence is. It must be brilliant! It must be unique! It must hook your reader from the start! Scary, huh?

5. Shattered concentration.

The demon will draw your attention away from your keyboard by planting random thoughts – “Did I pay the electric bill?”, “I wish Jane was here right now,” “What time is it?” and on it goes.

6. Procrastination.

The demon tells you it’s O.K. to walk away for a while, to avoid the hassle right now, writing can be put off while you clear your head. Procrastination is writers’ block out in the open for you to see. When procrastination takes over, you have lost the battle.

Now that I have your stomach churning, here is what my mentor taught me.

1. Be prepared.

Once your research is done, spend a few minutes picturing in your mind’s eye the story you are about to put on paper. Play it like a movie with sound and action. Imagine you are a movie critic and you are about to write a column about the movie.

I would have news stories mostly written in my mind before I reached the TV station using this very technique. I knew how I would begin, what the middle would be about, and how it would end. This, by the way, included cover video and sound-on interviews.

2. Forget perfectionism.

Start writing regardless of what you think about your skill as a writer. Just write, one sentence after another after another. Let it flow. Some of it will be garbage, sure, but so what? The final product is what counts.

Look at it this way. Most of your readers/viewers are no smarter than you. Most have an average education. Most wouldn’t know a perfect story from an imperfect one. Most cannot recognize improper grammar. This alone should free you to write but let’s continue.

3. Compose instead of editing.

Composing is a magical process. It surpasses the conscious mind and kicks on your creative flow because it doesn’t judge quality. It only cares about quantity at this point. It totally ignores the writer’s block demon! It doesn’t care what anyone thinks. It just wants to write!

4. Forget the first sentence.

In fact, expect to throw away the first couple of sentences. That way the demon gets what it wants and you get what you want – to write! You can sweat over that all-important headline and opening paragraph when you’ve finished your piece.

5. Concentration.

Distraction is another sign that the writer’s block demon is rearing its ugly head. Concentration is the 357 magnum that blows it away. Pretend you’re Dirty Harry and use concentration to blow that sucker away.

6. Stop procrastinating.

If you suffer with procrastination in many areas of your life, you need to begin your writing process by writing an outline, a road map to get you from the beginning to the middle to the end of the piece. Keep your research notes handy as a crutch. You can try writing with pad and pencil at first just to get just to break the mental block between your keyboard and the blank page of your mind. Writing in this way may help you get organized. Of course you can always just attack your keyboard to get the flow started. Type anything and everything that come into your head!

Finally, one of the keys I employed when I first began my battle to overcome writers’ block was to keep a picture in my mind of my mentor teaching these shortcuts. For you, may I suggest you print this article and keep it next to your keyboard where you can refer to it often. Allow it to be your mentor. I guarantee, someday you will not need it because writers’ block will be a rare occurrence.

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September 2, 2009 Posted by | Blogging, Hanz's Feelings, Hanz's Notes | 2 Comments

37 Ways To Make Blogging Easier

  1. Plan out content with pen and paper.
  2. Dedicate time each week to think of ideas.
  3. Make it easy to record ideas.
  4. Build a life of unique experiences.
  5. Use WriteRoom for typing.
  6. Set limits on the time allowed for writing.
  7. Always have a large backlog of content.
  8. Follow a lower frequency of posts.
  9. Capture interesting tid bits you find with Evernote.
  10. Be passionate.
  11. Write about a broader niche.
  12. Take extended breaks.
  13. Don’t write till you drop – stop writing when you’re on a roll.
  14. Follow clear structures in your content (headings, sub-headings, bullet points etc).
  15. Pick a predominant medium.
  16. Ask visitors what they want.
  17. Make every piece of content count.
  18. Never stop reading and learning.
  19. Set higher standards for yourself as motivation.
  20. Forget word count – say more with less.
  21. Identify the time when brainstorming for you is most effective and stick with that.
  22. The moment it’s not fun: STOP! (and come back to it later)
  23. Experiment with different mediums.
  24. Clear your head with exercise, good food and a glass of water.
  25. Write down EVERY idea, no matter how silly it may seem.
  26. Clear off other items from your to-do list.
  27. Ask visitors to help with research – have them send in quotes etc.
  28. Believe in what you’re saying.
  29. Be both topical and non-topical.
  30. Don’t overthink it – your content is not set in stone.
  31. Think in lists.
  32. Always be creating content (if only in your mind).
  33. Trust that what you have to say is important.
  34. Plug your niche(s) into the Adwords keyword tool.
  35. Monitor what related blogs are saying.
  36. Add variety to your workflow.
  37. Be ruthless. If you’re not feeling an article, delete it.

