Advice Blogging

How To Come Up With A Great Post When You Have Nothing

June 7, 2010

Ever have one of those days (or weeks) when you can’t think of anything worth writing about? I’m stuck in one of those right now. It seems everything that even resembles an idea is lame or just too much work.

My daughter found a caterpillar last week and it’s already built a cocoon but how do you get more than a sentence or two out of that? It also requires pictures and I just don’t feel like going through the hassle. Fear not, in a couple of weeks we will have a butterfly and I will post about it then.

I have been meaning to write a post about my love for all things The History Channel but it isn’t unfolding very well. I have the hook but nothing else.

I have lots of ideas but none of them are jumping out at me. Instead I have a blank page staring back at me and yet I must post something just to get the death of Rue Mclanahan off my front page.

So just for you dear readers, I am going to divulge my steps for coming up a with a post when there is nothing to write about.

1. Talk about the real world.

Everyone and their brother has talked about the oil leak. And they have all done it better than I could hope to.

2. Visit other bloggers.

What are your fellow bloggers talking about on their pages? Maybe you could borrow an idea from them.

3. Review something.

Anything. Review your dog’s new flea collar or the store brand dish washing detergent you just bought. Everyone really wants to know about those things, right?

4. Post your favorite recipe.

So what if no one is cooking right now, you could always post about your trip to Papa Murphy’s.

5. Write a list post.

When all else fails, write a post with a list in it telling your readers how do to something you can’t do.

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No Comments

  • Reply moooooog35 June 7, 2010 at 1:40 pm

    I would post my favorite recipe but it's nothing that people can't get from reading the back of the frozen pizza box, anyway.

    • Reply redheadranting June 8, 2010 at 12:46 am

      That might work for a post. Just put a picture of Jack's Pizza on your front page and call it good. It'd be even better if you could get them to sponsor it.

  • Reply Tracy O'Connor June 7, 2010 at 1:59 pm

    I sometimes read some of my older posts and see if there is an idea I could expand on or something that just sort of leaps out as being logically related.

    And if all else fails, go for the list post!

    • Reply redheadranting June 8, 2010 at 12:45 am

      That first part sounds like a lot of work. I don't feel like doing that right now. The lists work but pretty soon they are going to be The Top One ____.

      • Reply Tracy O'Connor June 8, 2010 at 1:03 am

        It's not really work when your old posts are such a delight to read!

        • Reply redheadranting June 8, 2010 at 1:09 am

          Well good for you! I'm bored with my self. I'd be happy to repost some of

  • Reply Comedy Plus June 7, 2010 at 2:10 pm

    I have a tough time every single day. I'm about as original as well? You get the idea.

    Have a terrific day. πŸ™‚

  • Reply Mrsblogalot June 7, 2010 at 2:34 pm

    Lol! You are the best (-:

    please add that to the list.

  • Reply Linda R. June 7, 2010 at 2:50 pm

    Jen, thanks for more help on breaking out of the writing doldrums. I fall back on pictures. I take lots of pictures so when I'm running short on ideas, I can look back at my picture folder and let them inspire me.

    Recipes are another good suggestion.

    • Reply redheadranting June 8, 2010 at 12:43 am

      I once did a recipe post, and it was fun, but I forget to take some of the pictures of the process and it doesn't work so well, look for my chocolate chip cookies waffles in the next day or so, I'm missing a picture but Babs says that okay.

  • Reply lanitamoss June 7, 2010 at 3:24 pm

    For times when the page is blank…I have backups. I think in titles…sometimes 4 or 5 a day, I start a word document with just the title, then I save it. When I can't think about what to write, I grab one of these. In other words, “make hay when the sun shines.”

    • Reply Jayne June 7, 2010 at 4:01 pm

      I do that, too, but I'm not lucky enough to get four or five a day. Still, I have a whole file of docs with just a few words on them that I rummage through from time to time and sometimes I find stuff I'd totally forgotten about. When that happens, it's like finding a $20 bill in a pocket of a pair of jeans you're about to wash. Yay!

