What do you write about when you’re suffering from a severe bout of writer’s block and can’t think of anything to write about? Why, you write about having writer’s block of course! I know, I know, I’m so meta!
At the beginning of lockdown I was sure I wasn’t going to write about lockdown because, well there was enough news about it out there already, who really cared about my take on it? But the longer it went on, and the less stimulation I was having in my day to day life, I inevitably ended up writing about it all. It was literally all that was going on. And it turned out people were interested in what I had to say. Way more so than the usual boyband chat. Who knew?!
That’s the problem with writing a lifestyle blog, if the government has put the kybosh on any kind of social activity, it kind of limits what you’re able to write about. No new restaurants to visit, no shows to go and see, no travel, no Bongo’s Bingo.
The fact that I only post weekly means that I’m usually scheduled pretty far in advance. It’s not unusual for me to have the next 20 posts written up in some form or another, which I can switch around depending on what seasonally appropriate content I end up writing. So it never sits well with me when, like at time of writing this, I only have the next 4 weeks of posts scheduled. And not a clue about what I can write about next.
I can’t stress to you how close I’ve come many times to writing a ‘what’s in my handbag’ post. If there ever comes a time when you see that post, you know I’ll have jumped the shark, and you can buy a nice black dress for preparation for Honestly Helen’s funeral.
So what do I do when I find myself suffering some writers block? I take to google. There are loads of bloggers way more talented than I who very kindly check the algorithms of Pinterest and Google to search for hot topics of the moment and summarise them for you, to see if anything takes you fancy. And yes, while there are lots of topics that would never work for me (like attachment parenting or eco conscious travelling, which seems to come up a lot). If you search hard enough, there are a few things that spark my interest that I reckon I could put my own unique spin on.
One of my favourite posts to have a scan of when I need some inspiration comes from SimplyHatch. Which lists the top 115 things people have been searching that year, and is updated annually. You need to be careful of course, because people’s whims change quite quickly, and just because loads of people were interested in shampoo bars in July, doesn’t mean they still will be in August. People’s tastes are odd and they never act predictably, the fact that Haim are popular is testament to that.
Google trends is also a really useful tool. You can set it to a year of your choosing, and country, or global depending on your target audience and it will bring up lists of most searched topics, whether it be people, events, films etc. It might give you a few ideas about what people are interested in. It’s here I got the idea to do my Lockdown TV post because people were searching Netflix price plans pretty consistently throughout the early stages of lockdown.
I think what’s important to remember though when you’re suffering from writer’s block is not to force it. I’d rather skip a week or two on the blog than post something I’ve just churned out for the sake of it, something I’m not all that passionate about.
Plus, if things get desperate I can always re-brand as ‘Honestly Boybands’, because I’ll never not have something to say about that!