Everyone Gets Writers Block

By Sheldon Levine - Thursday, April 11th, 2013 at 10:00 am  

Coming up with blog topics and content isn’t easy. Especially if you’re blogging a lot. We have posts five days a week on this blog and it’s not an easy task always having something to say that we think you would enjoy. We manage to pull it off though (in my opinion anyways), but it can sometimes be a struggle.

Do you ever get writers block when trying to come up with something to blog about? Well, don’t worry because you’re not alone. I had a bad case of it while trying to come up with a topic to blog about today, but luckily it wound up serving as my inspiration as well.

I started thinking that I couldn’t be the only person who suffers from contant bouts of writers block, so I decided to see if anyone else was talking about it as well. Using MAP, our social media monitoring and analytics platform, I searched for other people talking about having writers block. Since January 1st of this year I found almost 130,000 mentions of writers block through social channels. While not an insanely large amount of of people were saying they had it, it’s also not a small amount for the past 100 days. In that time I found “writers block” mentioned in 5,299 blog posts, 285 online news articles, 4,681 forum postings and 119,461 tweets.

I then looked at those mentions over time to see if I could find a pettern in when people were talking the most about having writers block. For instance, I thought that we might see a spike in mentions around the middle of February when students were coming up on mid-term papers. While I did see a slight increase higher than most weeks towards the end of February, it wasn’t that signifficat of a mention spike. One interesting thing I did notice though was how bouts of writers block seem to fall away on the weekends. Looking at the chart below we can see that mentions of writers block rises during the weekdays and then falls significantly every weekend. Perhaps people get more creative on the weekend. Or maybe they’re just not writing then.

I then searched to see if certain areas of the world were more prone to writers block than others, and it turns out there is. The writers in the United States seem to get more writers block than anyone else (or at least they’re more prone to actually admitting it through social media than others). Of the 100 days I looked at, 54.7% of all the social mentions of writers block that I found came from the United States. People in China seemed to suffer from writers block the second most, but they only accounted for 17.9% of the conversation. Something interesting to point out is that the other countries that had a significant amount of chatter about writers block were also “Westernized” countries like the UK (8.5%), Canada (3.8%) and Australia (3.5%).

Do people in these countries actually suffer from writers block more often than people in other countries? Or are they just more prone to admitting it?

Another interesting fact I found was that women tended to admit to suffering from writers block more than men did. When I looked at the gender divide of those talking about writers block, women accounted for 59% of those mentions while men were the other 41%.

Again, this begs the question, do women suffer from writers block more often than men, or do they just admit it more often?

So, what do you do when you suffer from writers block and can’t think of something to write for your blog?

Everyone seems to have different ways to deal with this. Marcus Sheridan, also known as The Sales Lion, who we’ve talked about previously on the blog, comes up with content for his blog by writing about questions he gets from his customers. I personally take to Twitter when I have writers block to see if someone or something there inspires me towards a topic. I also talk to people like you who read this blog and will just directly ask people what they think would be an interesting topic to see on this blog. In fact, by talking to a Twitter friend yesterday was how I came up with the idea to write about writers block today.

Those are just a few ways you can get ideas for blog topics. We want to know what works for you. Leave us a comment and let us know how you get inspiration for blog post ideas when you seem to be suffering from writers block.

I’ll leave you with this little quote I found when I looked up the most retweeted tweet about writers block, which comes from the very talented singer/songwriter Erykah Badu:

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2 Responses to “Everyone Gets Writers Block”

  1. […] Sheldon Levine at Sysomos used his company’s social media analytics platform to see how often … He got some interesting results, including: Of the 100 days I looked at, 54.7% of all the social mentions of writers block that I found came from the United States. People in China seemed to suffer from writers block the second most, but they only accounted for 17.9% of the conversation. Something interesting to point out is that the other countries that had a significant amount of chatter about writers block were also “Westernized” countries like the UK (8.5%), Canada (3.8%) and Australia (3.5%). […]