      • Reply redheadranting June 8, 2010 at 12:41 am

        I love when that happens. Once, I was washing my ex husbands pants and found a $100 bill. The rule had always been that any money found by the person doing the laundry (always me) got to keep it. He never even noticed it missing.

    • Reply redheadranting June 8, 2010 at 12:40 am

      I write down ideas in a notebook because I can play with them when I am not at the computer. I have 4 or 5 drafts of things that never got off the ground but they were kinda timely and seem pointless now. Lucky you to be able to have so many ideas.

      Oh, and your blog isn't showing up in the comment, could you leave your URL for me?

  • Reply JD at I Do Things June 7, 2010 at 3:36 pm

    Heh. I could've used these ideas before I went and posted all my stupid college photos. Too late now.

    • Reply redheadranting June 7, 2010 at 3:44 pm

      No, that is a great post! Good thing you blacked everyone's eyes out, you wild child.

      • Reply JD at I Do Things June 7, 2010 at 3:53 pm

        Yeah, everyone's but MINE!

        • Reply babs (beetle) June 7, 2010 at 7:08 pm

          And their teeth πŸ™‚

          • redheadranting June 8, 2010 at 12:25 am

            Yeah, were you missing a tooth or something? I never lost a tooth during college but came close in high school once.

          • babs (beetle) June 8, 2010 at 12:33 am

            They were all missing a tooth in the group shot! Someone was busy with a felt tip pen I think.

          • redheadranting June 8, 2010 at 12:36 am

            I'll have to go back and take another look, it only looked like JD was
            missing a tooth. It wouldn't have surprised me with all the poppers going

  • Reply Jayne June 7, 2010 at 4:02 pm

    I have days like that all the time. It's always a surprise when I'm minding my own business and an idea smashes into my brain. But then I'm always sure it will be the last one I ever have. Such is the life of a writer.

    • Reply redheadranting June 8, 2010 at 12:33 am

      Thanks, I hadn't thought of it that way ever, I always assumed another one would come along eventually. Now I have more to worry about.

  • Reply Pricilla June 7, 2010 at 4:25 pm

    Baby goats are ALWAYS popular too.
    Stick up a photo of a baby goat and the world goes Awwwwww.

    • Reply redheadranting June 8, 2010 at 12:24 am

      I'm gonna do that, thanks for the great idea. Can I borrow a photo of one of the kids?

      • Reply Pricilla June 8, 2010 at 12:52 am

        Any time you want!

        • Reply redheadranting June 8, 2010 at 12:56 am

          I think I might have to post one of my nephew because he was so adorable.
          Seriously, how to you just not get stopped cold with all the cuteness you
          have going on that farm? I know I have asked you this before but I don't
          think I would ever get anything done. Unless the smell changes the cuteness
          level a little bit. I bet it's totally different when you can smell them.
          They probably aren't as cute when you are standing in their cute little poop
          all day.

          • Pricilla June 8, 2010 at 1:00 am

            No, the little ones don't smell. The big ones don't really smell that badly either. Only Luke when he goes into rut.

  • Reply joannmannix June 7, 2010 at 5:38 pm

    Hi Jen,

    I'm back from my week off and so happy to be here even if you've got nothing to say.

    See, I feel like all I do is write crap about nothing. I feel like I'm too Jerry Seinfeld, “It's a show about nothing.”

    I love lists of things. I always get so inspired from those. I'm thinking of doing a list of things I hate. I hate a lot of things. I am full of hate. Feel free to borrow.

    And I hate, (See how easy it is. The hate just rolls off my tongue.), the whole pic thing, too. It's such a hassle with the taking and the uploading and the blaa, blaa, blaa.

    I think I'll go get started on that hate list now.

    • Reply 00dozo June 7, 2010 at 6:44 pm

      (Pssst, Joann: I'ts “yadda, yadda, yadda”, not “blaa, blaa, blaa” πŸ˜‰

    • Reply redheadranting June 8, 2010 at 12:32 am

      Yay, you're back! I already have a lot of posts about what I hate. The problem is I'm fickle, what I hate today I probably won't hate tomorrow. Thankfully, because then everyday I'd write about an ex husband.

