If you happen to write for a living, then I’m sure you’ve had many days when it seemed impossible to get your brain cells firing.
Overcoming Writer’s Block can be more of a challenge than many think… it can be exhausting to grab that keyboard and start pecking away.
At some point, every writer experiences a lack of creativity and motivation, which we call “writer’s block.” This article will give you ideas, tips, and inspiration to show you how to overcome writer’s block once and for all!
In my opinion, one of the greatest attributes that separate successful people from those that are not is that successful people create habits by keeping daily notes and writing schedules for themselves… they are well organized.
The successful person sees the long-term goal even during the days when they just don’t feel like lifting a finger. I also believe they have a strong support system of family and friends.
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What is Writer’s Block
Writer’s block occurs when the writer is unable to generate new content and is the enemy of many writers. This can be caused by various factors and can last for a short or extended period of time.
Not only do authors suffer from writer’s block, but many college and university students suffer and find it difficult to write their thesis.
For many years, students in colleges and universities have argued about writer’s block. Though some students argue the existence of writer’s block, others say it’s real and feel lost on how to cope.
This in-depth article will analyze writer’s block, answer some frequently asked questions, and most importantly, provide proven methods to conquer it.
Ways to Overcome Writer’s Block & the Dreaded Blank Screen
Much of what has worked for me is keeping notes and having a written daily work schedule for tasks I need to accomplish, which has helped me to be well organized.
For me, consistency has been the key! Since I have been following my daily written schedule, I have been motivated to quit screwing around and get to writing.
The habit is starting to take hold, so here I am writing my story to how I finally found some motivation to get back on that horse and ride.
Here are a few tips I’ve found to motivate me enough to break through my writer’s block.
1. First Tip – Get Rid of Your Negative Thoughts!
Overcoming Writer’s Block can be more of a challenge than many think!
After you’ve been away from writing for a while, it may seem impossible, almost exhausting to grab that laptop and put your thoughts to the screen.
I feel that getting rid of negative thoughts is a great place to start.
The key here is to set aside those highly destructive thoughts… my negative thoughts made me less productive and also was a big factor for my procrastination and the lack of my writing ability.
It’s human nature to allow negativity to enter your mind every so often. It’s how you handle it that is what’s most important.
Your mind can play tricks on you, making you feel like you’re failing and that there’s no reason to continue down this path.
The mind is a powerful influence; don’t let it take control of your thoughts!
If you tell yourself that you’ll fail, that’s exactly what will happen, you will fail!
On the other hand, if you tell yourself that you’ll succeed, you will succeed!
Keeping a good attitude is key, so it’s important to open the door for creativity and positive influences in your life.
It was said that known public speaker Zig Ziglar would wake up every morning, slap the back of one hand, then the other, then say out loud, “It’s Going to Be a Great Day!”
You can motivate yourself… say it with me right now – “I CAN DO THIS!”
If you say it enough, you will start to motivate yourself into believing you can do it.
Look at Nike’s slogan, “Just Do It!”… what the heck are they talking about? My opinion is… toss YOUR excuses aside and Just Do It!
Another thought that helped me get rid of my negativity and begin overcoming my writer’s block was thinking about my life and where I’d like to be 5, 10, or 15 years from now.
Even though I may be feeling like I’m spinning my wheels just a tad at the moment, I remind myself that I’m doing this for my son and myself… for the LONG TERM!
If you haven’t been successful by this time in your life, just hang in there, you’ll find what your term for success is, if you just stay the course, keep positive, and remain persistent.
Once you gain control of your negative thoughts, you can begin writing, but let’s go on to the next tip.
2. Get Organized
Trying to write without a plan and routine is just going to make the process more difficult. Before you start writing, you’ll want to take a few minutes to brainstorm some ideas and get your thoughts organized.
Once you have a general idea of what you want to say, it’ll be so much easier to be creative and start to write.
Set some guidelines for yourself:
- What are you trying to achieve with this first draft?
- Who is your audience?
- How long should my post be?
Answering these questions will help you focus your thoughts and stay on track while you’re writing.
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This will give you the tools and a road map to follow and make the actual writing process much quicker and easier.
3. Carry a Note Pad or Recording Device with You
I find that I come up with the most creative ideas and thoughts when I was taking my son to school. How often have you been at a red light when a mind-blowing idea pops into your head?
It’s happened to me more times than I care to count.
I choose to carry a tape-less recorder, but a few times I’ve come up with an idea and it was nowhere to be found. So, what I do now is set the recorder directly next to my wallet.
Part of being a writer it knowing that good ideas don’t always come to us when we need them. We must learn to harness ideas as they enter our minds, even as we’re about to fall asleep at night.
