For those who missed the post, ‘Tales From Under The Rainbow’ is a novel that I started writing in 2012. For 8 years, it has remained in the archives of my computer. I decided to publish the first 539 words of it on my blog and asked for feedback.
As a result, 539 words got reduced to 437 words. Thanks to feedback from Geoff Le Pard, it also has a new and (in my opinion) better opening. I hope it will hook in even more readers.
I’ve created a Page on my blog where you can read rewritten parts of the story. To access them, click on ‘Tales From Under The Rainbow‘ on the menu bar.
‘Tales From Under The Rainbow’ follows the adventures of Danny Johnson. Set in 1986, Danny is about to face life-changing events when he travels to work and live in London. You can find out more about Danny in the first part of the published story.
Each week I’ll be introducing new characters. This week, readers will be introduced to Dougie Marsh, a coach driver who plays an important part in Danny’s life.
Everyone is welcome to leave feedback on each new part.
A new part of the story will be published every week. Each one will be no more than 550 words, so it shouldn’t take up more than 10-15 minutes of your time to read and leave feedback. I will rewrite the part from the feedback and publish the new version on the ‘Tales From Under The Rainbow‘ page.
If you’d like to know more or have any questions, please don’t hesitate to leave me a comment.
Thank you for your continued support and for joining me on this journey. I hope you will stay with me and find out what and who awaits Danny Johnson in London.
Click here to read the first completed part of ‘Tales From Under The Rainbow.’
It can happen to all of us. One week you’re full of blogging ideas, only to find a week later you have no idea what to blog about.
Even I’ve suffered from bloggers’ block. And if you don’t do something about it, you may find your passion for blogging dwindling and people becoming less interested in your blog.
While generating engaging blog post ideas comes easy to some, many of us can sometimes find it challenging.
Thankfully there are plenty of easy ways to develop regular ideas that will engage your readers.
If you’re eager to break out of your ‘ideas’ block, here are a few suggestions to get you started.
1. Read and comment on other blogs.
Many bloggers do this every day, but looking at and reading other blogs is an easy way of generating ideas.
While stealing the blog posts of other bloggers is a definite no-go area, there’s no harm in using some of their ideas as a starting point. For example, I started writing and publishing blogging tips after reading blogging tips posts.
Looking at photos on a photography blog has given me ideas for blog posts and short stories.
Look at blogs similar to yours, branch out and look at entirely different blogs. While their content may be irrelevant and uninteresting to your readers, they may have ideas you can adapt.
2. Don’t just leave comments; read them too.
The comments left on blog posts can often be as interesting as the post itself. And, best of all, the comments section can be a brilliant source of ideas.
I take time to read comments that others have left because, often, what they say will spark ideas for new blog posts.
Likewise, longer comments can often be a whole blog post in itself.
Read the comments on the blog posts you leave comments on and see if anything sparks a new idea. You’ll be surprised by the results.
3. Write and publish a questions and answers post.
This is a great way to reach out to your audience and get them involved.
In my blog post Do You Have A Question About Blogging? I asked readers to leave me questions. I answered those questions in a new blog post. I also featured the blogger who asked the question.
It resulted in me getting many questions and generating many new blog post ideas.
Unfortunately, I haven’t gotten around to answering all the questions, but I know I can always go back to them if I find myself stuck for ideas on what to write.
We all have bloggers who inspire us with their blogs, so another great way to reach out is to ask for interviews and collaboration opportunities.
Don’t be afraid of approaching somebody for an interview. You’ll be surprised by how many bloggers will agree. After all, you’re offering them and their blog some free publicity.
5. Use a memo pad.
Whether on your phone or in physical form, a memo pad is essential to a blogger’s arsenal. None of us knows when ideas will strike, but when it does, be ready to write them down before the idea is lost.
Even if you don’t think an idea is currently functional, you can always go back to it at a later date. This is ideal for days when bloggers’ block hits you hardest or you’re short on time.
If you write down every idea that comes to you, it shouldn’t take long to create a helpful inventory you can refer to.