  • Reply Linda Medrano June 7, 2010 at 5:56 pm

    I too think in titles but unfortunately a lot of my titles sound like bad country western songs: “You said you were jogging but you were just running around.”

    • Reply redheadranting June 8, 2010 at 12:30 am

      Mine would have been “unless someone is chasing there ain't no reason to run”.

  • Reply Surfie June 7, 2010 at 6:43 pm

    This is pretty much every day for me. That's why I stopped trying to write a post every single day. I'm always in awe of those bloggers who not only blog consistently but brilliantly. I'm sure they put a lot more work into their blogs than I do in mine though.

    • Reply redheadranting June 8, 2010 at 12:30 am

      I haven't done a post a day in a long time, I think I'm averaging about three a week and those are like pulling teeth lately.

  • Reply 00dozo June 7, 2010 at 6:49 pm

    Heh heh. I've had those days – was even going to post a “blank page” for Theme Thursday's “White” prompt. I like to check out the comments on my blog list – this generally gives me an idea or two.

    • Reply redheadranting June 8, 2010 at 12:29 am

      I've thought about doing the blank page post but figured I'd get a ton of comments telling me something was wrong with my server or something.

  • Reply babs (beetle) June 7, 2010 at 7:10 pm

    Ha ha! I chose to post about my cats. I might post some photos soon, unless a good idea pops in my head in the meantime.

    • Reply redheadranting June 8, 2010 at 12:28 am

      I'd do a photo post but it's just kind of a hassle unless I already have the photo I want to use on my desktop, which would mean I have to write a post about the chocolate chip cookies we tried to make in the waffle iron.

      • Reply babs (beetle) June 8, 2010 at 12:32 am

        Chocolate chip cookies in a waffle iron? You have a picture of it? You must post that!

        • Reply redheadranting June 8, 2010 at 12:35 am

          I do but I forgot to take a picture of us flattening out the cookie dough so
          it's only the after pictures. I could redo it but it made a huge mess and I
          don't really want to do it again, though the cookies cooked fast and they
          tasted pretty good.

          • babs (beetle) June 8, 2010 at 12:40 am

            And now I'm jealous. We don't bake cookies and cakes in this house. As there are only two of us, we would have to eat them all, and then we would get even fatter than we are.

            The after picture would do. You can just tell us about the mess.

          • redheadranting June 8, 2010 at 12:42 am

            Okay, that will be my next post. Makes it really easy.

          • babs (beetle) June 8, 2010 at 12:42 am

            Great πŸ™‚

  • Reply Sam Liu June 7, 2010 at 8:16 pm

    Oh how often I have found myself in this terribly frustrating situation, it really is a pain when you simply cannot string together a coherent post. Your list is really rather helpful, I have a feeling I'll be referring to it in the future πŸ˜€

    • Reply redheadranting June 8, 2010 at 12:27 am

      It is frustrating, and I fear it might last for a while. Wish I had better ideas, though it looks like a lot of people had some really great ones.

  • Reply JunkDrawer June 7, 2010 at 10:03 pm

    Man, I don't know what it is lately, but I'm really struggling to find things to write about. I was getting to the point where I wanted to grab some random person and interview them. “Hey, tell me something interesting about yourself. I need material!”

    I wish I could do list posts, especially because they seem to be so popular. But I can never think of enough items for whatever the topic is to get a list past three items. That's not a list, it's a Post-It note.

    Thinkin' of paying Jaffer to ghost write for me. Do you think he'd do it?

    • Reply redheadranting June 7, 2010 at 10:34 pm

      Jaffer could make a mint off ghost writing, I'd hire him in a heart beat.

      I like the list posts but they are everywhere, which just goes to show you
      that everyone is struggling to come up with something to say. I can't do
      more than five and usually after the first two or three it becomes
      challenging. I am sick to death of the post it note thing. I could make a
      post out of it.

