Struggling To Turn That Article Idea Into Actual Content?

"the great gordino" "make money blogging"Does this sound familiar? You have a great idea for an article, so you sit down and fire up your favourite writing software, stare at the blank screen…and no words come! It’s happened to me on more than a few occasions, I can tell you! Here’s a great tip to get the flow started…

Nothing. Nada. Zilch. Zippo.

There is nothing more frustrating than having a great idea to write about only to find yourself unable to write about it.

It may be because you are trying to think up every sentence before you write it. It may be because you have too many ideas and can’t get them into any order. It may be because you only have the basic premise of the article but nothing to flesh it out.

I’ve suffered from all three of those problems, and it can be quite a problem indeed. Maybe you go and get a coffee, but sit back down and still nothing. Maybe you check your emails or social sites, and half an hour later go back to the blank screen that was supposed to be your article.

So, if I’ve suffered from this malaise, and it rings a bell with you too, what’s the tip I use to get past it..?

Well, I simply put something – anything – on the page to stop it being a blank screen.

Now, that may sound simplistic, it may sound pointless, but it’s *what* you put on that page that’s the key to unlocking the creation process.

You should start with ‘This is an article about xxx’Then carry on with ‘I’m not really sure how to proceed, but the point I want to get across is xxx’
Now you are off and running! Well, ok off and crawling, but you have started the article!

Maybe carry on with ‘This is what so and so said about the subject’, and ‘I think that’s relevant because xxx’, or’ I disagree because xxx’
‘You will find this useful because it will help you to xxx’
or ‘This is a great way do xxx’
Can you see how these will help you? Once you write all of these out with the answers, you have a great foundation to build on. The introduction will then come to you. The conclusion will then come to you. In fact, all sorts of ideas will come to you, because you have opened the dam!

You can then go back and edit out the generalised statements, or even leave them in if it helps – leave the editing until *after* you’ve written, don’t do it as you go along.

To develop the tip a bit further, as you write out any of the statements above, and you find that when you answer it you want to keep writing, then keep writing! Do not feel you have to go through all the statements, because the last thing you want to do is restrict yourself now that you *have* got yourself going!

If you find yourself with all sorts of other ideas coming to you, then take 2 seconds to put them in your ‘ideas’ text file, (you do have an ‘ideas’ text file, right?), and then crack on with the article at hand.

This kind of writer’s block can be so irritating, particularly when you know your idea is a good one, so don’t forget this tip – simply getting something on the page in the form of basic statements has worked for me in the past, and I’d love to hear that it works for you too!

Ok, that’s it for today!
‘Til Next Time,
health & happiness,
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P.P.S. You may enjoy another article – The Blog Writing Benefits Of Diet And Exercise!

Do leave a comment!


  • Too many ideas at once can indeed create a block. Many thanks for pinning down a way to break through the noise and get something written. It’s similar to the way I used to teach fiction-writing to students, and works every time. Genius 🙂

    Deb (popping in from UBC)

    • Thanks Deb,
      Yes, I’ve also used it for fiction writing – it really is a handy tip.
      BTW I love your url writingoutloud – that’s *another* way of getting idea into form, and another articler idea on my list!

  • Such good tips to get going on writing. If I’m writing a business blog I usually plop the keywords up at the top of the page. I know that I can make a 5 paragraph blog using 3 keywords so all I have left is the opening paragraph and the ending paragraph. That helps me.

    • Thanks Shawn,
      Oh yes, putting keywords at the top is a great twist on the technique – it really does lead the writing!

  • Great article Gordino. Coming to you from the UBC. Blogging is new to me; I’ve always wanted to write but just didn’t think I was qualified; Then it dawned on me “who really is?”. If we have something to share, we should share it. Being a new writer I have already hit the wall you are talking about so thanks so much for the tips an ideas! GREAT STUFF!

    • Hi Jeff,
      It’s a tip that really does work. I love your realisation that you are just as ‘qualified’ to write as anyone else – it’s one of the joys of the internet – keep at it!

  • Its really useful for me to remember that I don’t have to write down anything IN ORDER. We don’t use typewriters anymore (well, I don’t), so cut and paste until thoughts and ideas flow is so much easier than it once was. Thanks much, Gordon!

    Also, Shawn, keeping an eye on those keywords is a great point!

    • Hi Hannah,
      Your point about not having to write in order is a good one! Cut and paste is a wonderful tool indeed- you may well end up not using vast swathes of what you started out writing, or end up turning it into many different articles – just letting the words come out is the important access.

  • A problem we’ve all encountered! Another trick is to start out like you’re writing a letter to a friend: Dear Gordon, I wanted to tell you xxx. I think I’ll put these little prompts on index cards and put them up near my computer for when I get stuck! Thanks for the tips.

  • What a great idea to just get something, anything, down on paper. I also notice this is helpful to the writer to focus on the benefits of their article rather than just rambling on and on into bored oblivion for the reader. Kudos to you for such a fine read. Your blog posts are always valuable!

    • Thanks for those kind words Julie, I appreciate it!
      Your point about writing focus is a good one, and in fact on many occasions I have written loads only to look and realise I had drifted from the original intention.
      When that happens I normally split it up into several pieces, but it is indeed another problem that can be helped by the ‘getting something down’ technique.

  • Great tips. The first sentence can be so hard, but dive in. It’s so easy to edit on a computer. Not at all like it was on typewriters!

    • Thanks Liz,
      I’m old enough to remember typewriters, blimey they could be hard work! Even when fasncy electric ones came in!
      The first sentence down can be gibberish, but it gets past that ‘blank page’ syndrome.