Don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas and all it stands for (with the possible exception of pepper-spraying people during the sales – c’mon, a new pair of shoes isn’t worth deploying chemical warfare over). However, Christmas is also a time when the day-to-day routines of life are suspended. In many ways this is a good thing – it’s good for us to pause, reflect, relax, celebrate. The problem arises when that pause ends and it’s time to return to life. In short, January.
And so I’m aware that my blog has been a bit hit-and-miss over the last few weeks, and that’s fair enough, I’ve been busy. Only now it’s time to get back into the swing of things and I’m staring at a blank screen and I don’t know what to write about. This is a problem.
It’s a problem because I don’t believe in writer’s block. Not like I don’t believe in, say, Martians; no, it’s more like I don’t believe in Nazism – sure, it’s there, but it’s evil and needs to stomped on before it invades Poland. Part of my job involves producing reports to strict deadlines, I can’t afford to believe in writer’s block.
So why can’t I think of anything to write about?
I have a couple of topics, but I haven’t figured out an angle on them yet. I’m waiting for inspiration to strike, but I can’t do that. I like to post something every day or so, and it’s not false modesty to suggest that not every entry on this blog has been blessed by inspiration. You’re not a blogger, or a writer in general, if you don’t blog (or write) – I don’t care if you self-identify as that while waiting for your muse to show up and French kiss you in front of a thousand applauding commuters, you need to get something on paper. Even if it’s absolute drivel, because you know what? One day that drivel will contain flecks of gold.
I say all that, but I’m still struggling for blog subjects. And if you look back through the archives, you’ll notice I once didn’t post anything for a year.
One thing that helped in the lead up to Christmas was doing a series, twelve blogs of Christmas. I stole the idea from Paul Cornell and World Vision, and they did a better job of it than me, but the discipline of setting myself a topic and a deadline really helped. So I’ll probably be doing more series in future.
The problem with doing a series is that sometimes the end of it feels like The End, a good place to stop posting. Now, in some circumstances this may be the right thing to do, but not if it’s motivated by laziness or a lack of ideas. Keep going. Even if no-one reads your blog, keep going – this isn’t a popularity contest. At some point we’re all snatched up in the talons of Search Engine Optimisation, but it’s best just to take the pecking and then run away screaming at the first opportunity. The moment you start writing for SEO and not for yourself is the moment things are getting wobbly. A few weeks ago, I wrote a post praising the BBC’s children’s channel, CBeebies. Somewhere along the line this was read by some the channel’s presenters and the link passed on via Twitter – unsurprisingly this made my day and gave me the highest readership in the history of my blog – brilliant! But now things are back to normal and I need to stop looking at that lovely big spike on my statistics graph and get on with things.
See, I just re-read that and now I want to write another CBeebies post. SEO is evil.
And so I’m sitting here and I still can’t say I’m blessed with inspiration, or that I’ve got a hundred and one great ideas for future posts. It’s the start of the year, I need to reclaim my blogging mojo and I still have nothing to write about.
Except, perhaps, writer’s block…