Let me guessâ¦
Youâre staring at the blank screen. Your brain is fried. You can feel a headache coming on.
You know you should be writing, butâ¦
You canât do this anymore. Your muse is gone. Your well of inspiration is empty. Finished. Stone-dry.
Youâre not just bored or tired. No, no. This is far worse:
You try to stop your mind wandering off. You try to stop being distracted by your long to-do-list. You try to write, but you feel like everything you do manage to jot down isâ¦ wellâ¦ terrible.
You know you have to keep going, but how? How do you overcome writerâs block and get back into your writing groove?
You need to have some fun.
Not take a break, not go for walk, not get some sleep. All of that is fine and good for a simple case of boredom, but the real cause of writerâs block is youâre holding on too tight.
You need to loosen up. You need to go a little crazy. You need to let the goofy side of you out for a little while and get your creative juices flowing again.
Here are 27 refreshingly original ways to get over writerâs block:
How to Overcome Writerâs Block
Technique #1. Talk to An Imaginary Friend
Whether youâve 10 readers or 10,000, thinking about them makes writing a post daunting.
So, forget about your readers. Instead, create an imaginary friend.
Your friend is a real fan. He (or she) loves everything you write. He supports everything you do.
Give your imaginary friend a name. Create a little drawing or find a picture of a lookalike. Pin this picture on the wall above your desk.
Instead of writing a blog post, start a conversation with your friend. Or write him a letter. Discuss his dreams and challenges. Help him with whatever he is struggling with.
Be a good friend.
Technique #2. Curse Like a Sailor
Feeling a little frustrated?
Well, let it out.
Before you start writing, curse like a sailor. Get angry. Be emotional.
Write something youâre passionate about. Have a good rant. Donât worry about going too far.
Good writing isnât about picking the right words. You need to make your audience feel something. Inspire them.
Writing is emotion.
Sure, youâll have to edit your first draft. You might even decide to toss it.
It doesnât matter, though, because the point is to overcome writerâs block, not write the perfect post.
Just remember: you can correct mistakes in a passionate piece of writing, but you canât add emotions to a flat post. So, let it rip.
Technique #3. Use a Different Writing Tool
Stuck in a creative rut?
Switch from Microsoft Word to Google Docs. Or type your post directly into WordPress.
Switch from a serif to a non-serif font. Or try a script font and change your font color to blue. Or my favorite option: Increase your font size.
It seems silly, but itâs amazing how those small changes can cure writerâs block and make writing interesting again.
Technique #4. Take a Short Trip to Overcome Writerâs Block
Missing your family? Got a friend you havenât seen in a while?
Well, letâs go see them.
Instead, hop on a bus, a train, or a plane that takes you there. Then challenge yourself to write a short post before you arrive.
My advice: leave your iPad or laptop at home. Just bring your mobile phone or a pad of paper.
And donât stop writing until you arrive.
Technique #5. Chug Some Caffeine
Okay. Okay. I know caffeine isnât good for you. But sometimes you need something to keep going. Donât waste your fantastic ideas just because you canât keep awake.
Try this schedule: Set a kitchen timer for 25 minutes â or use the focus booster. After 25 minutes of concentrated writing, take a break. Stop even if you feel like finishing a paragraph.
Make yourself a cup of tea or coffee. Start your next 25 minutes and drink your cup of coffee.
Green tea fuels my blog posts. What fuels yours?
Technique #6. Stop Writing for Your Readers
To get over writerâs block, sometimes you just have to write something you want to write. It doesnât matter whether it suits your blog or not.
Just get on with it. Get it off your chest. Why not?
Technique #7. Stop Planning Your Posts
Writing a post outline can speed up your writing. Itâs a proven technique.
But it can also suck the joy out of writing.
When you find yourself bored with a particular piece, stop planning. Write whatever comes into your mind. It may all be gibberish, but somewhere youâll find a precious idea. A thought you can use to create a full post.
Technique #8. Surprise Yourself with This Writerâs Block Technique
Give your mind time to wander. Get distracted. Embrace serendipity.
Donât read only blogs about your topic. Donât just follow industry peers on Twitter. Donât just read the latest books of thought leaders in your niche.
Go to a random movie. Watch a random channel on TV. Go to a museum. Surprise yourself. Find unexpected metaphors.
The creative process is unpredictable, mysterious, and serendipitous (Malcolm Gladwell). Fuel your creativity by reading outside your niche.
Technique #9. Write at a Different Time
Routine habits can be good for creativity and reducing writerâs block. But what if your writing practice gets associated with lack of inspiration, procrastination, and despair?
Break your habit.
Try writing at a different time. Experiment.
Technique #10. Write at a Different Place
Leaving your desk is a proven cure for creative blocks. If you can, take a break and go travelling. If you canât travel, just drag yourself away from your desk.
Go to a park. Try your local Starbucks or go to the library. Go somewhere thatâs not associated with work.
Take your iPad and write wherever your feet take you.
Technique #11. Go to a Bookstore
If youâre lucky, your bookstore sells coffee and tea. So, make yourself comfortable, find the shelf with books about your niche, and open up your notepad. (Thank you to Sean dâSouza for this idea.)
Look through the table of contents of each book to find blog post ideas. Write them down in your notepad.
Donât leave the bookstore until youâve written down 10 ideas for new blog posts. And if youâre enjoying yourself, outline one or two posts in your notepad while finishing your cup of coffee.
Donât read any further than the table of contents. You should write the content of your blog post yourself (of course).
Technique #12. Wash the Dishes to Get over Writerâs Block
Do you get your best ideas in the shower?
Your brain needs to relax before coming up with an insight. Staring at your computer screen might work counterproductive. Trying to force an insight might actually prevent the insight from appearing.
