We all get stuck writing sometimes. Either for yourself, your brand’s blog or for clients, writing is an essential part of business communication. Writer’s block can happen at the worse times and while there is no singular cure, there are ways to combat it. Let’s dive in.
It’s Monday morning, 6 am. You’ve purposely jumped out of bed early in order to take advantage of a block of time, knowing you will not be bothered. Coffee is made, your MacBook is fired up, your document is open and as you sit down to write…nothing. Writer’s block. Staring at the screen, it feels as though all of your ideas have evaporated into thin air. Sure, you can talk about your topic for hours among colleagues, clients, and friends, but now, at this moment…nothing.
Why does this happen?
Common Causes of Writer’s Block
Writer’s block can happen for a host of reasons, though three of the most common fall into the following:
- Timing – sometimes you may want to write on a topic or need to write on a topic, though your ideas aren’t fully thought out.
- Fear – you may feel strongly of a certain opinion, but when you try to voice it in words, you begin to worry about the backlash of criticism. Writing is a vulnerable exercise and fear of letting your ideas, thoughts, and opinions out into the world for everyone to see can be a major hurdle to overcome.
- Perfectionism – it’s not only what you say, but how you say it and how your write it. Perfectionism is easy to get caught up in with writing as you want to choose your words carefully in order to allow the reader to align with your perspective.
How Can You Overcome Writer’s Block?
It’s tough to answer, as there is no one way. In fact, I myself have to continually try to new creative solutions to keep myself writing. It is a constant battle, but there are ways to combat and prevent writer’s block. The best way is just sit down and begin writing. No matter how you feel, putting pen to paper is the quickest way to overcome writer’s block.
However, for those times that you just can’t bring yourself to begin writing, there are several ways to kickstart your imagination. Here are 25 creative solutions to writer’s block. The best way to find what works for you is to try some of them out and see how they work for you.
25 Creative Solutions to Writer’s Block
- Go for a walk (When the weather is amazing in Chicago, I take my dog Emmet for a walk to allow my ideas to materialize, take in the surroundings, and break up my day.)
- Play (Lego’s are one of the best creative toys ever. Having built with Lego’s since the age of 3, they often help me see the problem I am working on from a different perspective.)
- Eliminate distractions (I use Evernote or Hemingway)
- Change your environment (I work out of my home office, but also work at local coffee shops, coworking spaces, or social business clubs. Just being around people can often make a big difference!)
- Take a shower (Tthe best ideas happen in there!)
- Read a book (Try a book outside of your topic area to get your imagination churning.)
- Freewrite (Sometimes I just start free writing lists of words around a particular topic. Doing so then leads to short phrases, then sentences.)
- Draw (Doesn’t have to be anything amazing, but drawing shapes and little vignettes can help you find the details in your ideas that you couldn’t put into words. I love to go back through my sketchbook and see pages of notes and sketches and how they have influenced and shaped projects.)
- Head to your local Starbucks (or brew some coffee at home)
- Call a friend or family member (Having a spirited discussion or fun conversation can help you shake loose from your mental block, allowing you to write more clearly.)
- Create a routine (For example, set a timer for a 15-minute writing sprint, then take a 15-minute break to play with Legos. Then get back to writing)
- Read your favorite bloggers to get inspired (I love to read Co.Design, Entrepreneur, and Inc. for inspiration.)
- Read some quotes to get you fired up
- Skip the introduction and start with the conclusion instead
- Write down the facts or quotes that you want to include in your writing
- Use a writing prompt such as “I remember the last time I…” or “I can see…“
- Listen to music, preferably without lyrics (I love to listen to techno music or Lindsey Stirling)
- Take a dip in a pool or jump on the treadmill for 20 minutes
- Disconnect – turn off the internet to feel more focused
- Use pen and paper (I love to write and draw in a sketchbook – it helps with the creative process for me)
- Write down a short list of things you have already accomplished – then cross each one off. (Sometimes small wins can kickstart our creativity.)
- Stop editing – focus on getting the words out on paper, or into your document
- Create an outline for your project – this can help you see your progress and where to focus next
- Decide on the purpose of your work – do you want to entertain, inform, educate, or inspire?
- Are you focusing on yourself? Turn the tables and ask yourself what your ideal reader would want from this work? Then, write for your ideal reader.
How to do you break writer’s block? What’s worked for you? Let me know in the comments below.