August 6, 2009 Posted by | Blogging, Hanz's Notes | 8 Comments

MBP Review for TheHoneyBunch (hanz’s blog)

My turn to be review by Moms Bloggers Planet.

As expected but least expected it will be so soon…(or have I dawdling too much lately?..) Surprise, surprise..he,he..

Here’s the verdict…he, he, cam kat makhamah pulak! 😀 Read on ya..or just hop over to MBP…

Update as of 16th July, 09 @ 6pm:-

Content & Sidebars Colours has been changed from Bright Orange to Lavender.Am in the midst of changing font colour of content to black, formerly white. Thank you to Mama Emma for her assistance.

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Charm Chameleon Chatterbox, that’s the tagline written on the header when I visited TheHoneyBunch blog for this review. The header is rather big but nicely decorated with the tagline and pictures of cloth diaper, baby wearing, homeschool, two cups of coffee and the owner breastfeeding her baby.

TheHoneyBunch

The owner used a Blogger Template by Lena Toews (based on Douglas Bowman’s Minima).The blog layout is a 3-columned with two sidebars, with a middle content. On the left sidebar, there are a milestone for Hanafi, rss feed button, contest and other banners, awards, link to mommy bloggers, homeschool advocates and online shops, mybloglog widget and google ads.

On the right sidebar, you can find a a milestone for Hambali, some information about the owner, her reading, facebook badge, a shoutbox, labels/categories, archive and recent comments.

For the overall background, the owner uses a multi-coloured pattern and for the content background the owner selected a cheerful orange with mostly white text.

The selected color-scheme fit well with the overall background pattern. But, I would suggest to change the content background to a lighter pastel color and use black text instead. The best is to use white background for content.

Content wise, the owner is doing good for activity by keeping regular posting although it’s not on daily basis. The owner writes about parenting, homeschool, breastfeeding, cloth diapering, early childhood education, her kids and everything that circle around her life. All blog posts are also accompanied by relevant pictures, and more than one in most cases which adds to the interest and appeal of the blog.

I’m giving this blog 4 star rating out of 5. This blog get an excellent for content and above average for uniqueness. Activity, appearance and navigation get average scores. Being a strong supporter of homeschooling and early childhood education, the owner has written really well on these topics. So, if you’re looking for information and guidelines on homeschooling and early childhood education, this is a great blog to refer to.

  1. Content 1.0
  2. Uniqueness 0.8
  3. Activity 0.6
  4. Appearance 0.6
  5. Navigation 0.6

Here’s a suggestion of thing that I think the ownner could do.

  • If the owner would like to add a more professional clean look to her blog, it’s advisable to change the content background to white or lighter pastel color with black text. The owner could keep the multi-colored pattern background, just change the content background only.
  • Navigation could further be improved moving the Archive and Label/Category further up on the sidebar and consider replacing it to “dropdown” style.

That’s all my review on TheHoneyBunch! What do you think about this blog? Leave constructive comments here for Hanz.

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And, for Hanz. Keep up all the good work and happy blogging!

Popularity: 3% [?]

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Well? What say you? I’ve been thinking to create another blog to compile all about ‘serious’ stuff I shared such HS, Early Childhoo Education, etc., to separate with my personal life…should I make a poll to see what you favour most out of this blog.

In terms of colours, is it too bright for you? Few people have been telling me, & I really appreciate all your constructive comments. After all it is for you & for me ===SYMBIOSIS..

Please let me know, Chit-Chatters…errr…if happen I have Silent Reader, please emerge yourself..I love to get to know you. Thanks!

And not forgetting Ros aka littlemama of MBP for your very constructive review. Really appreciate it!

Love,

July 15, 2009 Posted by | Blogging, Hanz's Feelings | 15 Comments