Feeding the Content Monster
I don’t mean the happy, contented monster. I suppose that one wouldn’t need any feeding.
I mean the concept of adding content regularly.
I enjoy writing about as much as, perhaps, any blogger. But sometimes the words just don’t come. And, in the meantime, you need to be pumping out content! C’mon, chop chop! What the devil is wrong with you? Why aren’t you yammering, 24/7, like you’re supposed to?
Egad, it’s enough to put you off your feed. Or, at least, put you off blogging.
Case in Point
I write for the Examiner. Here is a nice recent post I wrote. I like writing, and I enjoy writing about my weight loss. However, there are days when I’m just not feelin’ it. It does not help when I have gained some weight (a perfectly normal part of weight loss maintenance, I might add).
I am supposed to post every month. And I do so. I like having an active status there, even if it’s fairly marginal these days. It’s not like I was buying groceries with my big earnings from there. And, truthfully, I was paid one time. It wasn’t a lot, although it was a thrill. These days, I am looking for an actual salary for my musings. Hence a pittance from the Examiner, while considerably better than a kick in the teeth, is not cutting it anymore.
And it’s not enough for them, anyway. Instead, they send me a reminder every two weeks.
This being constantly reminded is not giving me content ideas. Going to their content idea bank isn’t really giving me ideas, either, although I know they are trying and I do not fault them for that. I tend to zig when I should be zagging (or perhaps it’s the other way around). And, in the meantime, being prodded every fortnight is not making me a happy blogger.
Instead, it’s making me feel like I’m listening to a spoiled, petulant child who is dissatisfied with what I have provided, and only wants more, more, more!
So far as I’m concerned, there are three real solutions for feeding the monster.
- Make a list, brainstorming, of everything that could possibly, ever, be associated with your topic. This list will change as time goes by, as you evolve, as the sun sinks slowly in the west, etc. etc. Refer to the list often, and record when you’ve written about a particular subtopic. Let’s take my weight loss column, shall we? The list includes things like carbs, aerobic exercise, running 5K races, shopping for clothes, etc. If I last wrote about clothes shopping in 2010, then there’s no reason why I can’t write about that activity again. If I last wrote about it last week, though, then forget it. It’s time to cast about for something else. Keep updating the last, even splitting out larger topics if that’s appropriate. The subject of clothes shopping could be divided by season. Or there could be one post just devoted to buying a swimsuit.
- Strike while the iron is hot. That is, if you’re feeling inspired, don’t just write the current blog entry. If you’ve got the time, write the next five. Just go until you run out of gas. Any blogging software worth its salt provides the ability to schedule posts in advance. Take advantage of this.
- Repurpose, repackage, reply, rethink. Go online. Look at others’ takes on your topic. There are few new topics under the sun. Someone has written about your topic – I can practically guarantee that. And that’s fine. So long as you are not out and out plagiarizing, I don’t see anywhere where it’s forbidden to reference someone else’s blog or article on a topic and then expand on it.
Nourish the beast when you can, for there will be fallow times, and you need to be prepared for them. And, when it works for you, even silence can be golden. After all, if you’ve got absolutely nothing to say, who needs to hear that?