How do you know what to write next? You had a few great posts that hit you while you were driving in your car or reminiscing with a friend. When I first began scribbling out my nuggets of truth, the stories came like lightning bolts of creativity. Writing became a spiritual experience that I wanted to repeat over and over again—until the well of organic writing ran dry.
As time went on, writer’s block set in and I felt directionless with my blog and writing. I began to wonder if I was a blogging fraud. Did I only hold one good story in me? Or, did I have too many stories that didn’t fit together? Am I not cut out for writing? What’s next? If you are asking yourself the same questions here are three tools to clarify your writing.
List Your Expertise
For you type-A folks, lists are your friends! For those who are not on a first name level with lists, now is your time to get acquainted. To stop yourself jumping from one disorganized thought to the next, list out everything you feel qualified to write on. This qualification can be based on experience, professional skill, or education. My example:
You may find yourself an expert on more topics than you know. Some topics will come naturally to you, while other topics may not be the right fit. Survey your list and choose a few you could expand and develop. Before you start writing, ask yourself, “why am I uniquely suited to talk about this specific topic?”
Your blog topic needs to be broad enough that there are a variety of layers to unpack in your writing. It may seem like a great idea to choose the topic of speed dating because you spend every Friday night meeting potential soul mates. Yet, there are only so many stories one could tell about the depth and passion of speed dating (feel free to prove me wrong). If you find that the writing topic is too thin, it’s not the right one. What I mean by “thin,” is if your topic doesn’t lend itself to go beneath the surface. If you are running into writer’s block, you might have chosen a topic that doesn’t have enough meat to chew on.
Just like in grade school, writing requires organizing your thoughts into main points. Mapping out my story saves me so much time and angst. If I can organize my thoughts into big bullet points, then I know the piece has direction. If I struggle to find fluidity with my points, then I know that the writing isn’t going to go anywhere. I don’t scrap the idea all together but tuck it away with the other unfinished thoughts to come back to at a later time.
Strive for clarity! It helps you weed out the ideas-in-progress and pursue the stories that speak to the truest passions of your heart.