Here’s a great question I’ve been asked many times:
I really want to start a blog, but I’m not a writer, and I just don’t know what to write about…
Obviously, blogging involves writing, and I totally understand the fear or lack of interest that comes along with the idea of having to write for your website on a regular basis.
After all, you’re a photographer, not a writer.
But, like it or not, writing for your blog is one of the best things you can do for your photography business.
It shows your personality and enthusiasm for what you do, and it gives people a place where they can connect with you on an emotional level.
But you still have to get over the barriers to getting started, right?
Here are 7 tips to help you overcome these hurdles, and get you on your way with writing a powerful blog for your photography business…
#1: Don’t Be Intimidated!
There’s a reason this tip is number one…
I believe feeling intimidated by the challenge is the number one barrier holding people back from starting a blog.
Actually, it stops a lot of people from doing many things in life, but that’s a whole other story.
It’s normal human nature to fear putting oneself “out there” and, by doing so, to render yourself open to possible criticism.
This was certainly at the forefront of my mind when I started to blogging.
I procrastinated for a while, imagining all the horrible things that might happen if people reacted negatively to what I had to say, and how embarrassing that could be.
But then I realized we all have a voice, an opinion, and a unique perspective on just about everything.
There’s no way to please everyone at the same time and, to be honest, some disagreement can be a good thing, as long as it remains professional.
However, you’ll be writing blogs about your photography, your clients, your personal experiences, and photographic adventures.
Hardly the kind of material likely to spark off heated debates!
So, don’t sit there thinking about writing a blog.
Take action, and do it.
Merely thinking about doing something accomplishes nothing.
Put aside any fear or anxiety you might have about starting a blog, and step past it in faith, knowing you have the intelligence, drive, and the will to do it.
You’ll soon learn that the “reasons” that were holding you back were nothing more than smoke.
#2: Blogging Is Communicating
Having decided that you’re going to start a blog, the first thing to be aware of is that “blogging is communicating“.
That might seem obvious, but writing a blog is no different to talking to someone and having a friendly conversation.
Therefore, when you’re struggle to think what to write, you might be mistakenly thinking you need to be too business-like or formal in your writing.
This restricts your thinking process too much, and you can end up feeling frustrated.
Forget about the business side of things for now, and just write as though you’re talking to someone in person.
Let your “voice” come through, so your reader can get a sense of who you are.
Put some emotion into what you write, too, and don’t be afraid to reveal a more vulnerable side of yourself, especially when it comes to expressing your own emotional responses to the photographs you create.
I’m not saying it’s easy, as I know only too well how hard it can be, but it does get easier and you can become better at it with practice.
#3: Know Your Audience
In all forms of communication, the most important thing is to know your audience.
Who are they, what do they want to hear, and why are you communicating with them?
When are they at their most receptive, and what style of communication is going to resonate most with them?
The answers to these questions will be a tremendous asset when it comes to writing your blog.
If you have a good feel for the personality of your readers then it makes it a lot easier to talk to them in such a way that you both feel as though you’re on the same wavelength.
Having said that, it’s also important to remain true to your own personality.
For example, many of your readers will be clients you’ve worked with, or interacted with personally.
If your writing style conveys a very different personality, or speaks in a totally different voice to the “you” they experienced in person, then it can create a disconnect that may harm your personal brand.
#4: Finding The Time
This one is a biggie!
I would guess this is right up there at the top of the list of excuses for not writing a WordPress blog such as “I don’t have time“, “I’m too busy“, and so on.
Unfortunately, “not having the time” for something really is nothing more than an excuse to try to let you off the hook.
We have little difficulty finding the time to do stuff we really like doing, don’t we?
Therefore, you have a decision to make.
Do you want to improve your business? If so, are you willing to put in the effort and, yes, the time to do what it takes?
Some sacrifice might be required to get this thing going, but if you work at it, and it helps your business thrive, then won’t it be worth the effort later on when you see the rewards?
Just like you, I’m a very busy person myself. I was up at 5am this morning writing this post, but that’s my choice and I actually enjoy doing it.
I’ve been doing it for so long now that it’s become a habit.
Now, I’m not saying you should be up at 5am every day writing blog posts, but you may need to put in a little extra effort here and there.
#5: Coming Up With Ideas
Another big block for people is the “I don’t know what to write” excuse.
And I’m not kidding when I use the word excuse, because that’s exactly what it is.
For example, the late Isaac Asimov, a greatly respected American science-fiction author, was a prolific writer indeed.