4. Take it One Step at a Time
If the reason why you’re experiencing writer’s block is that you feel like what you’re writing has to be perfect, take some of the pressure off yourself by setting lower standards for this piece of writing.
Remind yourself that your first draft doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to be done! It can be helpful to think of writing as a process rather than a final product.
That means that it’s okay if your first draft isn’t perfect. You can always go back and revise it later.
Just focus on getting your thoughts down on paper (or screen) first, and worry about refining them later.
So – loosen up, relax, and don’t take yourself too seriously. You
might be surprised at how quickly the words start flowing once you stop putting so much pressure on yourself.
A Mentor of Mine Says – Don’t Spend Too Much Time
This mentor of mine tells a story about something that he did that made him realize that it’s OK to publish an imperfect post.
He talks about a “minimal viable post“.
In the beginning stages of his blogging career, he spent 2 weeks working on an article, to make it just right for the public. He published it, and in his own words, “Crickets”.
What does he mean by crickets? He was saying that nobody read his article according to his Google Analytics So, he made the decision to write a post, don’t worry about perfecting and just get it online to allow Google to start ranking it.
In a few weeks, he’d come back to it and work on it which allowed Google to start ranking it higher up the SERPs (search engine results pages).
What he’s saying is that when you first start blogging, don’t worry too much about perfection, because nobody will be reading your posts until the search engines find your site.
As a beginner, the chances are slim that no one will read your post anyway, so get it out there and let Google do it’s thing.
In other words, don’t allow perfection to get in your way of progress, as it could delay you many days or weeks, which will mess up your routine.
Here’s his basic routine:
- Do some research
- Sit down and just start writing
- Make it a first draft
- Add some images
- Don’t worry about perfecting it (except for spelling and punctuation)
- Publish it
- Come back at a later date and perfect it
5. Get in Touch With Your Inner Child
Sometimes the quickest way to overcome your writers block is to throw out the rule book and channel your inner child.
Similar to my mentors story, stop all the perfection, forget all grammar (only for now), spelling, and punctuation rules.
To be clear, I’m referring to just getting your draft written. Let the words just flow, but correct spelling errors and punctuation prior to publishing.
I’m say to just let the words flow and worry about polishing them up later. You might be surprised at how quickly the words come once you’ve loosened up a bit.
6. Get Away – Take a Walk – Take a Break!
If you’re one of many writers that have found themselve staring at a blank page for hours with little to no results, it might be time to get away from your desk and take a break.
Get out of the house and go for a walk, because it’s a proven fact that the fresh air will do you some good.
Getting some exercise could help you clear your thoughts and allow the creative side of your noggen to give you some inspiration
If you’re not up for taking a walk, make yourself a cup of coffee, read a chapter in a book, play with your kids (they’ll love that), or just get away from your computer for a little while.
The point I’m making is that sometimes, the best way to get your creativity working is to jumpstart your brain by completely removing yourself from the situation.
Get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life by taking a stroll around your neighborhood.
Or, you could even hit the treadmill or the racquetball court, or take a drive to the gym for a quick workout.
People that tell you that physical exercise isn’t important for mental stimulation need a kick in the head (insert smiley face).
If you find yourself staring at a blank screen expecting to see results, then maybe it’s time to get up off your chair and take that walk around the block.
You’d be amazed how getting the endorphins pumping will help you to overcome the blank screen blues.
When you do decide to go, make sure you take your notepad or recorder because the blood will be flowing throughout your brain, stimulating your thoughts.
7. Set Your Focus on the Benefits
If walking away from your desk and getting out of the house for some physical exercise wasn’t enough for help you with overcoming writer’s block, then let’s focus on a bigger picture.
Let’s think about what the benefits are for breaking through that mental wall and begin writing.
My benefits as a writer could be – as soon as I complete this draft, I will have broken through my wall enough to be motivated to write more blog posts.
The results could be that Mr Google-Bot will say, “Hey look, more valuable content, let’s move this guy up the rankings ladder”… bringing more traffic to my site.
It’s a Win/Win situation!.
It doesn’t take a Pulitzer prize-winning story to have these amazing feelings, just taking a few baby steps toward the bigger picture can give you incredible satisfaction, plus bring a smile to your face.
8. Put One Foot in Front of the Other (Baby Steps)
Once you’ve started focusing on the benefits of creating your masterpiece, the steps to recovery are much easier.
Sometimes the bar is just too high in comparison to your motivation, so I believe in taking baby steps. Putting one foot in front of the other is one of the greatest cures for writer’s block.
Once you get writing, don’t be hard on yourself.
Anna Quindlen wrote, “People have writer’s block not because they can’t write, but because they despair of writing eloquently.”
