Like every blogger or writer, I wrestle with writer’s block.
There are times when I cannot write. No idea. No inspiration. Nothing comes out. I just feel stuck and unproductive.
Or I don’t feel like writing. Just because it’s not the RIGHT time.
At the very beginning, I could even spend some time staring at my blank computer screen.
I didn’t know where to start. Or even worse, I ended up writing the same paragraph over and over again.
But as the time went by, I have learnt and developed a couple of techniques that help me overcome this obnoxious state of mind.
I don’t waste my time like I used to. And I’d like to share those tricks with you (just in case you’re desperately looking for help).
What really matters is that you don’t let it discourage from writing completely, right?
Causes of writer’s block
But first, let’s take a look at some of the common causes of writer’s block…
1. Timing: like I said, it’s not the right time. Maybe your ideas just need to mature. Good ideas may flash across your mind at some point or another, during the day. Not now, right in front of your computer screen.
2. Fear: you may get scared before writing. You can’t help yourself thinking about your readers sniggering or laughing at your copy. Just the thought of it sends shivers down your spine …
3. Perfectionism: each time you write a copy, it’s never good enough. No matter how much you write, it never lives up to your standards. Your expectations are so high that you’re going nowhere.
4. Burn-out: you’ve been exhausted and your mind doesn’t work. You just need to pause and have a break. No wonder you’re suffering writer’s block…
5. Distractions: your working environment is just inappropriate. You’re being surrounded by noises, your colleagues asking for help, your kids yelling and running around, or you have just given in to time-wasters (i.e. social media).
If you are in one of those situations, it’s time to take THE appropriate actions.
Solutions to writer’s block (1)
I don’t pretend to be a guru and have THE greatest solutions.
The solutions I am about to share are based on my personal experience and readings.
Actually, there’s no universal solutions. Every time you face writer’s block, this is a different journey, a different story.
So just take your pick and use the one that suits you.
1. Do freewriting: if you’re thinking about something right now, just write it down. It’s one of the best ways to summon the muse. Whatever you may write about, this technique will get your creative mind starting and flowing.
2. Go for a walk: if you can’t write a line… just move. Don’t stay glued to your computer screen till it comes out. Go for a walk and have some fresh air. You’ll see what a difference a ‘refreshed mind’ can make.
3. Eliminate distractions: what’s the biggest distraction you wrestle with every day? Yep, you got it: social media and TV. Just switch them off. That’s all.
4. Brainstorm in bullet points: that’s my favorite technique. The one I use before writing a post or any kind of copy. Just write your headline, then add up your subheadings and fill in the blank spaces with bullet points. You’ll come up with 2 or 3 ideas very quickly, trust me.
Solutions to writer’s block (2)
If you still can’t overcome writer’s block, try those gimmicks..
1. Use your swipe file: I recently wrote a post about developing a swipe file. This can help you overcome writer’s block as well. If you’re hired to write a sales letter or a post, just open your swipe file and take a look at copies written by other copywriters. They’re definitely a great source for inspiration, and your work will be well advanced.
2. Get started with quotes: many writers will tell you that the first paragraph is the hardest one (to write). So, why don’t you quote a celebrity or someone famous in your industry? You’ll have a nice and well-written opening for your post.
3. Create routines for yourself: some people love working early in the morning. You may prefer writing at night, who knows? If you develop your own routine and stick to it, your mind will train itself to write at the same time. Successful writers developed strategies of that kind. So why not you?
“Write drunk, edit sober”
However, in spite of all of this, you’re still wrestling with writer’s block…
… just take it easy.
There’s no good copy without drafts. Otherwise, they wouldn’t exist.
If I have to recommend one thing: if you get to write, keep writing as long as you can.
And please don’t start to edit before having finished writing.
Many people procrastinate or waste their time correcting, editing or polishing their first lines.
And a couple of hours later, they’re still in the same hole.
Ernest Hemingway used to say: “write drunk, edit sober”.
In other words: if you write a copy, don’t judge your work. Keep going.
This is exactly what I have done for this post.
I wrote my first draft in one go. The morning after, I read it carefully and polished the copy.
It took me 3 hours to get it done, but at the end of the day, my post was written and ready to be published on time.
Don’t get paralyzed when encountering blocks.
It’s as simple as that.