  • Reply Nicky June 7, 2010 at 11:20 pm

    You could always talk about cheese. Everybody loves cheese. And it's so versatile. Look how well it fits into your list:
    1) Talk about the real cheese
    2)Visit other cheeses
    3)Review cheese
    4) Post your favourite cheese recipe
    5)Write a list of cheese

    There you go. 5 potential posts for you. You're welcome.

    • Reply redheadranting June 8, 2010 at 12:26 am

      But you already do the whole cheese thing! And you do it so much better than I could ever hope to. However:
      Pepper jack
      Sharp cheddar
      Kraft singles

      • Reply Nicky June 8, 2010 at 2:02 am

        Yes, we do cheese. But there's no such thing as too much cheese! And if I may say, that list of cheeses is absolutely brilliant! If you ever feel like guest blogging, we could lose the key to Jepeto's cage…

        • Reply redheadranting June 8, 2010 at 2:08 am

          I would love to guest blog but that was all I have for cheese. You could
          post that, it's summer, no one would notice.

  • Reply sheilasultani June 8, 2010 at 1:39 am

    or write a post about not knowing what to write about. You see what I did last time I couldn't come up with a post – I created National I Can't come up with a post day – I wish I could give away money every day, that's a fun post to write.

    • Reply redheadranting June 8, 2010 at 1:44 am

      Me too! I wish I could win one of those contests everyday. That was awesome!

  • Reply themother June 8, 2010 at 1:42 am

    My favorite: wait for your husband or kids to say something stupid. Works every time.

    • Reply redheadranting June 8, 2010 at 1:43 am

      The ex husbands say something stupid every time they open their mouth
      (that's just the kind of mood I am in today). The kids usually just catch me
      saying something stupid.

  • Reply Janiss June 8, 2010 at 3:19 am

    That was just fab! Now if only Reddit will let me post it (I am having verification problems with them, for some reason).

  • Reply Joe Cap June 8, 2010 at 3:45 am

    You really should take pics of the caterpillar, and document its transformation into the beautiful flying creature it will soon become.
    You can add a cool commentary to all the pictures.

    • Reply redheadranting June 9, 2010 at 1:11 pm

      I will take a picture when it comes out of the cocoon but right now it isn't doing much of anything. We've done this before and I do have pictures so I could always use those.

  • Reply lauresal June 8, 2010 at 4:35 am

    Speaking about the real world is a great idea, but which world is real? Here or there?
    And which one is here, and which one is there? I fear that I'm stuck between two worlds. So, I should have lots to talk about, right? Unfortunately, being stuck between two worlds prevents me from reaching the keyboard.

    • Reply redheadranting June 9, 2010 at 1:10 pm

      I'm not sure which one is real also. I much prefer this one to the other one but my ass doesn't.

  • Reply Blythe June 8, 2010 at 4:48 am

    The real world is much too depressing. Fantasy take-offs are much more fun.
    Rants are easy. Everybody needs a soapbox. Solutions? That's a little more creative.
    Make a list not of things you Can do, but of things you should Not do – e.g., 5 things Not to do with bacon. (yuk)
    Blogging is all about attitude – so if you need an attitude adjustment, you probably know where to get one – and that might be something we'd enjoy reading about πŸ™‚

    • Reply redheadranting June 9, 2010 at 1:04 pm

      I love the 5 things not to do with bacon, that might actually be controversial because a lot of folks steadfastly believe that there is nothing you can't do with bacon.

      I've needed an attitude readjustment for a couple of decades now. If I ever figure out how to adjust it I will certainly post about it.

  • Reply Christine June 8, 2010 at 10:28 am

    I have done 1, 2, 3 & 5 in the past week. I sooo appreciate #4 b/c I'm running out of ideas for nablopomo (&I'm only 8 days in…gah)
    You could always post a haiku or do a wordless WEEK out of desperation. (btdt)

    • Reply redheadranting June 9, 2010 at 1:09 pm

      I could post other peoples haikus but I can't write my own. So does Worldless Week mean just a week of no posting?

