Sometimes, no matter how strict and disciplined our posting schedules are, there are events that will forcibly push us out of our rhythm, such as family tragedies and emergency out-of-town trips (to places without good Net access, to boot). The longer the event, the more work gets piled up, and the greater the disorientation upon our return. That said, count me as one disoriented blogger. (I have been one for the past two weeks!)
In response to this problem of mine, I cooked up a list of activities which helped me ease myself back into the numerous problogging tasks on hand. Hope these can help future bloggers who’ll unexpectedly get yanked out of “the flow”.
Reading old blog posts – Days or weeks without blogging can dull your writing voice, as well as your vocabulary and wordplay. Sifting through your old posts will serve as the sniff of that familiar perfume that brings back the good ol’ memories.
Commenting on other blogs in your field – Well-written comments are like microcosms of blog posts; the views and thoughts contained within them can stand on their own for their author, and they elicit comments from other people as well. As such, writing comments can serve as an excellent warm-up drill. Go around a couple of good blogs in your niche and chip in your thoughts. This can be applied to other forms of online discussion, such as forums.
Randomly surfing the blogosphere – How many times have we posted about the blog posts written by other people? Other bloggers’ opinions are a potent fuel to fire up the hibernating blogger in you. Take a stroll around the blogosphere using Technorati, BlogExplosion, blog directories like EatonWeb, or even Blogspot’s Next Blog feature.
Why the “randomly”? Often, we are already familiar with the way of thinking and tone of the bloggers in our feed subscriptions and blogrolls. Random surfing can introduce us to something new, something that can shock and awe and draw forth the emotions, something that can trigger a blog posting frenzy, never mind the blog-rust.
Reading offline sources – Before going on blogging hiatus, I talked about getting blog content from offline sources. Whether you’re nicely tucked into your blog posting rhythm or totally out of it, offline material such as newspapers and magazines can provide the ammunition. If you’re having trouble consciously looking for something bloggable, you might want to try this: don’t actively look for what to blog. Just let it jump at you.
Managing blogs before writing – For your own blogs, do some blog management first before doing some blog posting. Doing those little design and SEO tweaks will get you into the doting-blog-owner mode fast. Don’t forget to check your visitor stats and ad revenue – if there’s a dip in either of the two, then you’ve got further reason to be inspired and blog again!
P.S. You might also want to check out Raj’s What To Do When You Lose Your Blogging Mojo. This related article dealt more with writer’s block than rustiness, but many of his tips can also be applied here.