You sit there procrastinating, and get distracted by a text message, start pushing down your cuticles, and swing from side to side in your office chair.
The bright white from a blank word document makes your eyes hurt, and, for one reason or another, the words just aren’t coming to you.
Writer’s block amongst content marketers is common. It’s not hard to believe that every author, writer, blogger or journalist has at some point or another felt like they’ve hit a brick wall and simply cannot find the words to continue writing, or doubt that the words they are writing are good enough.
(Oh look, I have a new text! Be right back.)
What on earth can I write about this week? Didn’t it just feel like yesterday that you were submitting last week’s post?
Well, you’re not the first, and you certainly won’t be the last content marketer or blogger to be bogged down by writer’s block.
Writer’s block is frustrating (but it’s common, too!). Here are a few methods you can follow to combat it.
Don’t write for the sake of filling a quota
This is probably the biggest obstacle when it comes to combating writer’s block
If you’re pretty good at regularly sticking to a blogging schedule, you might fall into the trap of producing something of lower quality that usual purely for the sake of filling a particular week’s blogging quota.
Writing for the sake of writing leads only to forced content that may be poorly written and serves a less important or significant purpose.
Avoid perfection when you write a blog
Your first draft won’t be flawless, and your second and third ones mightn’t be, either! But if you can’t move on from one paragraph until it’s perfect, you won’t reach the next one.
Remember it’s okay (and often recommended) to come back and edit a piece later, once you’ve had a break from it and will be more likely to pick up spelling and grammar errors as well as poor sentence structures.
As Margaret Atwood said, “If I waited for perfection, I would never write a word.”
(I haven’t checked Instagram for ten whole minutes; better take a writing break.)
Jot down ideas (even when you’re not in “work mode”)
No matter how vague or far-fetched they might sound, note down any ideas that come to you, whether it’s something you see online that resonates with you, a random thought you have on the way home form work, or something someone says when you’re out to lunch.
Write out of order
This might seem totally confusing and nonsensical to some, but writing out of order – that is, perhaps, leaving the introduction until last and starting with the bulkier midsection – can help you form a clearer structure around a piece of text.
(Time for coffee break number four. It’s only midday.)
No, really – go! Go for a walk or eat lunch at a nearby restaurant to change up your environment and clear your head. You might come back refreshed and inspired. If so, great! If not, it’s still okay: you can…
…leave for the day (and come back tomorrow)
Sometimes it will get all too overwhelming and exasperating when you’re sitting at your computer forcing yourself to stick it out for another hour.
That’s why it’s okay to leave a post half finished at the end of the day and come back to it the next day. In fact, it will help. You’ll come back tomorrow with fresh eyes and maybe even a new perspective, angle, or ideas.
Leaving a piece of writing, especially when you’re frustrated with writer’s block, can oftentimes be the best thing to do. Come back to it tomorrow and start with a fresh outlook.
Round-up posts are a certain ‘saving face’ kind of blog post. When you’re struggling for words, unleash the power of the internet and curate a bunch of articles or posts around a certain topic.
A summary of each article or your own opinion (plus a link, of course) will be the bulk of your content for this kind of post.
Realise you’re not the only one
Other writers who have been crippled by writer’s block at one time or another include:
- Maya Angelou
- Mark Twain
- Ernest Hemingway
- Dan Brown
- Roald Dahl
John Steinbeck once told George Plimpton when you’re faced with writer’s block to “pretend that you’re writing not to your editor or to an audience or to a readership, but to someone close, like your sister, or your mother, or someone that you like.”
Lastly, don’t panic
All writers experience writer’s block at some point or another. Remember the tips above, go have a break, and come back tomorrow with a fresh outlook on your writing.
If you’re bored of your story, it doesn’t mean that your story is boring! Leave it. Press save, shut down Word, and work on something else. Come back hours or a day later, and pick up where you left off.
(And if this is all too much for you, let us take care of it!)