I’ve been struggling with a bad bout of writer’s block for the past two weeks. During a time of major projects nearing due dates, heavy client servicing, closing year-end deals and the publishing of two NEW books that we have coming out in digital and audio format, every time I’ve tried to sit down and write a blog nothing has come to mind. Literally…nothing.
So, as I sit here on Monday morning about to start another hectic week, a thought finally creeps into my head: “What if I write about tricks that writers can use to overcome the dreaded writer’s block?”
The following are 7 tricks to overcoming your writer’s block so you can better perform your job as a content marketer.
One of the best ways to overcome writer’s block is exercise. When I’m struggling with what to write, I find it helpful to drop what I’m doing and go for a 30-minute walk or hit the gym and get my blood pumping. Exercise has been shown to increase the level of endorphins in your body and stimulate your creative thinking abilities, while minimizing fatigue and energizing your body and mind.
Every writer should try and make exercise a priority. We decided to start scheduling short bouts of exercise here at TF West and have seen huge increases in our energy levels and creative thinking abilities.
2. Brainstorm with Bullet Point Lists
Oftentimes when my mind is blank on what to write, I’m able to come up with multiple blog ideas at one time simply by opening Word and jotting down a list of bullet points. This blog post is a perfect example. I sat down to a blank screen absolutely stumped on what to write, and started jotting random bullet points on ideas in my head. As I started to make a list, more and more ideas came to me and my list grew.
Suddenly, I had the idea to create a list of ways to break writer’s block. Not only that, but I had generated new writing prompts for my next two or three blog posts. By allowing your brain to throw thoughts down on paper, you will be able to better organize and develop the thoughts swirling in your head.
3. Wake Up Early in the Morning to Write
Many great writers are known to wake up early in the morning to write. Murakami is known to begin writing at 4:00 AM. It’s said that Hemingway would get up every morning and begin writing by 6:00 AM.
I’ve found that I have the easiest time writing and creating early in the mornings, when my mind is clear and fresh. For instance, this blog post was started at 5:05 AM on Monday morning. During the earliest hours you’ll find that your thinking changes and your creative juices flow in a different pattern – one that is often conducive to writing.
4. Read a Book
When you’re not sure what to write, read what someone else has written. Reading is a great way to expand your mind and get in the flow of another author’s writing, which in turn will get your gears turning on what you could write. Pick up a book of any genre and read for 30-60 minutes. After that, open your document and begin bulleting the things that come to mind, or dive back into that piece you were struggling to finish.
5. Free Write
Set a timer for anywhere from 5-30 minutes and write. Don’t worry about grammar, punctuation, or if any of what you’re writing makes sense. Simply open a document and write continuously for the time allocated. Feel free to stray off topic and write anything that comes to mind. If you’re stuck, write “I don’t know what to write” until something else comes to mind. The key to free writing is to keep writing until you break through your writer’s block, or build momentum and confidence to continue a piece of content.
6. Change Your Environment
Have you ever sat at your desk feeling like your mind is blank, and that there’s no way you could even muster up enough motivation and thought to free write? At this stage, it’s best that you change your environment. Stand up, go for a walk, and then set up shop in a different location. Try moving from your desk to a common area in your office. Or move from your home office to the kitchen table. Go from indoors to outdoors. Whatever you do, get up and change locations.
7. Eliminate Distractions
Multitasking will kill your ability to focus and write quality content. Here are a few ways you can eliminate distractions when writing:
- Shut off your phone
- Stop checking emails
- Post a “Do Not Disturb Sign” or lock your door
- Write in a quite area
- Write early in the morning or late at night
- Ban yourself from the internet and social media
Every content marketer will encounter the dreaded writer’s block from time to time. The trick is to not get discouraged and understand that there are ways to work through this block. The next time you feel yourself loosing motivation or you have no idea of what to write, use these seven tricks to overcome your writer’s block.
If you tried any of these methods, drop us a comment below and let me know how they worked for you!