The last few weeks have been nothing but grueling hard work for me.
I never thought I’d have this much trouble writing articles, but alas, writer’s block hits everybody sooner or later it seems.
It has gotten so bad that I’ve considered reducing the amount of posts I write each week.
I know many are more comfortable writing only when they get truly inspired, but at the moment, that’s not what works for me.
This period of writer’s hell hasn’t been in vain, because I can now share with you how I am able to write in spite of all this.
Believe it or not, I have had moments of clarity, and I’ve made sure to take maximum advantage of them to get stuff done. This article is one of those moments, so enjoy!
[Update: Today, in 2013, I pretty much never have trouble with writer's block. Just thought I'd pop this update in here to let you know that there are ways of almost always being in the flow.]
1. Copy Others. A great source of “inspiration” for me is to simply look at what others have done. For example, I might check out the Zen Habits archives for post ideas. Anything that will get my mind rolling is okay with me.
2. Write Your Worst. I want everything to be perfect, which is why allowing myself to write an absolutely horrendous article often releases my inner genius. That feeling inside my heart of utter wordlessness is horrible and just writing something down is an accomplishment.
3. It’s Just … I’m all for tricking my mind, and one of the ways I do just that is to tell myself that I’m writing just another blog post. I’m not going for the Pulitzer price. I am just trying to get my thoughts out there and help others improve their lives. It’s not about writing perfect prose, it’s about getting your message out and doing your best. Sometimes we have to remind ourselves of that.
4. Brainstorm. When I’m brainstorming I put up a rough title of the topic I want to write about and write down everything and anything that comes to mind. If you do this, make sure you keep going until you believe you’re empty, then keep going, because that’s when the magic happens.
5. Article Marketing. Article marketing always helps me loosen up, because when I’m writing articles and submitting them to article directories, there’s no pressure. It’s like going on a vacation. Instead of writing on my own blog, I can crank out a handful of articles that bring me traffic for life. Mmm, I might just write a few right now.
6. Focus on Value. When you suffer from writer’s block, what’s on your mind? Are you focused on you? What if you turned it around and focused on the value you can provide? Everyone is afraid, even the successful people you look up to, and besides, insecurity doesn’t pay the bills.
7. Don’t Write. The absolute best way to get over writer’s block is to stop. I tend to overwork myself, so allowing myself to take a break often works brilliantly. This can be dangerous though, because you can’t keep doing it forever if you want to get stuff done.
8. Leverage Deadlines. Currently I have a posting schedule on this blog, which is what keeps me afloat. If you’re anything like me, you tend to get everything done at the last minute. Leveraging my own deadlines hasn’t failed on me yet. Put pressure on yourself and produce.
9. Don’t Try. Do or do not, there is no try. Wise words from Master Yoda. I’ve noticed that when I try too hard, I can’t get anything done. Sometimes I have to remind myself to relax and have fun. There’s no competition. There is no one I have to please but myself. Let go, breathe and write.
10. Have a Purpose. What are you really trying to accomplish with your writing? Do you have a purpose? Having a goal or purpose you can focus on brings momentum. If you’re writing without a goal or purpose, you will be running in circles. Write down what you’re trying to accomplish and remind yourself of it when necessary.
11. Go Crazy. If nothing else works, it’s time to pull out all of the plugs and do something crazy. When we get stuck in our daily routines, our life becomes boring and so do our minds. Go ride a bull, do something you’ve never done before, or travel in an unconventional way. It’s up to you, but make it awesome and mind-blowing, otherwise it won’t work!
12. Ideal Reader. Who are you writing for? A common way to get stuck is to write for a crowd of people. Then you end up wondering if you’re good enough, or if your writing will be liked. Just pick one person to write to. Let your mind go crazy with all the doubts and fears, but you focus on one person. Imagine sitting down with them for a cup of tea, and have a conversation.
In the end, you will have to find your own way. These twelve ways are just some that have helped me get through some seriously frightening writer’s block.
You can get through this.