35 Ways to Be a More Creative Blogger

by Craig McBreen · 29 comments · Blogging


how-to-be-a-more-creative-blogger1. Read great fiction.
I read business books in the a.m. and only fiction at night. Works like a charm.

2. Write down your dreams.
This post about not giving up originated from a rather odd dream.

3. Really pay attention to the world around you.
In fact try and start up conversations with strangers – cashiers, waitresses, the guy asking for spare change. Just be open to the world around you. You’ll be happier, more confident and more creative. Trust me, the more experiences you have, the more you have to write about.

4. Which leads me to James Altucher.
Just take in the brilliance he spews forth. He dispenses golden nuggets of wisdom quite often.

5. Listen to some electronic dance music while you work.
Deadmau5 is a good start. If he’s too much, tone it down with Ulrich Schnauss.

6. If you’re stuck, just sit down and start writing.
This is Josh Wilner’s method and I agree. The guy is prolific.

7. Read Stephen King’s “On Writing” 

8. Join Toastmasters.
This organization has done so much for me on so many levels. Being a more creative writer is just one.

9. Listen to podcasts.
But not just podcasts about blogging. Expand your library. A few examples:
This American Life
Star Talk Radio
The Moth
WTF
Accidental Creative

10. Read Steven Pressfield’s “The War of Art

11. Realize that just about everything Brian Clark says is true (if you are trying to market yourself online).
Read Copyblogger, nuff said.

12. Jump on over to The Sales Lion and see how successful Marcus Sheridan has become, writing like he talks. I’ve met him, and yes he’s THAT amped up all the time.

13. Write as if you were seeing the world through someone else’s eyes for a day. Pick anyone.

14. Try meditative music while you write (When you get sick of the kick-ass electronica ;)).

15. Take joy in trying to frame ANY topic so it fits within your blog’s theme.
Challenge yourself to creatively fine-tune your posts so they speak to your audience. Take great pleasure in whittling down a topic that is either fairly mundane or really out there, then putting your own spin on said topic: Look to Altucher for guidance.

16. If you watch a stellar video, listen to a super-informative podcast or see a really good movie, go back and watch, listen, but with pen in hand.
Discover the nuances and write about them. Deconstruct. Any form of media is a gold mine for blog posts.

17. When you comment on someone’s site, take the time to craft something really good.
Treat it as a mini blog post. Write out one great comment instead of five slightly average comments per day. Okay, you can write an average comment (we all do) but when a post really, really resonates with you … let it be known.

18. Get out of your niche.
Purge your reader and explore a new world of blogs. This will help you see things in and entirely different light.

louis-ck19. Watch and listen to comedians.
To me, comedians are the most brilliant communicators on the planet.
They are without a doubt, the best public speakers.
They are insanely creative and they are not afraid to speak the truth.
A good start? Listen to Louis C.K., Bill Burr or watch some old George Carlin videos on YouTube.

20. Blog upside down.

21. Read Start Your Novel.
If you need an idea to jump start your writing, John will help.

22. Add fire and emotion to your writing.
Get into it, fully. Blog with emotion.

23. Use WriteRoom, so when you write, all you see is green text on a black screen.

24. Stop trying to be perfect.
Focus less on rules, more on creativity.

25. Be more descriptive in your writing.
Don’t overcomplicate things, but use more colorful language. If you need some help, check out Ashley Ambirge, she’s cool like that.

26. When you can’t find the right word, go to Urban Dictionary.

27. Figure out when you’re most creative and reserve your writing for that time of day.

28. Just for fun, write a review of your favorite series, a new movie or that great book you just read.
You don’t HAVE to post it.

stand-up-desk29. Try standing up. I know, stand up desks are all the rage, but you don’t need to buy one.
Check out my custom job. I just enjoy writing more when I’m standing up.

30. Before you write, relieve the stress in your body.
Run up and down the steps, walk, mediate, do yoga, breath. Scream your lungs out. Just do something so you’re more relaxed when you start typing.

31. Write with good old pen and paper.
Writing long-hand sure works for Neal Stephenson.

32. Stop waiting and just do.
Like anything else, planning needs to stop at some point. Write! Ralph Dopping pointed me towards Jack White. Check it out and learn to be creative, then write the most creative post of your life.

33. Write a list post, just for fun. (Don’t stop me, I’m on a roll).

34. Read every day.

35. Just write, as often as you can.

Craig is Principal of McBreen Design. A Seattle Branding and Design firm which helps small companies bring their purpose to life with brand strategy, award-winning graphic design, and web design services.

