There is a high likelihood if you are reading this blog that you have, at one point, experienced writer’s block. If you are one of the lucky few who has not encountered writer’s block, I think I speak for all of the readers and myself that we are envious of you. Writer’s block can be a spectacularly, annoying and frustrating thing. Not to say that the writer’s block that book authors experience is different or less annoying than the block that we content marketers experience, but it affects us differently. An author can experience writer’s block for days, weeks, even months, us content marketers can not have a block last that long. We are continually pushing out content, piece after piece, and this is why writer’s block can be exceptionally annoying.
There are many ways content marketers can experience writer’s block. It can come down to not being able to decide on the next topic(s) you wish to write about, not knowing how to start your blog, not knowing what to write about on a topic given to you, lacking the ability to sit and rewrite, and more. There are seemingly endless ways for writer’s block to throw a wrench into your daily content marketing efforts. With how fast content turns over, you can’t waste time with writer’s block – you need to get writing.
This is why we put together some tips and tricks to help overcome your writer’s block so you can continue churning out the fantastic content your readers crave.
What Is Writer’s Block?
Before I dive into how you can stave off your writer’s block, first, we need to understand what it is. Once you understand what writer’s block truly is, you can use the recommended tips to overcome writer’s block and think of your own ways that work best for you.
Writer’s block is a state of being unable to proceed with the writing you are currently doing or start the writing of a new project. Some believe this is a genuine disorder, where others believe it is all in your head. Regardless of the team, you are on, we can all agree that this is a frustrating position, resulting in further performance problems.
Now, what causes writer’s block? Various writer’s will experience different variations of writer’s block caused by other internal/external influences. Some of these influences are:
- Harsh self-criticism
- Fear of comparison to other writers
- Lack of external motivation (attention/praise)
- Lack of internal motivation (desire to tell a story)
In other words, these symptoms you are experiencing due to writer’s block are due to various feelings of discontent with writing. Here is the good news; these feelings are 100% reversible. Now, let’s find out how to do this.
How To Overcome Writer’s Block
There is Beauty In Imperfection
As a content creator, you can spend hours looking for the right word or phrase stuck on the tip of your tongue to illustrate an idea or scene. I know I had that issue in this blog specifically. Think of the irony I felt writing a blog on writer’s block and not thinking of words to illustrate the writer’s block’s annoyances. Needless to say, I had to walk away from this piece of content for a while.
Thankfully, using this tip helped save some of my sanity. If you are writing a piece of content, regardless if it is a technical journal or article, a novel, or a blog, you can use the wrong word and come back to it later. If you are trying to describe a situation or scene and the word you need escapes you, use the word you know and move on. Your mind works in weird ways, and you will either think of it later or cheat and use the internet if it doesn’t come to you. It can be more detrimental to your content, in the long run, to stop your thought process from hanging a single word.
Routine, Routine, Routine
Contrary to popular belief, creativity is a habit that needs to be formed. This may seem backwards to what we are told and learned. Many people think creativity is naturally developing within you and not something you can schedule on a Tuesday from 12 PM until 5 PM week in and week out.
If you were to sit and think about this thought, you would see the error in that thought process. If you were only to create when you felt creative, you would continuously be stuck in a loop of writer’s block. The way to get creative content over and over is to sit down and push through, whether this is every day, every other day, once a week, etc.
Anti-Social Social Club
It is a miracle that we can get anything done with the vast amount of distractions we have created for ourselves online. The quite literal never-ending flow of content through social media, news feeds, and online shopping sites will bring your process to an abrupt stop. It is not helpful that the machines we use to create are the same machines we use to distract ourselves. If you do not have the willpower to refrain from visiting these sites, I recommend a site blocker. Some site blockers simply restrict your access to particular sites, where others convert your view of your computer to a typewriter until you hit your word goal. Talk about motivation to get your writing done.
Dance Like Nobody’s Watching
We have all heard the phrase “dance like nobody’s watching,” telling us to go out and have fun because if you love it, it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. This is especially relevant to the writer’s going through a tough creative time. If you throw your audience out the window (metaphorically) and write for yourself, you will find your love of writing again. The pressure of publishing other’s expectations can be a massive roadblock in your mental process.
This can not only help you overcome this roadblock, but it can also help your writing immensely. Are constantly trying to please others, you won’t be doing what truly makes you happy. If you were to forget your audience and write how and what makes you happy, it often comes through in your writing and seems more authentic.
X Marks The Spot
If you have ever been to the middle of a piece of content and then stopped because you lost the flow or where you were going, you know how frustrating this is. In cases like this, it can be extremely helpful to stop and draw out a map of your story. Plotting along where you came from, where you are going, and points you want to hit throughout is an easy and fast way to get back on track. Not only will this help if you get stuck, but it is also a great way to start your content. It can help avoid running into a roadblock and speed up your creative process.
Skip The Intro
Now to completely contradict the point above. Another great way to get the ball rolling is to start at a topic you know and move forward from there. Sometimes you don’t see how you will start, but you know a place in time you want to get to. By starting there, you can get your ideas down on paper, and as your story evolves, you can get a clearer picture of where you came from.
So instead of starting at the chronological beginning (Once upon a time), dive right into the middle of your story and evolve your characters or ideas from there. You sometimes don’t know where you came from until you get to the end and can look back. Not to mention your creative juices will be flowing, and you will have more time to prepare.
Time For The Change-Up
This change-up can be geographical, or it can change the tool you are currently using. I know for myself constantly typing on a keyboard, it can be tough looking at the already lettered keys and deciphering a way to turn them into words. It can sometimes be more comfortable holding a utensil in your hand and allow your body to create the stories.
Other times, it can be as simple as changing the scenery of your desk to a park bench or a coffee shop. If COVID has taught us anything (in a creative work environment way), having your scenery change, even just from your house to the office, can make a drastic impact on productivity. Eliminate any distractions such as those dirty dishes or the new Netflix tv show and go somewhere you can concentrate. Fresh air and vitamin D can be just the thing you need (while we have it).
This isn’t a shot at your personal hygiene by any means; I don’t know you like that. Have you ever noticed that sometimes all of life’s answers come to you in the shower? There is a scientific reason for this, while you perform monotonous tasks, such as showering, your brain goes on auto-pilot. This allows your brain to wander without a clear sense of direction to tackle other problems on our minds. In other words, you can daydream and make more creative connections that you couldn’t connect before. Not to mention those around you may appreciate it. But the key is to not do this too often, or you risk interfering with the first tip.
That’s A Lot To Take In
Now, this is not a checklist of things you need to perform every time you experience writer’s block. Some of these tips may work better for some than others. We all have our own unique approach to writing and coping. The key is to understand what causes writer’s block, how to identify when you are running up against that wall, and what works best for you. Also, remember, it isn’t always going to be the same solution that works every time. If that were the case, I wouldn’t have written this blog. Find a few solutions that appeal to you and might work and try them out. If they don’t work, continue on to the next one. Eventually, you will be back on top of the world, creating beautiful content. And I, for one, can not wait to read the content you come up with.