6. Get your readers involved…again.
Another way of writing and publishing content your readers will enjoy is by asking them for their input.
Ask them for their feedback on which posts they enjoy reading the most.
Check your WordPress stats, as this will tell you what your most popular posts are. You may be surprised by the results you receive.
You might discover that your readers respond and share your personal posts more than your how-to guides. You can also pitch ideas to them to see if there would be something they would be interested in reading.
This can give you endless ideas and insight into what to write next.
Encouraging their ideas and feedback is also a great way of retaining loyal readers. Just remember to acknowledge them for their input.
7. Take up a challenge.
One of the easiest ways to overcome bloggers’ block is to participate in a blogging challenge.
Over the years I’ve been blogging, I’ve participated in hundreds of blogging challenges hosted by other bloggers. They were fun and opened up new doors, which helped create new blog posts.
There are hundreds of challenges on WordPress. My post, How To Make Your Blog Standout From All The Other Blogs Out There, gives details of some of the blogging challenges I’ve taken part in.
8. Check your draft folder.
If you’re like me, you’ll probably have lots of unfinished blog posts in the draft folder of your blog. Some of mine go back a few years.
There may be many reasons why you never finished drafting those posts, but reread them and see if now is the right time to finish writing them.
Rereading them may even spark some new ideas.
These are just a few ways to stay relevant and retain your followers. Make a habit of looking for inspiration from multiple sources to keep your ideas fresh and unique. That way, you’ll never be short of ideas again.
Many bloggers encounter times when they can not find any new ideas for blog posts.
Don’t just leave comments. Read the comments others have left. They can often spark ideas for new blog posts.
Looking at photos can often create ideas for a short story, poem or new blog post.
Don’t be afraid of asking other bloggers and writers for an interview or collaboration opportunity. After all, you’re offering them some free publicity.
Check the draft folder of your blog. It may contain posts that you can finish and publish.
Encourage your audience to ask you questions. Answering questions can generate new blog posts.
Consider taking part in a blogging challenge. There are lots of challenges available that are hosted by other bloggers.
Make sure you always have something available to write down any ideas for blog posts.
What about you?
Have you ever encountered bloggers’ block?
How do you combat bloggers’ block?
Join the discussion by leaving a comment that I can respond to with more than just a ‘thank you.’
Did you enjoy reading this post? Then you may also like…
I’ve always been a fan of blogging challenges, whether it be to write something or to take a picture of something inline with a prompt or theme set by another blogger.
Not only can these challenges improve the way you write or take photos, but they put you in touch with lots of other bloggers, all focusing on the same challenge.
Recently, one blogging challenge has got me on a new road to the way I write fiction; a path I thought I’d never travel.
Not only have I been amazed by the results of this new writing journey, but so have many of my readers. They’ve given me valuable feedback about the new way I’m writing.
How did it start?
In the second week of January 2020, after Charli Mills published her 99-word flash fiction prompt, Doug, Sophie and Mike were created in my mind.
Given that I intended to say goodbye to these three characters after pressing the ‘publish’ button, I was surprised they reemerged the following week.
If you don’t know Charli Mills and the 99-word flash fiction challenge she publishes every Thursday, then take a look at her blog and introduce yourself. Better still, join in with hundreds of other writers who participate in the 99-word flash fiction challenge every week. Click here for details.
This was the challenge Charli set that week.
January 9th, 2019, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about a carried wife. Why is she being carried? Who is carrying? Pick a genre if you’d like and craft a memorable character. Go where the prompt leads!
Enter Doug, who is carrying his new wife, Sophie, over the threshold of their honeymoon suite.
Everything looks merry and happy for the newlyweds, but not all is as it seems. Two floors below, a secret festers. That’s where Mike comes into the story.
I’d given this piece of flash fiction a twist which not only did I love but so did many of my readers. Result!
You can read the piece I wrote for the challenge by clicking here.
Only having 99-words to play with made this a tough challenge, but I had no idea that Doug, Sophie and Mike would reappear again the following week.
This is the challenge Charli published the following week.