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{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

Churchill Madyavanhu May 30, 2013 at 11:03 am

That’s a long list of great ideas. I have tried a few, including toastmasters. That’s an organisation I also highly recommend. Just starting without too much planning and then writing as well as reading everyday has done wonders to my creativity. Thanks for sharing.
Churchill Madyavanhu recently posted..How to create Twitter listsMy Profile

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Craig McBreen May 30, 2013 at 5:42 pm

Hi Churchill,

Yes, Toastmasters is great. Sounds like you have a great plan! Thanks for visiting.

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Joe May 30, 2013 at 11:24 am

Electronic dance? I’m not sure if I could do that… :)

But writing down dreams, reading Marcus and Altucher, “On Writing” a couple of times, and I just finished the Pressfield book (genius) last month. Check, check, and check. I really need to read more fiction (starting with “Fight Club”), and to be less lame with comments that I leave. I find that I’m just sharing more than commenting lately with a perceived time crunch. Hopefully, this will count as an interesting “mini-post”.

28 intrigues me. My wife and I have rediscovered an old favorite album, The Clash’s “London Calling”, which I think is arguably the greatest rock album ever recorded. Maybe an on-line review will be in order after our fill of repeated listens. I’m not sure if my writing could do this musical masterpiece justice.

30. Push ups before writing. Always. Sometimes during writing!

Sweet (list) post!
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Craig McBreen May 30, 2013 at 5:46 pm

Hi Joe,

Yes, I listen to everything :)

“On Writing” is special stuff. I keep going back to it. “The War of Art” is my favorite, kick in the ass “self help” book (best one ever, really).

Ah yes, “Fight Club.” Great suggestion.

I would love a review of “London Calling.” That one brings back memories, man.

Give me 20, Sir!

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Bell May 30, 2013 at 2:07 pm

I wasn’t expecting the shout-out at #21, so, what a surprise. Thank you, Craig.

There’s a lot here I want to respond to, so I’ll be back later. I just didn’t want to postpone my thanks.

By the way, I use WriteMonkey, which is free, has tons of customization options and understands markdown, which I consider a definite plus. Also, no installing involved. Hyper-light little windows app that runs straight from the executable file.
Sometimes the spartan quality of it inspires me, the way WriteRoom inspires you.
Bell recently posted..Dr. Gorki’s Number One Life TipMy Profile

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Craig McBreen May 30, 2013 at 5:41 pm

Hi John,

You deserve it!

WriteMonkey sounds like something I would love. I’ll check it out. Thanks!

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Ryan Hanley May 30, 2013 at 2:27 pm

Craig,

Great list dude… Very great list.

I like how you started the tone with reading fiction. Fiction writers have a completely different cadence to way they write than non-fiction (or at least most non-fiction writers). Think spoken English versus Japanese.

Additionally fiction writers are focused on making their thoughts visible through the use stories. A “tactic” that works extremely well in non-fiction writing but most people never attempt.

All the best,

Hanley
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Craig McBreen May 30, 2013 at 5:43 pm

Hi Ryan,

Yessir! Great points. I really like the way Dan Pink writes his business books.

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Gina Valley (@GinaValley) May 30, 2013 at 10:53 pm

For me #30 – relieving stress is the most important. I use the loud, fast music to help with that.

#32 – stop waiting and just do is a big one, too. I tend to obsess about being totally ready if I don’t just force myself to begin.

Great list!
Gina Valley (@GinaValley) recently posted..Sometimes Juice SpillsMy Profile

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Craig McBreen May 31, 2013 at 10:27 am

Hi Gina,

Yes, that is huge for me too!

#32 is my biggest, really. Kind of writing to myself as well as everyone else :)

Thanks for stopping in!

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Julie Barrett May 31, 2013 at 3:04 am

Craig, Thank you, there is a ton of inspiration here! I usually try to focus on events of the week, but when the week gets too heavy it can be tough to decide what to write about when sharing is not appropriate. That is when I turn to music, dream interpretation, working out, a moment of video games, comedians, other genres…just to kick out the old energy and bring in a refreshing change of brain. So many suggestions, I can’t wait to try them out now that the season has changed and the heat is upon me. Summer is a great time to create products for the site since things always seem to calm and slow down in blogging…so maybe a swim and WriteRoom??
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Craig McBreen June 1, 2013 at 3:36 pm

Hi Julie,

Glad you enjoyed! Yes, it’s great to kick out the old energy and bring in something new and exciting. Like the way you phrased that.

