The dreaded writer’s block! This seemingly-harmless issue could cripple your blogging or writing career if not handled immediately. As a writer, can you picture anything worse than watching that blinking line with a mind as empty as the text box? The harder you try, the worse the writing sounds. Don’t worry, though! There’s still hope that you will produce quality content despite the temporary block. Having experienced it far too many times, we’ve decided to compile a list of 10 ways to get over writer’s block (maybe even for good!)
- Get over that OCD – We know, we know. You need to start writing from the beginning and continue writing until you get to the end. It seems like the natural order of things. However, this can actually make your writer’s block even worse. By focusing too much on writing and producing results in a certain arrangement, you might overlook the most important thing about writing: the content. If you already have an end in mind, write the end first. If you already have the middle thought-out, then start there. The ideas will start flowing and before you know it you’ll have a whole, finished piece. Take it like a jigsaw puzzle. You would never think to put the pieces together row by row in a consecutive fashion. You put together pieces at random and they form the picture in the end.
- Create a calendar – We’re going to refer you back to last week’s post about editorial calendars because it’s one of the most important things to have when running a blog. By having ideas that you wrote down in advance, you can just start writing without having to rack your brain thinking of a topic.
- Writing prompts – Remember grade school when you were given a subject to write about every day? Start doing that again! Not only does this nurture your writing skills, but it can also be great content for future blog posts. Make a list of prompts for two weeks in advance (or a month if you’re feeling brave) and start writing. Just don’t make your prompts as easy as they were in grade school, like writing about your favourite colour. If you make your prompt topics interesting for yourself, you’ll want to write about it.
- Forget the backspace key – Once again, don’t let your writer’s OCD kick in while you’re writing. If you are continually finding errors and pressing back space, you’ll become discouraged from writing about the topic – even if the topic is good. It’s all about creativity, not perfection. There’s always time to edit it later once you’re finished writing the bulk of it.
- Walk around – Get up from that chair, walk to a convenience store, grab a soda, admire houses in your neighbourhood, and do whatever else gets your mind off of writing. Refresh your brain (or completely turn it off) and come back to the writing later. The writer’s block will only feel worse if you’ve been sitting in the same place for hours forcing yourself to write without taking a break.
- Change of scenery – If you’re feeling extra frustrated with your writer’s block, move your desk (unless it’s really heavy – in which case we suggest you buy a lighter desk) to a place where you’d never move it (the bathroom could be fun). Try moving it in front of a window – or away from a window if you’re easily distracted. Or, if you’re not in the position to move your desk, simply find a place to write. Try a park, coffee shop, or a library. A simple change of scenery can do wonders.
- Download browser extensions – Google Chrome offers a variety of free, downloadable extensions that allow you to block certain URLs that will distract you (like Facebook, Twitter, Reddit etc). There are some that make you simply click an enable or disable button, and there are more serious ones that make you type in a long and annoying code in order the disable the extension (making you less likely to disable it while you’re writing).
- The Pomodoro Technique – Developed by Francesco Cirillo who was definitely suffering from intense writer’s block in the 1980s, The Pomodoro Technique breaks up your work in 25-minute intervals. Set up a timer anywhere for 25 minutes and see what you can do in that period of time. After the 25 minutes is up, take a 15-minute break and go back at it for another 25 minutes.
- Just write – Write anything, even if it’s not at all related to your topic. Sometimes in the dead of winter you need to rev the engine a bit to heat up the car to get it running more smoothly (we don’t really know much about cars, but this sounds accurate). Maybe a better metaphor would be the importance of stretching before a workout to avoid cramping and soreness. Well, you get the idea.
- Be nice - We’re our own worst critic, right? Well, it’s time to stop being so harsh on yourself and your writing. Many writers fall victim to over-criticizing their writing to the point of no return. You’re a writer because you can write well, and don’t let that voice inside your head tell you otherwise. Once you’re done writing it, don’t over-analyze it – just hit that publish button. Of course, its always good to proof-read your writing, but only for grammatical errors. Once you change the content of one sentence, you’ll go onto the next sentence, and it’ll end up being a domino effect of changes.