January 16th, 2019, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a protest story. It can be about a protest, or you can investigate the word and expand the idea. Who is protesting, where, and why? Go where the prompt leads!
When I read the prompt, Doug, Sophie and Mike came into my mind. Should I carry on their story from where I had left them the week before, or should I create a brand new story?
It wasn’t long before I had the answer, although it was with the help of those three characters. However, I was about to make the 99-word flash fiction challenge even harder for myself.
How I turned a 99-word flash fiction challenge into something even more challenging.
Given that I had three characters who all wanted to give their point-of-view of what was going on, I had to spilt the number of words I could use between all three. That gave me only 33 words to play with for each character.
At first, that seemed like an even tougher challenge than writing a piece of flash fiction in only 99 words, but with Doug, Sophie and Mike firmly embedded in my mind, I decided to take up my new challenge.
Fast forward a few more weeks, and I found myself writing pieces of fiction in a completely different style to what I’d been used to. It was as if I’d unlocked a door to a new writing gift.
I’d always thought that writers were in full control of the direction of their stories. However, here I was not in complete control of what was going to happen to Doug, Sophie and Mike each week.
Every time I published the next part of their story, I had to wait for Charli to post the next prompt, of which I knew absolutely nothing about until publication.
During week seven of the challenge, I’d thought I’d have to call it a day and concede defeat. This was the challenge Charli published that week.
February 20th, 2020, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about a library cat named Rainbow who escapes. Use this situation to write what happens next. Where does this situation take place, and who else might be involved? Go where the prompt leads!
As Doug, Sophie and Mike were all based in a hotel, how on earth was I going to include a library cat named Rainbow into the story?
I also thought that a cat named Rainbow was something that was more suitable to a story in a children’s book (not one that had included spiking drinks, sleeping around, and lies).
Rainbow, the cat, proved to be a big problem for me, but I wasn’t going to allow this challenge to defeat me.
After a long, hard think about the challenge, I duly sat down, wrote something and wondered if my audience would like the new direction the story was about to take.
Given that I’ve published one more episode since Rainbow the cat first appeared (and I’ve another new episode lined up), I’ll let you be the judge of whether the introduction of a cat named Rainbow into the story was a success.
Click here to read part one of the story, and follow the links to each part.
The icing on the cake
Last week, I received an email from a reader who ended their email with this –
‘…and I’ll continue to watch (with bated breath) how Doug, Sophie and Mike are doing.’
Not only do those few words tell me something, but I think they say it all.
Thank you to Charli Mills who publishes her 99-word flash fiction challenge every week.
Not only do her blogging challenges help improve the way I write but they have now pushed me to think differently about the way I write.
Click here to read this week’s writing challenge from Charli.
And a big thank you to all the other bloggers who publish blogging challenges. You’re doing such an excellent service for the blogging community.
Do you publish a weekly or monthly blogging challenge on your blog? If so, leave a link to it in the comments section.
Do you participate in blogging challenges? If so, which ones? Have they worked for you and changed the way you write or take photos? Have you had any success with them or do you think they’re a waste of time? Join the discussion and share your thoughts in the comments section.
The power of the blogging and writing communities is something I’ve never underestimated.
Ask for some support or help, and it’s guaranteed that the blogging and writing communities will gather together and help.
Needless to say, I’ve never been let down when I have asked for help or support on a writing or blogging matter. I’ve often been overwhelmed by the amount of help and support offered to me.
On December 9th, 2019, I launched my fifth annual Christmas charity appeal to the blogging and writing communities. I asked bloggers, authors and writers to leave me links to their blogs, blog posts, author pages and books. For every link left, I would donate £1 to Battersea Dogs and Cats Home.
I’m delighted to announce that bloggers, authors and writers helped me raise over £250.
During the last five years, bloggers, authors and writers have helped me raise over £1,250 for charity.
On behalf of Toby, Austin and myself, thank you very much for helping us raise money for charity over the last five years.
Do you have any examples of the power of the blogging and writing communities? Share them with us in the comments section.