Sounds to me like you have a plan :)

Thanks for stopping in.

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Suddenly Jamie May 31, 2013 at 7:04 am

LOVE your list, Craig! This is fabulous. I want to work my way from #1 to #35

Might I also recommend the excellent podcast of Brad Reed – Inside Creative Writing? It’s brand new & I’m learning so much.

I wrote about it here: http://nhwn.wordpress.com/2013/05/16/run-dont-walk-to-listen-to-inside-creative-writing/

Seriously good stuff. :)

Write on!
Suddenly Jamie recently posted..Summer – The Season of MusicMy Profile

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Craig McBreen June 1, 2013 at 3:39 pm

Hi Jamie,

Thanks!

I’ll check out Brad’s podcast. Always looking for new shows.

Will check out your post and thanks for stopping in!

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Mark May 31, 2013 at 7:36 am

Great tips, insights and resources to keep your creative groove on, Craig!

James is quite the read. Raw describes him best :o

Have a great weekend, sir : )
Mark recently posted..5 Tips to Stay Ahead When Marketing Your BusinessMy Profile

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Craig McBreen June 1, 2013 at 3:39 pm

Hey Mark,

Thank you, Sir!

I kinda like Raw though ;) You have a good one too!

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Kenna Griffin May 31, 2013 at 9:12 am

Craig,

Thanks so much for including my reading advice here. This is a wonderful list. We all can be reminded of ways to stay creative and fresh. I’m happy to report that I do many of these things and will add others.
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Craig McBreen June 1, 2013 at 3:41 pm

Hi Kenna,

You’re welcome.

We have to stay fresh, and these practices work for little old me. Glad to pass them on.

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Josh May 31, 2013 at 11:04 am

Love the list and appreciate the shout out. So many good pieces of advice here.
Josh recently posted..Do You Know How To Say No?My Profile

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Craig McBreen June 1, 2013 at 3:42 pm

Josh,

Thank you. Whenever I tell myself to “just write,” I think of you.

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Mary Stephenson May 31, 2013 at 3:36 pm

Hi Craig

So I could write you a one line comment. Great post or great list. But since I need to make this a comment of interest and I really did read your list, it shall have to be longer!

List # 2, 3, 17, 22 and sure there are others that play a big part in writing. I think the more I write, the more I learn how to write. Well at least I hope so, or this would become quite frivolous or mundane.

I started writing for a way to translate my thoughts of being laid off and the emotions of dealing with a dysfunctional workplace. Out of this came a peace which I doubt would have been acquired without some deep soul searching. So the journey has been an interesting one. Had this crazy compelling desire to learn more about psychology (probably from having also lived in a dysfunctional family) and was able to find a tremendous resource which has also helped me to create.

Hey, I once read, if you blog you are a writer. Are we ready for the “Best Seller” list, probably not and probably not ever, but if we can carve out a little niche in this world we must be writers.

Mary
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Craig McBreen June 1, 2013 at 3:49 pm

Hi Mary,

Glad you read the post in full ;)

#2 – Yes, dreams can be fun. #3 is a big one for me and really does help you in so many ways, especially if you tend to be shy. #17 … well you doing that right now :) #22. Yes! Fire!

Yeah, isn’t it amazing how many of us started this practice, not realizing it would become such a journey? A blog can be catalyst for so many things and learning, deep learning is one of them.

Cheers to carving out our own little niche! Thanks.

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Ralph June 1, 2013 at 3:50 am

Thanks for the shout out Craig.

That little interview with Jack White was f**king brilliant! He couldn’t be more right and it certainly paid off for him is spades. Thanks for sharing that.
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Craig McBreen June 1, 2013 at 3:50 pm

Hi Ralph,

Yes, Jack White is one cool dude. In fact one of his best interviews was by another guy I mentioned, Marc Maron on WTF.

Thanks for stopping in.

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Ashton Aiden June 15, 2013 at 9:11 am

Great list of very useful and creative ideas! I love the tip for writing with good old pen and paper – this does seem to help a lot in making you a lot more creative. I am a big fan of using meditation music and brainwave entrainment, too; both to help you relax and boost your creative energy and concentration.
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Craig McBreen July 25, 2013 at 2:46 pm

Hi Ashton,

Thank you! Good old pen and paper has helped me so much. Good points. I often use meditation / ambient music when I’m writing and it does help.

Thanks!

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