What is a writing frame and how can it help you beat bloggers block?
Do you find yourself sitting in front of the computer screen trying to wrangle words so they make sense? So they are persuasive? So they mean something? If so you could be suffering from the worst type of bloggers block. But it’s curable
Listen Below To Find Out How Writing Frames Can Help You Cure Bloggers Block
I suffer from bloggers block a lot, I used to joke that I suffered for 11 months out of 12 but it’s not nearly as bad anymore. However, there are still times when I’m tangled in words that refuse to make any sense. I still blog when I’m like this, it just takes much, much longer. I know I’m not alone, bloggers block can be crippling.
There are three types of block that I can identify:
1. Lack of ideas
2. Feeling like you are wasting your time with blogging
3. Not being able to make your words making sense
I’ve dealt with 1 and 2 before on the blog but the hardest one to beat is the third.
So what’s the cure?
Those of you who subscribe to my newsletter or who are regular readers will know all about my book club. Each month I pick a business read and recommend we read it together. In September we read ‘how to find your writing voice from Chris Brogan’.
The bit that really impressed me in that book was the section on writing frames.
I felt a bit of an idiot for not knowing or implementing them before but as I read his words about them I knew this could be the answer to my word wrangling.
They’re not just good for bloggers block, they’re good for blogging in general. I’m going to talk you through writing frames in this post.
Content Frames Are Structures For Your Writing
In the book Chris Brogan describes content frames as:
“… a way to think about organising your words and ideas, so that you can spend more time writing and spend less time worrying how to put something together.”
Essentially they are templates for your blog posts
It doesn’t sound much like a new idea does it? I’m sure lots of us spend time outlining our posts before we write but a writing frame goes beyond a few bullet points or lines of text. It’s a template you can apply to all your blog posts that will make writing them easier.
For an example, let’s take a look at Social Media Examiner. Look at any post on their site and you’ll find a consistent format. They’ve had hundreds of contributors yet every post looks like it fits on the site.
- There’s an introduction that starts with a question
- This is followed by an image
- The next paragraph describes what you will learn in the post
- The following paragraphs outline each idea or point in detail
- There’s a call to action image
- The final paragraph asks for input from readers
- Then finally there’s a Pinterest sharing image
There are posts that break this format but even these have their own frames. The weekly social media news posts have a consistent format as do the podcasts.
There is comfort landing on a social media examiner post, having consistency enhances their brand and makes us as readers familiar with the site very quickly. A hard job when you have so many contributors.
Content Frames Help You Write Faster And With Focus
Frames can reaffirm your brand and breed familiarity but how else can they help? What about bloggers block?
Having a frame helps you focus. When you know what the purpose of each section of your post is it’s much easier to write it. Instead of staring at a blank page we’re looking at a form, we just need to fill in the blanks.
Structure helps knock our minds back into shape and gets us thinking straight again. I’m suffering from bloggers block right now, and having a frame is helping me combat it, it works!
But content frames are also good when we aren’t suffering, when the words flow freely. You might think that structures and procedures curb your creativity but instead, they stop us going off on tangents and make sure that our beautiful words still tell the story they were intended to.
Creating Writing Frames
Have I persuaded you?
Good, the next question is how do we create a content frame?
You can create one content frame that works for all your content or, like Social Media Examiner have done, you can have a frame for each type of post you write.
Post types could include:
- Review post frame
- Tutorial post frame
- Opinion post frame
- Vlog frame
- Podcast frame
- New story frame
- Roundup post frame
Write a list of all the types of blog content you produce and aim to create a frame for each.
Step 1 – The big question
Start with one question. It’s not always an easy one to answer but once you’ve found that answer it will make your writing much easier.
The question is:
“What do you want readers to get from the post?”
The answer could be an opinion you want to get accross, an emotion you want them to feel at the end of a story or an action you want them to take.
My answer to the question for this post/podcast is that I want to persuade my readers/and listeners to
“Use content frames because they’ll save you time, make your blog consistent and cure bloggers block”
You can tell me in the comments below if you think I’ve achieved that goal.
Step 2 how will you open each post?
I described how Social Media Examiner opens each post with a question. What format do you want your opening lines to take? Perhaps you’ll start with a story, a statement, a quote.
Maybe you’ll follow this with an introduction to your topic.
Step 3 how will you end each post?
Will you summarise your post? Draw conclusions? Ask for comments? Add a call to action?
You should now have 3 elements of your frame:
1. The big question
2. The opening paragraph structure
3. The final paragraph structure
Step 4 – The Middle
You have a beginning and an end it’s time to fill in the middle.
Think about how each paragraph should move the post forward and persuade your audience of your key point.
I’m putting together a structure for my review posts at the moment. It’s a work in progress but I’m going to share it with you now as an example:
- Header Image
- Opening: Ask the question that the review post will answer
- Para 1: Brief outline of the book/product/app/service I’m reviewing
- Subheading: Why read the book/’try the app
- Para 2: What I liked
- Para 3: What I didn’t like
- Subheading: The verdict
- Para 4: Who should buy this/use this and is it worth it
- Subheading: Your Turn
- Para 5: Closing: Call for comments
- CTA banner
- Pinterest image
Step 5. Test it
Now you’ve written an outline test it, try and put it into action. My first attempt at a review post frame didn’t work so I adapted it. This one fits my style far better.
I’m kinda ashamed that I’ve not used frames before. Such a simple idea and I’m sure Chris Brogan wasn’t the first one to come up with them.
There is a downside of course and that’s finding the time to put these structures in place. Like any planning time you spend you really won’t regret it. Next time you get bloggers block you’ll be praising yourself for being so clever.
Use writing frames to save time, focus and create a consistent style on your blog. It might take a little time now to create them but it’s time well spent.
If you want to get stuck in straight away here’s my challenge for you. In the next 7 days:
1. Write a list of the types of post you write for your blog
2. Create your first writing frame
3. Test it
Before You Go
Here’s how to review a blog using iTunes:
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