If you have a website, you ought to have a blog. While this is the norm in many industries, most people don’t consider the various problems that come with this. One of the most prominent problems is writer’s block.
The idea that despite your best efforts, you can’t seem to get the words to flow. It’s a truly depressing state, especially where many of us are expected to create content from scratch.
But the thing is that it’s to be expected that we’ll hit this point eventually. During this time, I would encourage you to continue reading, but also to consult this list of strategies for the future. These strategies will help you to get the words flowing once more.
Understand The Main Causes Of Writer’s Block
Before you can start treating writer’s block, you need to understand the causes behind it. Overall, the causes of writer’s block is all mental. It’s our brain thinking a certain way. The most common causes are:
- Timing: sometimes we need ideas to mull over for longer and forcing it won’t help.
- Self-doubt: we’re afraid of what others will think of our work or that we’re lacking knowledge or ability on the topic.
- Perfectionism: we want every sentence to be perfect. We spend more time editing the smaller details rather than keep writing things out.
- Fatigue: our mind is exhausted.
- Distractions: our environment isn’t primed for us to write.
Now you know the causes, here are some ways we can deal with these.
Get Your Body Moving
From yoga to dancing or going for a walk, exercise is amazing for us. Not only for our health but our body also releases endorphins that make us feel better and allow our thoughts to flow once more.
Change Your Writing Environment
Another suggestion is changing your environment. In this strategy you can take this two ways: in a literal sense or in a smaller scale. A literal sense is working in a different area like a coffee shop, or a different room in your home.
But not every person has that luxury, though you can still make changes.
- For example, is your desk is messy? Consider cleaning it up and organizing it.
- Do you have your phone on your desk? Consider putting into one of your drawers or out of reach.
- Do colleagues interrupt you all the time? Devote a set period of time to writing and tell your coworkers not to bother you during those times.
All of these suggestions may seem small but they curb distractions and change your environment dramatically.
Try Free Writing
What’s free writing? It’s devoting a small period of time and writing out whatever comes to mind. Think of it like brainstorming, but with no restriction on ideas. In this style you’re not concerned about punctuation or grammar or even making everything flow.
Write down random thoughts. Ideas. Quotes that speak to you. Anything.
The idea behind all this is to get your brain to think creatively. After all free writing is not so different from brainstorming. Furthermore, free writing will help you overcome any emotional problems you may have experienced.
Correcting spelling, grammar and flow is one thing, but there comes a point where we put way too much effort in making everything sound perfect. Putting in too much effort in making the greatest first draft sounds nice at first but that task can devolve into hours on an article.
And you know what? The first draft is still going to be mediocre at best.
There will always be something that you wish you said or thought of a better way to say or present an idea or concept. But there is a time and place to do all of the editing. When you are getting into writing, the core thing is to focus on filling the page with your words.
Don’t worry about rewriting, editing or refining. All of that can wait for later.
Fatigue is another cause for writers block so it makes sense for us to get some sleep. Sleep allows us to recharge ourselves. Not only that but sleep also helps in improving our memory and even our creativity too.
Have A Notebook Nearby
Some people can use their phone but I’d advise writing ideas using pen (or pencil) and paper. Writing things out physically is such a rarity these days, we actually retain the things we write out better than when we type it out.
Anyway, having a notebook is helpful because inspiration and ideas can strike us at any point in time. Even in our dreams. Keeping a notebook handy can help us in uncovering various ideas.
The Three R’s To Idea Generation
Sometimes the problem is that we’re out of ideas for what to write. Some of us have been at content generation for so long it can be difficult for us to come up with ideas. You know you have a problem when you start thinking:
Have already covered this topic before?
Anyway, this is where the three R’s to idea generation come in. These particular strategies you can do separately or together but they help to figure our topics or angles:
- Read: Content is everywhere and it stems from all kinds of places. Blogs, news stories, short stories, or novels. By devoting time to reading other peoples work (like you are doing right now) can help you ease back into the writer mindset. Even quotes can help in getting ideas to flow.
- Reviewing: Go back to your older content and check out the statistics behind it. Are there some articles that performed particularly well? If so, is there a way you can rewrite the post? Consider looking at the topic from another angle.
- Research: Google is an amazing tool for obvious reasons but when you ask questions you can find all kinds of articles. Furthermore you may also stumble on a platform called Quora which is a treasure trove of topic ideas. Quora is a platform devoted solely to questions and answers.
Skipping The Intro
Sometimes the hardest part to writing is figuring out where to start. The introduction is therefore one of the toughest things for a writer. That’s especially true when you are starting out writing.
Instead of being fixated on the intro, consider writing out your conclusion. The conclusion usually provides a brief summary of the ideas presented. It’s also the section that you outline what you hope the reader achieved.
From this angle you can unravel your piece. If you have the message you can begin to think in reverse. What points must be made in order to effectively deliver that message and explain your ideas and thoughts?
Sometimes it’s easier to think that way than the other way.
Focus On What You Know
Whenever you’re delving into topics you’re not aware of, write out everything you know on the subject. Can be vague or specific, it doesn’t matter. The idea is that writing out what you know gives you points for what you do need to research.
Is your knowledge of the topic limited? Consider researching simple and small pieces of information on the topic. Write on the subject as if you are explaining it to someone who has little knowledge. Much like yourself.
Use Writing Prompts
You may remember these from school where you were given a writing prompt or a topic and had to write an article on the topic. Sometimes all we need is a specific prompt to help us get the writing flowing.
Sit in a comfy chair, couch, or chair, close your eyes and focus on your breath for five minutes. Getting into a habit of doing this every day can do wonders for you. Not only can it provide various health benefits, it can cultivate focus and creativity.
Picking Fights With Other Writers
I’m not suggesting you be a bully to that person but having this contrarian point of view can yield results.
The idea with this idea is to look at someone’s work and analyzing it. Is there a point they made you don’t agree with? Or is the work too biased? The idea is to look at what you think is a problem with their work.
So how does this help with writer’s block? Well it helps you in finding your own writing voice. Not only that but you can generate ideas that can serve you moving forward. Maybe you think I’m playing up the fact so many people set up bad passwords. Or maybe you found better custom website templates for your industry you can write about?
You may have heard of this productivity hack before, but it’s especially helpful with writing too. For this strategy you want to sit down at your desk and set a timer for 25-30 minutes. Once the timer is set, don’t get up until the timer goes off.
During that time, focus solely on writing. From idea generation to actually writing something it doesn’t matter. Even if the session is a complete waste of time and you didn’t write anything, I’d argue it wasn’t a waste.
Sometimes all you need to do is turn up and focus on something for a while. Some days, that’s all you really need to overcome writer’s block.
After that first session, the next thing is to take a small break for a few minutes. After that, you completed one Pomodoro. Sometimes you’ll need to do two or three or more to see some bigger results.
The question is what should you do in those breaks. Well my suggestion is getting around and moving. As I mentioned above, moving helps with idea flow and your brain in general.
Writer’s Block Is Easy To Overcome
While writer’s block is a real problem many content creators have to deal with, there are all kinds of solutions. These little tricks don’t take up much time and can yield all kinds of incredible results.