He wrote every day, no matter where he was, and I believe averaged 1000 words a day—every day—for his entire life. Considering that he probably wasn’t writing for the first few years at least, that means he churned out a lot!
Someone once asked him, “where do you get your inspiration?” Asimov didn’t hesitate before answering, “what’s inspiration? If I sat around all day waiting for that, I would never write anything!”
For him, and the majority of other writers, he had to work at it, and he made a conscious effort to come up with ideas for his stories and books.
They didn’t just materialize from some mysterious muse.
The same is true for blogging.
There’s no inspirational fairy who visits me in a morning to give me a great idea for writing.
I have to switch on my brain and think, which can be a hard thing to do in a morning sometimes, especially if I’ve just discovered that I ran out of coffee 🙂
If you’re looking for inspiration, then look around you.
You can find it in the conversations you have with your clients, the things they say, something you might hear, see or read.
It’s on TV, in the news, on Facebook, other blogs, questions you might get, or just simply your own thoughts and creativity.
The important thing is to become aware of it—tune in, as it were.
It’s a good idea to keep an idea file where you can store half-finished ideas or things you might want to visit in the future.
Carry a voice recorder with you, or just use your smartphone to jot some notes down.
I’m not here to tell you what to write, but if you’re out there creating photographs for people, then there are ample stories you can use right there.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, well why not write them down?
#6: Don’t Over-Edit
This is a quick, but nonetheless important tip:
Go easy on yourself and your editing.
What do I mean, exactly?
We don’t edit our personal face-to-face conversations (although sometimes it wouldn’t be a bad idea!).
We can’t cut and paste what we say, or go back and change something to make it sound better. It just comes out, and we deal with the consequences.
Now, I’m not saying you should write a blog exactly like that, but since it’s another vehicle for your voice, you should be economical with the editing.
If you tinker around too much with the text, trying to get it just right (which is nigh on impossible anyway), you run the risk of sterilizing it, and stripping your personality from it.
For example, when I’m writing the articles for this blog, including this one, I sit down and write it out in Word from start to finish.
Then I will go back one time and read it through, correcting any spelling errors, missed words, and perhaps rewording a couple of things here and there.
This is not because I’m lazy, but because I don’t want the article to lose its sense of freshness by overworking it.
It’s a bit like pastry—work it too hard and the result isn’t good!
#7: Dealing With Writer’s Block
Writer’s block will show up sooner or later—it’s a fact.
We’ve all had it at some point, some more than others.
It’s that awful feeling you get when you sit down to write, all primed and ready to go, and…
No matter how hard you try, you just can’t get started, the words don’t come out right, and the page remains empty or filled with stuff you’re just not happy with.
What can you do in this situation?
How can you get the creativity flowing again?
The first thing you should do when faced with a bad case of writer’s block is to not allow yourself to get stressed out over it.
Getting worked up, and worrying about it, will only make it worse, not better.
Just take a deep breath and realize you’re not the first writer to suffer this.
In fact, there are very few people out there, if any, who could honestly say they’ve never suffered from it.
There’s certainly few things more intimidating or annoying than an empty Word document or a blank screen, with nothing more than that flashing cursor sitting there almost taunting you.
Switch it off and walk away.
That’s right, get yourself out of that never-ending vicious cycle and break away.
After all, staring at a blank screen won’t achieve anything, so you may as well escape for a while to give your mind something else to think about.
Sometimes, the noise and clutter of our own minds just gets in the way of our thinking, so we need to give it a rest and let our subconscious minds get on with the work, while we do something else.
Go and do something mundane that doesn’t require much thought.
This might sound odd, but I’ve had some of my best ideas when doing housework, such as washing dishes or vacuuming.
Other Things You Can Try
- Go out for a walk…
- Play with a pet…
- Read a book (not about your writing subject)…
- Watch TV…
- Listen to music…
- Take a drive somewhere…
- Talk with friends…
- Get some chores done around the house…
- Cook something…
- Find someone else you can help with a problem of their own…
These, and a number of other activities, are all excellent ways to get your mind off the problem.
Only then can it relax and think more clearly.
Sometimes, it simply means you’re just too tired.
Even though there may be times when you know you have to get some writing done, if your brain is just too tired and exhausted, you’ll need to rest it.
You can fight it as much as you like, believe me I’ve tried too many times, but in the end you’ll lose.
So, get some sleep if need be, and give yourself permission to take some time off—not too much, though.
You don’t want to go from writer’s block into procrastination.