How to Ensure Writing Inspiration Strikes

7 Ways to Fuel Your Writing

I’m often asked “How do you crank out post after post on a regular basis?”

While I’d love to answer that it’s my magic super power, the reality is that I’ve trained myself to produce original content that my audience wants to read.

This doesn’t mean that I never get a case of Blank-Post-Syndrome but, on the rare occasion when I do, I‘ve trained myself to get content marketing inspiration to get back on track quickly without a detour to “I’ll-never-write-again-ville”.

7 Ways to get writing inspiration

To  get your writing inspiration on track, here are 7 tips to keep you producing strong content.

  1. Read broadly. Keep your eye out for new information. Read widely to see what others are talking about. Consume a wide variety of content including concepts, examples and interviews. As you do, think about what your readers’ hot buttons are and what’s in these readings that pushes your buttons. Take notes to remind yourself of what struck a chord since this energy can be the fuel for a good story. Also, tweet the article to extend the conversation and see what others think. Don’t hesitate to add your opinion or related information on the topic.
  2. Collect post ideas. Write down ideas for columns as they occur to you. Don’t trust your brain to store these potential ideas. It won’t! There are too many other things screaming for its attention. Understand that this suggestion takes practice. When you identify an idea, capture it on a notepad, smartphone, tablet, computer or other device. Keep a running tab of potential blog posts.
  3. Brainstorm what’s needed. Nothing drags out the writing process more than “wandering in the desert of no idea where I’m going.” You should have your article outlined before you ever sit down to write it.  How do you do this? Brainstorm the points a particular topic needs. It’s a good idea to do this at an earlier point in time if possible. If research is needed, get it. Depending on how you work, this can mean having a list in progress and adding to it when you have small bites of time like when waiting for kids or your morning commute.
  4. Start writing where the energy is. Remember you’re not in second grade any more, so you can throw out Mrs. Ludwig’s dictum to start writing at the beginning. Instead compose the sections of your post based on where your energy is and go back to fill in the others. I rarely start writing from the introductory sentence.
  5. Follow a logical format. Like children’s stories, your posts and articles need a beginning, middle and end. Specifically, they should have a strong introduction to hook readers in, some beefy points to keep their interest and a conclusion that reiterates your main idea. Regardless of the order in which you write them, your posts must make sense to your readers. (You want them to come back again, right?)
  6. Edit, edit, edit. Be ruthless in your editing. The goal is to get rid of flabby writing. But this doesn’t mean eliminating information needed for comprehension. If you have trouble with this or your writing is weaker than you’d like, get a good editor. They can make your writing sing and be the difference that builds your readership.
  7. Establish the writing habit. While many top bloggers recommend only writing when you’re inspired, I believe you need to develop a writing habit. Don’t wait for the inspiration fairy. She may never show up! Like many other worthwhile activities, writing’s hard to start. For example, when you first begin a workout regime, it takes all your effort to get dressed to go to the gym, but with each progressive workout, your endurance builds up and you start looking forward to going. Writing works the same way. From your body’s perspective, you need to get in the habit of showing up at the computer or pad of paper.  I recommend doing so at the same time every day.  (If you want another perspective, here’s what Mack Collier found after an experiment he ran blogging every day for a month.)

Good writing takes work. The hardest part is getting started.

I strongly recommend working on a set of posts over time before you actually get to the computer to write. Further, once you’ve gotten the initial words on the page, they still need to be edited and edited until they convey your message effectively in clear strong prose.

What are your secrets for keeping the inspiration going? Please help others by adding your comments below.

Happy marketing,
Heidi Cohen

Here are some related articles to help you find more inspiration:

Photo credit: Sk-y Photography via Flickr

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9 Responses to How to Ensure Writing Inspiration Strikes

  1. I like to walk through the city in Brisbane. The people, the buildings, the river, the trees… things start to click in my mind, and all the reading, learning and doing that I’ve been doing is rationalised and demystified.

    Thank you for the article Heidi

  2. Karin says:

    Really useful tips for writers on all levels! I work as a copywriter at a web agency in Sweden. When I’ve “finished” writing a text I like to take a break from it – get a cup of coffee, chat with a co-worker or go out for a short walk – and then look it over again with a refreshed pair of eyes and a new mindset. It’s amazing what a little distance from your work can do to improve the end result!

  3. Sam B says:

    Quote of the day:
    “Don’t wait for the inspiration fairy.”

    I love it.

  4. Great tips, thanks for posting. Another thing I do is start writing and if I think it’s bad or I loose energy I stop but don’t delete it. Sometimes those end up being my best stories later.

    • Heidi Cohen says:

      Amber–Good addition. If a piece of writing isn’t working, let it simmer. You may need another perspective to see the value. Happy marketing, Heidi Cohen

  5. Thanks for the post Heidi,

    Understanding the importance of momentum is vitally important in any activity that requires consistency. The analogy to a workout regimen is spot on. The inspiration fairy is a notoriously unreliable partner for both blogging and exercise success.
    It’s strange how inspiration strikes often to those with good habits and clear goals.

    Enjoy your blog and look forward to the next post.

    • Heidi Cohen says:

      Wayne–For me writing regularly is like going to the gym. When I haven’t done it for a while, it’s much harder to get into and takes longer to get a good piece. Happy marketing, Heidi Cohen