It happens to every writer at some point in their career. Your brain is fatigued, your creativity seems to be nonexistent and you just want to throw in the towel and be done with it all. Welcome to writer’s block. Maybe you’re struggling with it now and that’s why you’re reading this article. Maybe you’ve conquered it in the past, but want to ensure it doesn’t happen again. Either way, it’s what you do with the situation that will determine your success now and in the future.
First, we need to understand what causes writer’s block, and then we’ll arm you with the tools necessary to defeat it. Let’s get started.
What Is Writer’s Block?
According to Wikipedia, writer’s block is associated with being unable to produce new content and experiencing a creative slowdown. Most writers refer to this as staring at a blank page. Some experienced writers argue that there is no such thing and instead attribute it to insecurity or your inner critic.
When you have a blank page in front of you, you need to turn off that inner critic and just put words down on paper to let the creative flow begin. Even if it’s word vomit at the beginning, let it flow. You can always go back later to add, remove, reword and restructure the content. The point is to get the thoughts out of your head and onto paper.
3 Contributing Causes to Writer’s Block
I Don’t Have Time
Simply put, it’s not the right time. Your ideas may need more time to cultivate. Sometimes, however, time is not on our side and we have a deadline to meet. Thankfully, there are some ways to combat the timing issue, which we’ll discuss in the next section.
The Fear of Rejection
For newer writers, sometimes it’s the fear of criticism. When you invest time into generating ideas and creating content that you think will resonate with the readers, getting shot down can inhibit your creative flow state. Our advice to you is don’t quit. Take that criticism and use it as fuel. Turn it into something productive and creative.
I Want Everything To Be Perfect
Wanting your ideas to flow out of your mind and onto paper perfectly the first time around just isn’t going to happen, and that sometimes will be enough to shut down a writer and create writer’s block. Because you cannot get it perfect, you end up never starting. We’ve all been there. You write the first sentence or title, only to delete it and start over, then another, only to delete that one, too. This is a vicious cycle that is easy to fall into and keeps you from getting into a flow state. Just let the words come as they are. You can always go back during the editing process and make changes.
Your writing is not going to be perfect the first time around on paper and that’s ok. The key is to just allow your mind to run with the topic. Write down or type whatever it is that comes to your mind. There will be time to perfect it later.
7 Creative Tips To Ignite Your Writing
Go for a walk
Fresh air. It does wonders for your mental health and cognitive abilities. Want to jump start your creativity when you’re only half way through the day? Lock your computer, step away from your desk and get outside for a walk. Whether you walk for your lunch break or take shorter breaks throughout the day, walking is a great way to boost energy and set a positive tone for the rest of your day. Even just taking a break to check the mailbox does wonders. Try it. You’ll thank us later.
Do something to get your blood flowing
This is similar to going for a walk, but dialing up the intensity a few notches. This could be in the form of a few sets of push-ups, an impromptu workout, or a short run. If you have an exercise bike, treadmill or rowing machine, jump on one of those for 10 or 15 minutes. You’ll be glad you did. Not only is it good for your body physically, it’s good for mental health and getting back into the creative flow. Oftentimes, fresh ideas will start to flow during a workout break that you never would’ve thought of sitting at your desk.
Change Your Environment
Changing your environment could be as simple as moving from your home office to the kitchen, or weather permitting, sitting outside. If you want to get away from your primary residence or office, then we suggest finding a local coffee shop or public park. Moving from your primary workspace allows both your eyes and brain to reset, which sometimes is all that’s needed to spark that creativity back into a blazing fire.
Listen to Music
How many times have you been driving, listening to the radio and a song comes on that immediately boosts your mood? All of a sudden you feel as if you can conquer the world and take on whatever it throws at you. Listening to music while writing and creating content will put you into that focused flow state. We recommend building a playlist of motivating music that gives you a healthy dose of dopamine and motivation but does not distract. Spotify has an endless supply of pre-built playlists to choose from as well. We like the ‘Walk Like a Badass’ playlist. Because who doesn’t want to create badass content.
Brew Some Coffee
Ah, the aroma of freshly brewed coffee. Have you ever walked into a coffee shop and just took a second or two to inhale that aroma? That in itself can put you into a zen state. Whether at home or the local coffee shop, the aroma of freshly brewed coffee always seems to break through that mental barrier contributing to writer’s block. Coffee does have its benefits for the writer and can get you one step closer to that creative flow state. There have been several studies done proving that coffee can increase physical endurance by providing you with an energy boost and cognitive boost — both of which a writer needs.
Brainstorm Ideas in a Bullet Point Format
We have found that using bullet points is extremely effective, and is a great way to kickstart a new article. Instead of trying to come up structured content out of the gate, try putting all your ideas down in a bulleted list. This is one of the easiest ways to get started with developing your content. Before you know it, you’ve got an entire list of ideas that you can now start developing content under. Those bullet points can then be turned into titles and headings within your content. It’s a win-win situation. If you want to take it a step further to make it more visual, you can use this tip in the form of post-it notes.
Create a Routine that Encourages Focus and Productivity
Using the previous 6 steps, you can begin to create a daily routine that will maximize your creative flow and put that dreaded writer’s block to bed. Part of creating that routine means minimizing distractions or in some cases, shutting them down completely. One example of that is email and online chat platforms. With many of us working from home now, businesses are relying heavily on email and chat to stay engaged with their teams.
While those platforms are needed for daily communication, they can also contribute to causing writers block with the constant interruptions and creating in you the need to reply every time. When you do that, you’re taking away from your focus and flow. What we suggest is to let your team know that you’re ‘going dark’ for a period of time to get your content created. During that time, DO NOT open your email or chat programs. If you can do that in combination with our other tips, you’ll be on your way to getting rid of writer’s block and creating awesome content.
Overcome Writer’s Block and Push Through to Success
Again, the key is to just start writing. Jot down a few bullet points, title ideas and maybe a few sentences. Whatever comes to your mind, write it down. Don’t worry about it making sense yet, just get the words out of your head and onto the paper. Generally, your first draft of anything isn’t going to be good. Once you have that first draft done though, then you have something to work with and elevate into a masterpiece.