How NOT To Deal With Writer's Block

Laura Sievert
Laura Sievert Digital Content Strategist, SyneCore Technologies

Posted on March 10th 2014

How NOT To Deal With Writer's Block

457044569 resized 600As someone who is responsible for creating content every single day, I know all too well the woes and struggles of dealing with writer’s block. And how little time I have to waste not writing new posts.

Bloggers define writer’s block in different ways; some say it is when you can’t think of new, original topics, while others define it as taking a break from the craft and try to dive back into it. In my mind it is when you are at your computer ready to create world-altering content and the words just don’t come.

Resident bloggers typically have 9-5 jobs, but creativity doesn’t really follow that same schedule. So here is exactly how NOT to deal with writer’s block when you are already deep into the process with no way out but through.

Browse The Internet

I hope I am not alone in that I sometimes use writer’s block as an excuse to browse my favorite digital distractions. Once the cat videos and twitter feeds start flowing it can be hours (or maybe days?) before I see the sun again – or my blog.

Close down your distractions – not minimize, not try to ignore – close. And keep them that way. No Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, or whatever your personal attention kryptonite is, just get rid of it and leave only windows with the research you need up and in your eyesight. That way, even if your mind does wander, it will be brought back on topic.

Do Nothing But Research

But wait, didn’t you just tell me to eliminate everything but research? Yes, I did. But at some point researching itself becomes a way of avoiding the act of actually writing things down. It’s what I call “overlearning.”

Research is one of the keys to blogging success, but your mind can only take in so many facts and details before you have to start putting them on paper. Create an outline for your post using the research you have done and then slowly start filling the outline in. 

Write From Start To Finish

I have never – and I mean never – written a post from beginning to end. The ideas just don’t flow that way for me. If they do for you, congratulations, but for us mere mortals down here on Earth sometimes we have to start in the middle and figure out the intro later. The best way to deal with this is to create an outline for the post first.

For example, in this very blog I started with a diatribe about ridding yourself of distractions, then wrote this section, then an intro once I had a vision for the post’s direction, and so on. Just write what you are thinking about in that moment and edit the pieces into a coherent blog later on.

Quit Writing Altogether

That’s it. I have used up all the words that I can. Time to start a new career. I have always wondered about lion taming….

I'm guessing that is not really your thought process during the dreaded word drought, so there is no need to make it so dramatic.

Just keep writing! It doesn’t have to be great or even good; in fact it can be down right crappy. Just put your pen to the paper or your fingers to the keyboard and write. It will suck and you will dread anyone seeing the embarrassing first draft, but that’s the beauty, no one will. Go back and edit it!

 

Quick Tips to Beat the Block:

How NOT To Deal With Writer's Block

1. Listen to music, but nothing with lyrics that might distract you. Choose opera, jazz, move scores, or my personal favorite, the sound of rain.

2. Take a short mental break where you will feel no pressure to be writing, but limit it to ten minutes. And make sure you find the best place to spend it.

3. Don’t wait until your deadline to get going. Give yourself enough time to write, then walk away from it before coming back to edit your post.

4. Add visuals to tricky posts so that you both have less space to fill with words, and, if possible, you can explain the image within the text.

Anyone who has been involved in the writing process knows the paralyzing fear of looking at a blank page, especially with an impending deadline. So follow these tips to keep the words coming when you need them. Good luck, fellow writers!

P.S. If you can’t fit a point into your post in a way that makes sense, leave it out. For example, I tried throughout this entire post to squeeze in a reference to the epic writer’s block in The Shining, but I couldn’t so I left it out. Well, almost…

But I am guessing your posts don’t get to have a P.S., so write a good post and save some ideas for next time!

Laura Sievert

Laura Sievert

Digital Content Strategist, SyneCore Technologies

Laura is a long-time newspaper and magazine journalist turned Digital Content Manager for SyneCore Tech, an integrated digital marketing agency located in sometimes balmy, oft-times frigid, Minneapolis, Minnesota. She specializes in marketing blogs, but also churns out bodacious content for various other industries. Outside of her 9-5 life, she works as a freelance videographer, reads and rereads every Jane Austin novel out there, and actively advocates for the continued use of the Oxford comma. Feel free to follow her on Twitter or connect on LinkedIn.

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Comments

These are great tips for how to avoid writer's block. Writer's block can feel like the end of the world! On the flip side, check out this article on our blog: http://blog.prosemedia.com/write-like-a-runner-4-habits-that-can-make-yo...