Turn that critical part of your brain off. There’ll be a time and a place to evaluate your writing skills – it’s called editing.
If even writing one post seems to overwhelm you, let’s take the baby step approach and start by writing your headline and a basic outline of your story, the rest will follow.
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9. Talk to Someone Else About Your Writing
As a writer, sometimes the best way to overcome writer’s block is to simply talk about your ideas out loud.
This could mean having a conversation with a friend or colleague or brainstorming ideas with a group.
When you explain your ideas out loud to another person, it can help to crystallize them in your mind and give you a better sense of what you want to say.
Plus, your conversation partner may have some helpful suggestions or feedback that gets you unstuck.
The important thing is that you get your ideas out of your head and into the world, where they can start taking shape and taking on a life of their own.
10. Get Rid of Distractions
It can be tough to focus when there are distractions around you so it might be necessary to remove them before you can start writing again.
Example: Turn off your phone, close all tabs on your web browser except for the one you’re working on, and find a quiet place to work if possible.
Once you have eliminated as many distractions as possible, it will be much easier to focus on your writing.
11. Write in a Different Location
Sometimes, a simple solution to writer’s block can be to change your scenery, which can help jumpstart your creativity.
If you typically write at home at your desk, try going to a coffee shop or the library instead.
A coffee shop seems to be the hang out for many writers, or at least that’s what I think they are when I see them pecking away at their laptops.
If you usually write with your laptop, try putting pen to paper instead.
Changing up your surroundings can sometimes help break you out of the rut you’re in and get those creative juices flowing again.
Sometimes all it takes is mixing things up a bit to jumpstart your creativity!
12. Write Something – Write Anything
If you’re having trouble getting started on your writing project at hand, try writing something else entirely. Creat a blog post, write a short story or draft an email to a friend.
Once you have a few sentences down, don’t stop, keep going; you can start editing and refining your work after you’re done. The important thing is that you keep writing, even if it doesn’t seem directly related to your project at hand.
With any luck, getting some words on the page will break through that creative barrier and help you get back on track with your original writing goals.
13. Read What Others Have Written
When you’re feeling stuck, it can be helpful to see how other writers have tackled similar topics.
Reading can also help stimulate new ideas and get your own creative juices flowing again.
So crack open a book or fire up your web browser and start exploring!
14. Write Down Every Idea that Comes to Mind
The best way to overcome writer’s block is simply to start writing every idea that comes to mind, no matter how random or unrelated it may seem at first glance!
Write down everything that comes to mind. Don’t worry about editing or making sense; just let the words flow out of your brain and onto the page.
The more ideas you write, the easier it will become, and before you know it, the words will just start flowing out of you.
Once you have a bunch of thoughts on paper (or in digital form), you can start making connections between them and seeing which ones are worth exploring further.
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15. Don’t Force It
When you’re feeling uninspired, it can be tempting to just force yourself to sit down and start writing anyway.
But in most cases, this is not the best approach for writers. If you’re having troubles coming up with ideas, it’s probably because your mind is trying to tell you something.
Maybe you need to take a break, or maybe you need to approach your project from a different angle.
Whatever the case may be, try not to fight it. It’s better to step away from your project for a little while and come back when you’re feeling more refreshed and inspired.
16. Remember Why You Started to Write in the First Place
Take a look at the posts that you’re writing. Are you doing what you love, or what you think has to be done?
Writing what you love gives you the most enjoyment, and also makes it the easiest to write your thoughts. And, this is what your readers sense and see in your blog posts.
I personally have received comments from readers that state, it appears that I love what I do. Doing what you love will enable your readers to connect with you and will also show in your writing.
17. Know When to Quit
There’ll be times when no matter how hard you try, the words just won’t come – this happens to every writer.
If you’ve been struggling for more than an hour or so, it might be time to call it quits for the day.
Or, take another break (maybe this time go for a longer walk or watch an episode of your favorite TV show, like I do) and pick up where you left off.
Conclusion: How to Overcome Writer’s Block
Finding inspiration for articles to write has never been easier than it is today, so instead of beating yourself up, use search engines to look up information that you are interested in and that get you inspired.
Lots of writers have often found that overcoming writer’s block is a tough nut to crack, but by employing some of these tried-and-true methods, you’ll be finished with that project in no time!
Writer’s block is frustrating, but luckily there are plenty of ways to overcome it! So take a break, brainstorm with a friend, and don’t be afraid to let your ideas flow freely onto the page – you never know where they might lead you.
If you continue to touch base with the joy you felt when you first started writing, this will sustain you through your current writer’s block, and whatever the future holds for you.
When you have found something of interest, get writing, someone is out there just waiting to hear what you have to say.