Blogger’s Block: Step Two – Find the Why

It has been an interesting week and coming back to blogging has been a great reward of the week thus far. This small series of posts is not to give all the answers to how to battle Blogger’s Block. In fact, there are lots of other great resources out there for that, especially if you visit ProBlogger (and if you are reading my blog, you should be reading his!)

photograph by Mike Gifford at http://www.flickr.com/people/mgifford/

Interestingly enough, while exploring what I wanted to discuss today, I tapped into another resource that I actually had the luxury of finding out about at work. It is the book, Start With Why, by Simon Sinek. My first exposure to Sinek was by watching a Ted.org video that our CEO wanted us to watch. At that time, it was about finding the Why at the agency. Today, I am applying this to getting out of Blogger’s Block.

You need to ask yourself the simple question, why do you blog? Now, if your answer is that it is part of your job, you better find a way to continue to blog even if you aren’t feeling the mojo. However, I always find that money, and job security, is a good motivating factor to doing things that you’d rather not do right then.

But if your answer is that you are doing it for some other reason – for your family, for fun, for a way to relieve stress – or whatever other reason you may think of – maybe it’s time to rethink that reason or at least reframe that reason.

It’s not going to be easy to think like that either. I know that my thought process was that I was blogging for other nonprofit techies that may have been accidentally given technical jobs or those who are now acting purposefully.  That was probably one of the biggest smoke-screens I had created in a long time – and I had created it around my own vision of what I do.

Reality is, I find that when I do blog, it is to write something that maybe another person will related with because I rarely get that type of interaction on the job. This blog isn’t part of my job but everything that I write in it is about my job. But being a nonprofit techie can be a very lonely place in that nonprofit. Add to it that I am a female nonprofit techie, makes it even a bit more difficult to find that other person who gets it. I can find other techies, but if they work for for-profits, their experience is so different. So, I turn to the world of cyberspace and I write.

There is another reason why I do this. It helps me organize my thoughts about a single thing. Too often I spend my days multi-tasking my multi-tasks. If I could have six hands, I’d be trying to have eight different tech gadgets in action all around me. Taking the time to write a post, about one thing, allows a focus that I don’t generally get. It’s a refreshing thing to do.

Remembering that why – blogging is refreshing to my mind – starts to knock down those hard cemented blocks of Blogger’s Block. It’s not a big sledge-hammer taking those blocks down, but it is chiseling away at the magnitude of that wall I have been facing.

Blogger’s Block: Step One – Admit to it

An example of some of the excuses I told myself for having Blogger's Block.

I have to admit that I have had a terrible case of Blogger’s Block. The excuses have been many in the months since I last posted. Those excuses went from “After you get the new building open and staff settled, you’ll start-up again” to “I’ll just play one game of Slingo before writing a post”. It can be such an easy cycle to get stuck within and breaking out of it can be difficult. Every single day there could easily be just one excuse, or there could be a hundred excuses. Rationalizing Blogger’s Block is simple.

I also believe that Blogger’s Block is worse than Writer’s Block.

These terms may appear on the surface to be the same thing – the inability to write. I’m not going to say that they aren’t related to each other but I do see a distinct difference with Blogger’s Block.  The biggest reason why they are different in my mind is related to how much time is spent building up your followers to your blog.

If you are a blogger, you know that you not only have to spend the time writing the posts, but you have to spend the time building the relationships, cross-posting on social media sites, and following up on similar posts on other blogs. After spending time getting that established, it is even easier to lose that work. Those connections slip away faster than it took to build it up and you might find yourself back at square one.

Now I hope to be on the road to recovery. I’m finally pushing aside those excuses (and ignoring email until I finish this post) and pushing past what I haven’t done to focus on what I can do now to get back to this blog. It may end up being square one, but maybe I’ll help someone else avoid this pitfall with some wit and wisdom from my experience.