If you donât want to waste water by showering three times a day, try other routine tasks: Hoover your room. Fold the laundry. Or wash the dishes. Above all: Relax.
Technique #13. Create Your Own Merry-Go-Round
Done all your household chores? Or just donât feel like cleaning again?
Try this alternative routine: walk around in circles. Or just pace up and down your room.
Seems silly, I know, but sometimes just the simple act of movement can help you overcome writerâs block. Give it shot.
#14. Shut Down Your Computer
In his book Steal Like an Artist, Austin Kleon describes his digital and his analogue desk. The analogue desk is where his work is born. The digital desk is for editing and publishing.
Come on. Shut down your computer. Get a pen and paper. Or pencils, markers, and index cards. Get the feeling that youâre making something. It will inspire you.
Technique #15. Browse Your Photo Albums
Sharing tidbits about yourself is a good way to build up a relationship with your readers.
Browse your photo album to find anecdotes to share; and link these stories to your topic. Thatâs how I came up with the idea of comparing cycling trips with surviving a content marketing journey.
Remind yourself of who you are. Think about the lessons youâve learnt. Who has inspired your career? How have your travels influenced your thinking?
Technique #16. Stop Worrying About Grammar to Deal with Writerâs Block
Trying to write the perfect post can discourage you from writing.
Stop trying to be perfect.
Accept your first draft may be crappy. Just write as fast as you can. Editing can come later.
Technique #17. Goof Around on Facebook, Linkedin or Instagram
Social media can be a huge time suck. We all know that.
But if youâre stuck and donât know what to write about, then social media is a rich mine full of precious ideas.
Give yourself half an hour. Interact and ask some questions. Enjoy yourself. Above all, absorb what others are talking about. Youâre bound to find a good idea.
Just be sure to set a timer. You donât want to get lost out there while trying to get rid of writerâs block.
Technique #18. Start in the Middle
You know you need to draw a reader into your post with a fantastic introduction. Thatâs true. But trying to write the perfect opening can obstruct your writing process.
Leave your introduction for later. Just get going with your post.
Technique #19. Reread Your Glory Posts
Youâve lost your mojo and doubting your writing skills. It happens to all bloggers at some stage.
Remember that post youâve written a while back? Your best ever post?
Go back and read the post. Word by word. You see how good you are?
That talent didnât go anywhere. Itâs still inside you.
Sometimes we just need a little reminder.
Technique #20. Take a Cigarette Break to Get past Writerâs Block
Whoa. A smoke?
Well, you donât have to light up. But a cigarette break takes about five minutes. And thatâs the perfect time to recharge yourself.
The secret to creative productivity is to take breaks while youâre still in a flow. It helps you to get started again after your break.
If you donât crave a cigarette every so often, good for you! Just set a timer to take a break.
Donât spend your break tweeting, liking, and plussing. Thatâs not truly relaxing.
Spend five minutes staring out of the window. Stand outside on your porch or balcony and listen to the traffic. Or watch the clouds float by. As if youâre a lonely smoker.
Technique #21. Listen to the Rain
Whatâs the most relaxing sound?
When you take your âcigaretteâ break to stare out of the window, switch on the sound of rain.
Technique #22. Be a Misfit
Being a blogger isnât about conforming to the norms.
Donât feel the pressure to be like your hero bloggers. You have to stand out on the web. You have to be YOU.
Accept youâre a misfit. Just like me. Just like Jon. Just like all other bloggers.
Be yourself. Enjoy yourself. Because your enthusiasm is contagious.
Technique #23. Steal Ideas
Is your wish to be original causing your writerâs block?
Learn how to steal ideas and make them your own. Snatch post ideas from different writers, but donât copy outright.
Read widely. Mix ideas from scientists and artists. Plunder quote books.
As Austin Kleon says: âAll creative work builds on what came before.â
Technique #24. Read Health Magazines to Cure Writerâs Block
I wonât lecture you about keeping fit. You know that.
But health magazines are one of the best sources for headline and blog post inspiration.
For instance, the idea to write 36 Quick Fixes to Jumpstart Lifeless Business Blogs came from the headline Food Fixes for Insomnia.
Technique #25. Reread Your First Ever Blog Post
If youâve been blogging for six months or more, youâve written a lot. And youâve learnt a lot.
Go back to your first few blog posts.
Find one you can rewrite. Add power words, glean new insights, develop new arguments, and new examples.
Voila. You got a new post.
Technique #26. Create Weird Challenges
Is writing becoming a chore? Fed up with writing how-to posts?
Create new challenges to have some fun. For instance:
Tickle your brain to make writing fun.
Technique #27. Get Your Inner Critic on Your Side
The difference between good and great bloggers is your inner critic. As Mike Monday says:
âA good producer and a great producer have the same number of ideas â some good, some great. But a great producer will know the difference.â
Your inner critic can help you become a better blogger. So how do you get him on your side?
Start writing a few practice paragraphs. Youâre just warming up. Listen to your inner critic to see how you can improve. Write and edit as you go.
Your inner critic doesnât need to be your enemy. He could be your cure for writerâs block. Make him your friend.
The Truth About Writerâs Block
Writing is hard work. Thereâs no doubt about that.
But you can make it even harder by accepting writerâs block.
Donât become a tortured genius.
Choose to get on with writing.
Experiment. Find out what works for you. Write where and when you like. Be as crazy as you like to be.
Come on. Have fun. Letâs try something wacky.
About the Author: Henneke Duistermaat is an irreverent copywriter and business writing coach. Sheâs on a mission to stamp out gobbledygook and to make boring business blogs sparkle. Get her free 16-Part Snackable Writing Course for Busy People and learn how to enchant your readers and win more business.
The post Writerâs Block: 27 Techniques to Overcome It Forever appeared first on Smart Blogger.