How To Overcome Writer’s Block In 13 Steps
Is there anything worse for a writer than staring at a blank page, questioning your ability to write, wondering if your talent has slipped through your fingers?
Every writer of every genre and form has been met with writer’s block at one point or another. Writer’s block is the start of a highly unproductive path where writers begin missing deadlines, feeling discouraged, writing poorly, and losing any sense of work-life balance. Writer’s block is the introduction to a severe negative cycle that can be the destruction of a writer and his or her livelihood…
But that’s only if you allow writer’s block in. You can learn how to overcome writer’s block quickly and easily with the Palm Beach Content Co. writer’s block tips and tricks.
What is writer’s block?
Writing is hard. Writer’s block is even harder. But what is writer’s block? Writer’s block is simply a mental roadblock. It usually stems from some sort of anxiety:
You’re not sure where to begin.
You’re stressed about the deadline.
You want the work to be perfect.
You don’t feel you have the necessary information to write.
You don’t have a clearly defined thesis or purpose for writing.
More often than not, writer’s block is the fear of not being able to write the quality of work you want to put out. It’s the fear that you’ll disappoint a client or editor. It’s the fear that you aren’t a good enough writer. It’s the fear that you won’t meet the deadline. It’s the fear that you’ll sound like you don’t know what you’re talking about.
And fear can be paralyzing. It stops us from getting the work done that we need to. It keeps us staring at a blank page for hours, days. or weeks.
Writer’s block can be in the short-term for an hour or two, or it can last in the long-term for months. It can cause a loss of work and missed deadlines, damaging anxiety and stress, and an imbalance of time spent working.
If you have writer’s block, don’t panic. You can find solace in the knowledge that all writers have these same anxieties as you. Maya Angelou, Kurt Vonnegut, Oscar Wilde—name a great writer and he or she has too stared at a blank page with anxiety.
You shouldn’t try to push through writer’s block, especially with blog writing. Doing so will push you deeper and deeper down into the writer’s block hole. Going against writer’s block tends to churn out a discouraging draft that can push you further into anxiety. It’s much like a hydroplaning car. If you try to fight the hydroplane, you end up in more chaos. But if you turn into the skid, you regain control of the car.
In this article, we’re teaching you to turn into the skid—to embrace writer’s block. Our goal with our tips for how to overcome writer’s block is twofold: to refresh your creativity and to help you be productive even when you’re not feeling productive.
1. Do something creative.
Keep your creative muscles working by channeling them into a different avenue. Paint a picture. Design a graphic for another blog post. Do a puzzle. Write poetry. Update your website. Free-write whatever’s on your mind. After 45 minutes of free-spirited creativity, your mind will relax and feel more productive and creative. You’re not just sitting there and thinking about how uncreative you are. You’re proving your own anxieties wrong through other productive avenues.
2. Get active.
The more active you are, the better your mind can clear itself of those toxic thoughts. Your mind and body are deeply connected, so loosening your body can help loosen your mind.
Getting active can reduce your stress and anxiety, while clearing your mind for new ideas. Even when you’re not actively thinking, your subconscious is still working on the idea. So go to a hot yoga class, go for a walk, or dance in your PJs. Focusing on your body will clear your mind for that “aha” moment just around the corner.
3. Get organized.
Cleaning the house can help put you in a zen state of mind. A cluttered space generates a cluttered mind. Clear off your desk, get those dirty dishes out of the sink, and throw that load of laundry in the wash. When you have less clutter around you, your mind is free to focus on the task at hand.
4. Remove distractions.
Similarly, turn off the outside noise and distractions. Turn off your phone. Set aside time to answer emails. Disconnect the internet. Do whatever you need to turn off the white noise and focus.
If you’re feeling stressed about accomplishing some other task, do that first. Checking something off of your to-do list can remove that distraction and allow you to better focus on the work at hand.
5. Work in short bursts.
If you’re feeling pressured to reach a deadline, write in short bursts. Write in “power mode” for 20 minutes, and then take breaks to answer emails or talk to clients. Then write for 20 minutes. Then clean your desk. Then write for another 20 minutes. This will help you power through writer’s block without feeling stressed by an impending deadline. You’re still getting the work done without feeling you’ve hit a time-wasting roadblock.
6. Work on something else.
If you’re feeling stuck with one piece, try writing a different blog post. If you’re able to write another topic with ease, then you can better understand that your writer’s block is coming from the first blog’s subject rather than your own anxieties. In this way, you know you likely need more research or information to figure out how to overcome writer’s block for the other piece.
7. Read and take notes.
Oftentimes, writer’s block is the anxiety of simply not knowing where to begin. When figuring out how to overcome writer’s block, try reading more about your subject. The books and articles you read don’t have to be directly related to the topic. Even tangential pieces can help spark ideas and give you a new “way in” to your blog topic. Researching, even peripherally, will keep your brain working on the topic and help to provide a stronger mental outline.
8. Try mind mapping.
Mind mapping is a form of brainstorming that helps to visually approach your writing. Put the main topic or thesis in a bubble at the center of the map. Draw lines and connected bubbles with subtopics, proof, and statistics related to this topic. A mind map will help you see where the meat of your piece and how your subtopics relate to your overall thesis idea. When you see the piece visually, you’ll likely be able to find a concrete entrance into the topic.
9. Write your audience a letter.
Address a specific reader and tell them what you plan on writing about. This doesn’t have to be grammatically correct or even make sense. Just imagine you’re talking to your ideal reader. “Dear reader, in this post I will tell you about my thesis XYZ. Here are the top points I will make.” Talking “directly” to your reader in this way can help you realize the driving force behind your message and the main structure of your piece.
10. Write in a new way.
Go to a new place that you don’t usually work. If you work at the same desk every day, your mind can get bogged down with the idea of work. Go somewhere new to help clear your head and de-stress.
In a similar vein, you may want to write with a different tool. If you tend to write on the computer, try writing in a notebook or on loose-leaf paper. If you need to use a computer, try using a different app like Word, WordPress, or Google Docs.
11. Change the font.
Switching up your writing can be as simple as changing the font. It may seem silly, but it can work. Non-writers will never understand the excitement of writing in a font that reflects your topic or mood.
Go ahead—write in Comic Sans or Goudy Old Style. Put it in size 16. Changing your font can help free your mind and imagine the topic in a new way. Just don’t forget to change the font before submitting to your editor.
12. Reread your most successful pieces.
If your writer’s block is coming from an anxiety about your writing skills, it’s time to pull out your best pieces. Reread those posts that you felt good about or that had the strongest reader response. This will help remind you just how great of a writer you truly are.
Better yet, read the first blog post you’ve ever written. Compare it to the last blog you wrote. Notice how far you’ve come and all you’ve learned as a writer. This can help soothe any anxieties when anxious bloggers are figuring out how to overcome writer’s block.
If push comes to shove, your writer’s block may boil down to burnout and exhaustion. If you’re tired, your creativity shuts off. Your body will conserve its energy to use on organ functioning rather than on creative thought processes. If you aren’t sleeping well, eating right, or taking care of your body, you’re more likely to run into writer’s block and mental blocks. If you want to unlock how to overcome writer’s block, you need to first be rested and healthy. Take a nap. Grab some food. In a bind, you can even take a shot of espresso. Take care of your health to take care of your creativity.
The Bottom Line
Writer’s block doesn’t have to be the end of your writing career—or even the end of the blog post you’re working on. Learn how to overcome writer’s block in your own way. What will work best for you? How will you clear your head and rejuvenate your creativity?