Feeding the Content Monster
I don’t mean the happy, contented monster. Because 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 used to write for the Examiner. Here is a 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 was supposed to post every month. And I do so. I liked having an active status there, even if it was fairly marginal by the end. It’s not like I was buying groceries with my big earnings from there. And, truthfully, they did pay me one time. It thrilled me at the time. These days, I want an actual salary for my musings. Hence a pittance from the Examiner, while considerably better than a kick in the teeth, stopped cutting it.
And it was not enough for them, anyway. Instead, they would send me a reminder every two weeks.
This being constantly reminded never gave me content ideas. Going to their content idea bank never gave me ideas, either, although I knew they tried and did 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 never made me a happy blogger.
Instead, it made me feel like I was listening to a spoiled, petulant child who was dissatisfied with what I had provided, and only wanted more, more, more!
I gave you a Honda. And now you want a BMW? Cripes. Leave me alone, content monster.
So far as I’m concerned, there are three real solutions for feeding the content 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 old weight loss column. The list included things like carbs, aerobic exercise, running 5K races, shopping for clothes, etc. If I last wrote about clothes shopping in 2010, I could write about that activity again. If I last wrote about it last week, though, then forget it. So I would need to cast about for something else. Keep updating the last, even splitting out larger topics if appropriate. The subject of clothes shopping could divide by season. Or write 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. Just don’t out and out plagiarize. But I don’t see any laws against referencing someone else’s blog or article on a topic and then expanding on it.
Nourish the content monster when you can, for there will be fallow times, and you must prepare 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?