So you’ve created your blogging plan. You have a good idea to write about.

You sit down, open your blogging platform, create a new post…and then what?

You can read lots of articles about the perfect blog post (like this one from Buffer, for example).

You know exactly how many words should go in your headline. You are prepared to put a tweetable somewhere in your post to make it more shareable. You’re going to write short paragraphs to make it more readable.

But before all that, you have to start writing.

Here’s the thing: blogging is an art form. It’s about sitting down day after day to create.

And even though there are plenty of experts out there who can tell you how they’ve made it big in the blogging world, they can’t tell you what your unique contribution will be.

So instead of focusing on checking off each element of the perfect post, think about what you have to say that is honest, unique, and needed.

[Tweet “What should you blog about? Something that is real and honest.”]

A 5 minute timed writing exercise can really help loosen your mind and get you ready to write.

Have you heard of Natalie Goldberg? She’s written lots of books about developing a writing practice.

The goal behind writing practice is to get to know your own unfiltered mind. It can be hugely helpful when you’re staring at the blank screen, worrying about what to write about.

Here are the 7 rules:

1. Keep your hand moving.

2. Lose control.

3. Be specific.

4. Don’t think.

5. Don’t worry about spelling, punctuation or grammar.

6. You are free to write the worst junk in the world.

7. Go for the jugular. (Meaning, write what hurts, write what is hard.)

The rules of writing practice

Why these rules? Because they let you cut through the resistance, ignore your internal editor, and just write.

So if you’re struggling to write today, try these 5 minute timed writing exercises (and follow Natalie’s rules)

I really want to write about…

I have lots of blog topics saved to write about, but sometimes, I just don’t feel like writing about them. Or I may want to choose a different one than I had planned for, because that’s the one that speaks to me in the moment.

When you write to what you’re drawn to in this moment, your post will have more power behind it. Try this: Write, I really want to write about…and complete the sentence. Then set a timer for 5 minutes and write whatever comes up.

Right now, I feel…

Your feelings hold a lot of power. And people will connect with your blog if it’s driven by genuine emotion. Focus on your feelings about the topic you’ve chosen.

Start by writing, Right now I feel… and then go for it. Don’t let yourself stop typing for the next 5 minutes.

When all else fails, imagine a reader and start writing.

Imagine your ideal reader sitting down to read your post. What does she need to learn today? (Or, if you haven’t created a reader, imagine what you would want to read.)  Then set a timer and write for 5 minutes without stopping. Write whatever comes up.

Once you’ve done your 5 minutes, take a deep breath and look over what you’ve written.

Don’t judge it for the quality of the writing. Instead, focus on the thread of thought running through it. Then write about that for your blog post today. Or just let it guide you.