“Everything important always begins from something trivial.” – Donald Hall, Poet Laureate of the U.S. 2006
*Update 10/27/09 This is probably already in there or at least the sense of it is, but it was like today I had nothing to write about or at least that I was interested in. And I told myself, “Don’t force it, let it come naturally.” So that would be my message: Don’t force it, but do keep in the back of your mind that any and everything you do has the potential to be a blog post. I’ve seen some great one paragraph posts. Look at this one for instance. Just a little piece of news that he was repeating. But it was timely and relevant to his topic, and he was interested in the news. I don’t know if it went viral or not, but I heard about it on twitter, considered the information valuable and signed up to receive email updates from his blog. So I know it got some sizable audience. So one idea is that you can even repeat a piece of news, especially if its timely and you are interested in it. Interest creates energy, so that your likely to add your own additional content or “take” on the news to your post as well. When all else fails you can simply copy and paste another blog post or news story as your post, as long as you are really interested in the subject and/or it’s related to your site. Of course give full credit to the origin and a link as well. An example is what I did here. I’m highly interested in the story and also it’s relevant part of my business (I’m Re-Selling Rackspace Cloud Sites). I wouldn’t do it too often. I think I’ve done it twice here on my blog out of about a hundred posts, but it is another option.
Commenting as Sources for Posts
Here’s an additional tip I just thought of while I was commenting on someone else’s blog. I personally don’t comment that often, so it’s usually something I’m very interested in, so when I do comment, my comments tend to be long, almost like blog posts themselves. So, whenever you comment on something that you’re very interested in, consider making that comment, maybe with a little editing and copywriting, a blogpost. It may contain useful information that’s helpful to someone.
So you want to blog every day, or at least every other day, to keep you content fresh, and to grow your traffic. But just put that into your subconscious mind and see how it reacts! Slave mentality! You’ll end up not blogging at all!
Here’s a tip. Don’t think about blogging. Do something that interests you, whether that’s reading a book, watching a video, playing a game, whatever. Whatever interests you. Follow the thin gold string of your interest, your bliss. A lot of the time when I’m reading or watching something I’m interested in, it’ll spark a relevant thought in my head that I want to write about. Maybe its just something I want to remind myself of.
Don’t worry so much about what your interested in as a whole, like that thing you always here from self helpers, “What’s your passion in life?” Whoa! That’s too big of an emotional chunk for your subconscious to bite off. You’ll put that one off for days, weeks, years, forever. Instead, just ask yourself “What am I interested right now this moment?” It doesn’t have to be some big topic. It can be anything: I want to read this book or blog. I want to watch this podcast or TV show. I want to go play golf. I want to learn how to use this new computer program. I want to go see this movie. Relax. The motif in fairy tales of the rider letting loose of the reins and allowing his horse to decide where to go symbolizes the Ego relaxing and letting the soul be spontaneous.
So just follow your small interest at the moment. It will likely spark a thought that will lead to a blog post. And what’s more, following your small interests will naturally start to open doors where you didn’t know doors existed before, to quote Joseph Campbell. You’re small interests at the moment will likely coalesce into a larger shaped picture. When Einstein was young he followed his small interest in what it would be like to travel on a beam of light. That small interest lead to perhaps the most important scientific theory in history, Relativity.
Let me give you an example. Yesterday, I had absolutely nothing to write about. I had read twitter, listened to some podcasts, but nothing really sparked my interest. I had gotten kind of burned out on some of these topics. I had basically given up on the idea that I would post anything that day. What did that do? It let go of the reins of the horse in my mind. So I was sitting around and I had the small interest in posting one of my existing articles on Digg, just to see how it worked. Instead of posting on Digg, it lead me to searching for Kevin Rose and then to a video of him on an episode of Wine Library TV with Gary V. I wasn’t interested in wine, but I was interested in watching Gary and Kevin do their schtick. It was entertaining. Then one wine in particular caught my attention. So I wrote a small blog post about it simply with the interest of remembering it for myself, nothing else. And once I started writing about it, I had fun writing and inserting the photos (I like messing with photos, its just fun for me).
Now that particular post may not get any traffic to speak of, but you know some of my posts that have gotten the most traffic have come from just such spontaneous impulses.
One of my most popular posts, “How to Make a Transparent Myspace Page” came just that way. I was sitting around and just had the spontaneous interest in fiddling around with my page to make it look better. I just wanted to do something for fun. I found another blog post that taught me how to do just that. And it inspired me to write my own post, so that I could remember it and have it in my own archives in case that page ever went down or I couldn’t find again for some reason. And also because I thought others might have the same interest. That’s a key point:
Whatever interest you have at the moment, however small or insignificant if may seem, there’s bound to be others who have that same interest and are looking for more information about it.
If all of my posts had as much traffic as that one post, my daily traffic would go up 50 times I think.
Another point is that writing is a process of self discovery. Quite to the opposite, writing isn’t about telling people something. Writing is about learning and unexpectedly creating something you didn’t know that you knew because in the process of fun, the power of the subconscious mind is freed.
So to boil the tip down into one statement I’d say:
Don’t worry about blogging today. Even to the point of accepting that you aren’t. Then ask yourself, “What do I feel like doing right now?” Follow that interest of the moment. Ironically without you intending it, it’s very likely a blog post will spontaneously come out of the experience.
What do you think? I would love to hear from you.