Yes, I’m going to have to start by breaking my “don’t blog about blogging” rule for what is probably at least the fifteenth time in two years. But, as usual, there’s a good reason for this and hopefully it will be useful to you.
But, I will warn you that this article is like a magician revealing their secrets – because, well, it’ll teach you how to create the illusion of always being inspired – even when you have a severe case of writer’s block and/or artist’s block. And, well, the only way that I’m going to be able to explain how to do this is to give you examples of when I’ve done it recently.
Once you’ve read this, you can’t un-read it. Are you still interested?
As regular readers of this blog have probably noticed, there’s been a lot more filler content on here than usual over the past couple of weeks. There have been loads of reviews, rambles, short articles and cleverly-disguised re-hashes of things that I’ve already written about. Hell, even this article fits into the last category on this list.
In short, I’d been feeling less inspired than usual when I wrote those articles (and this article) but, like all periods of uninspiration, it was only temporary. Although, it lasted far longer than I expected – so, the next couple of weeks’ worth of articles may have more filler content than usual in them.
If you write and/or produce art regularly, then this sort of thing will happen from time to time – inspiration is a fickle thing. This is also why knowing how to create good filler content is an essential skill that every creative person on the internet should learn.
But what is good filler content?
This is probably a matter of opinion, but I’d argue that good filler content is filler content that doesn’t look like filler content. Good filler content can be made with very little inspiration and, at first glance, will appear to be no different from the “ordinary” stuff that you post online.
The fact that you’re working on the internet can help a lot too, since websites are usually read in a non-linear way. People very rarely read literally every article on a blog in exact chronological order. Likewise, if you’re making a webcomic that doesn’t tell a continuous story, then most of your readers probably won’t start at the very beginning.
What this means is that if you’re seriously uninspired and need to make some new content then you can just re-make some of your old stuff, change a few parts of it and add a couple of new things and – to most readers, it will appear fresh and new. After all, most of your readers probably won’t have read your old stuff when they stumble across your re-made article or webcomic entry via a search engine or whatever.
The article from last year was about how you shouldn’t try to write like G.R.R Martin and yesterday’s article was about how you shouldn’t try to write like Hunter S. Thompson. I changed the author I was writing about and added some humour (without changing the basic message of the article) and, hey presto! I had a brand new article in a relatively short amount of time.
You can also do the same sort of thing with webcomics too. In fact, the cool thing about doing this with webcomics is that you can easily disguise it as a “running joke” or as a sly reference to your earlier work (that old fans of your webcomic will enjoy).
Likewise, another way of creating great text-based filler content is to review things. Yes, I know, a well-crafted review can be even more difficult to write than an original article. But you don’t have to look for inspiration or new ideas when you’re writing a review – you just write down your thoughts about something that you’ve read, seen, listened to and/or played.
Another way of creating great text-based and comic-based filler content is to give your readers a glimpse “behind the scenes”. You can show your readers some of your notes, pages from your sketchbooks and stuff like that. If people really like your work, then they’ll be too fascinated to realise that you’ve basically just shown them some pre-existing stuff rather than created anything new.
Finally, one good way of creating good filler content is to make something generic – but to do it well. A well-made, but generic, website update is better than no content at all. Plus, although your readers may suspect that you weren’t feeling very inspired on that particular day, they won’t feel like they’ve been fobbed off with low-quality filler material.
Anyway, I hope that this was useful 🙂