Lost for words? – How to beat writing block
There are a few things that can lead to a writer’s worst nightmare. A blank screen, your fingers moving but you’re completely lost for words. Writer’s block, it can haunt us at any given moment.
Your own brain can be your biggest time waster. Distracting you from what you really need to get done. As a marketer it can be hard juggling a checklist of SEO requirements to get your blogs seen. Writing content takes time, especially now you should be writing around 2,000 words. AHHH! But remember, quality always beats quantity, and if you write a consistent amount of high-quality content, you should be hitting those top SERP spots.
But what even is writer’s block? It’s simply the creative slump that writers face when they just don’t know what to write. Deadlines, perfectionism, or even lack of motivation can firmly put the brakes on content creation and leave you staring at a blank screen for days.
So, how do people consistently think of interesting ideas and create high-quality content? Do they never fall victim to this evil? The fact is almost every writer faces writer’s block at some point. Writer’s block is real.
That’s exactly why I’ve come up with 6 simple steps, so you don’t succumb to the creativity killer!
First things first, let’s dig deep and try find the root problem to why you are really stuck. Ask yourself:
- Do I lack confidence in my own abilities?
- Do I feel pressured?
- Do I understand the topic well enough?
- Have I lost sight of the objective of the piece?
- Am I simply just tired and rundown?
Each of these have their own solution. If you lack confidence in yourself, just remember no one’s first draft is ever perfect. When you’re a perfectionist you can end up spending hours searching for the perfect phrasing. The best thing to do is write it badly at first, then go back through your work and make tweaks later on.
CREATE A SPACE OF YOUR OWN
You might have a designated office at home or your own workspace at work. No matter where you are, make it a place you want to be. Declutter and put some nice things on your desk such as a plant or a picture that motivates you. Even try moving your desk around to be close to a window with a view.
Swapping my environment for an outdoor space or a café around the corner has done the trick. But after all we are only as strong as our willpower. You might be one of those that needs a “Don’t talk to me. I have no self-control and will talk to you for 3 hours and achieve nothing” signs on your back. If that’s you, set yourself up somewhere to get peace and quiet. If you can’t deal with complete radio silence, turn on your favourite playlist, podcast, or radio station.
In our office we’ve set ourselves up a ‘Team Jams’ playlist on Spotify with all our favourite songs to help motivate us and bring our A-game.
Don’t always try to see the piece of work as a whole and overthink it. Focus on a particular section of the piece and write smaller part without knowing exactly where it will fit.
A lot of problems can be resolved in the just doing this, so It’s important to keep going. You can always rewrite the first draft, so make use of that freedom and then get back to writing that high-quality content.
DO SOMETHING CREATIVE
Every writer is creative, it doesn’t matter how technical the industry you work in is or the type of content you write. If you’re putting words onto a page, then you are creating something. But how can you become more creative when you’re stuck in a creative slump? Fill your mind with creativity and gain back that creative power – anything from reading, hearing, seeing, or doing.
- Just read. Whether it’s a book, blog, or magazine, just find a topic you a really interested in and read for a while. You’ll be surprised how inspired you can be.
- Look at art
- Listen to music
- Listen to a podcast
- Brainstorm with a group
- Free write
- Create a word mind map
- Go for a walk
WORK SMARTER, NOT HARDER
If you are perfectionist (like me) or a procrastinator, this tip is just for you. The Pomodoro Technique, a time management method developed by Francesco Cirillo, to help resist all those self-interruptions and retrain your brain to focus. Try these 6 simple seps:
- Choose a single task to focus on and write it down.
- Set a timer for 25 minutes.
- Work on the task until the timer rings.
- Take a short 5-minute break.
- Work for another 25 minutes.
- After 3-4 work periods of 25 minutes, take a longer 20–30-minute break. Then repeat.
TAKE A BREAK (NOT A KITKAT)
On those days when it’s just not happening, it’s maybe best just to not write. There will be times our brain is tired, and we lack imagination. Can we surrender and stop tapping words onto a page for a short while? My answer is yes. Our mind and body might be demanding a break. Taking time to recharge is essential. Step back, do something you enjoy, then go back to writing with a fresh pair of eyes and recharged brain.
For me, I always feel better after grabbing some fresh air or going for a short walk to clear my head. For others in our office, a quick break to get a caffeine fix will suffice (even if it’s drinking 6 cups of coffee and tea a day – you know who you are!).
If none of these tips help you break through the block, it’s okay. There’s no magic trick or right formula when it comes to overcoming writers block. You never know though, following one of my tips could just be the inspiration you need to find your words again.
Did you find these tips useful? We’d love to hear from you!