  • Reply Stacy (the Random Cool Chick) June 8, 2010 at 12:56 pm

    Number 5 totally cracked me up. You're genius! πŸ™‚

    • Reply redheadranting June 9, 2010 at 1:05 pm

      Have you noticed all the list posts I have done lately? I think summer might be a whole lot of list posts.

  • Reply dcr June 8, 2010 at 5:16 pm

    FYI, if your daughter's caterpillar has made a cocoon, you're going to be taking pictures of a moth.

    But maybe it will be a pretty moth…

  • Reply erin June 9, 2010 at 12:46 am

    I feel a list post coming on….Thanks!

  • Reply Katherine June 9, 2010 at 1:39 am

    Your last line cracked me up and it is oh so true. Once again I am super jealous of your absolute genius! You rock!

    • Reply redheadranting June 9, 2010 at 1:02 pm

      Your kids are finished with school, aren't they?

  • Reply meleahrebeccah June 9, 2010 at 4:26 am

    You rock at posting even when you have nothing to post!

    “Instead I have a blank page staring back at me and yet I must post something”

    Yep. That's where I am. I have three drafts taunting me right about now! So instead, I am playing Catch Up with everyone else's blogs!

    [And while, I'm supposed to be taking a 'blog vacation' this week, I just cant seem to stay away from your pages!!]

  • Reply ally June 9, 2010 at 4:30 am

    i'm so ashamed. tonight i couldn't think of one single thing to post, so i did a re-post from when i only had like 4 followers back in september. i need to sit down and brainstorm. i like to have three blogs scheduled at a time. for me it's not as easy because my posts are all retro posts, so i often get stuck. but your advice for bloggers is spot on!

    • Reply redheadranting June 9, 2010 at 1:01 pm

      You shouldn't be ashamed, lots of bloggers do that. It's a great way to fill space and to introduce your readers to some of your older stuff that didn't get much attention.

      “i like to have three blogs scheduled at a time.” Stop it, you are making it much harder for the rest of us.

  • Reply Momma Drama June 9, 2010 at 2:26 pm

    Thanks for the tips!

    I like to hold out a bit on the blogging awards that are passed around to use for a rainy day – or go take some sort of new “test” online and post the results… but I like to take them – I know some people hate them! lol… πŸ™‚

  • Reply Man Over Board June 10, 2010 at 1:12 am

    So true, I believe it's called bloggers block??

  • Reply Unfinished Rambler June 10, 2010 at 3:24 pm

    Also lately for me, I apply to the rule of KISS. No, not Kids In Satan's Service, silly, but Keep It Simple, Stupid. Or Keep It Short, Stupid. That means sometimes just going with the first silly thought that crosses my mind and not expounding on it too much. At least, that's the way I'm working it for my less than serious posts. I try to give a little more thought to the serious posts, but not too much thought. After all, I'm not writing a book.

  • Reply dcr June 11, 2010 at 2:14 am

    Butterflies emerge from a chrysalis, which is a type of pupa. Moths also emerge from a pupa, but many moth caterpillars wrap themselves in a cocoon before shedding their skin and forming a pupa.

    Not all moth caterpillars form cocoons. However, I don't think there are any butterfly species that form cocoons.

    Ergo, you will end up with a moth. πŸ˜‰

    • Reply redheadranting June 11, 2010 at 12:21 pm

      but isn't that semantics? I called it a cocoon but it could be a chrysalis,
      I thought they were interchangeable.

      • Reply dcr June 11, 2010 at 4:08 pm

        A cocoon is the silk or silk-like wrapping around a pupa. A chrysalis is basically a pupa without a protective wrapping.

  • Reply Anonymous November 9, 2010 at 4:46 am

    What if I stick with that list and still have nothing worth reading?
    Or combine them all into one post, and the fail becomes ever-expanding like a blog infinity symbol? And then a black vortex-like hole thing forms? What then? WHAT THEN>!>?!

    Also? Kraft singles, really? Noooo….

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