There are days when I sit down brimming with inspiration for how my words will change the world and then there are days when I stare at the running list of topics on my desk or my list of 25 blog post ideas, get up and make a snack, sit down, check all social media channels, stare out the window, then back at the screen. Short story—I do everything but write. I know that there are words in there somewhere but for the life of me I can’t draw them out.
Part of this comes from my almost incessant worry that there is never enough time. I consistently overestimate how long it will take me to write a thorough post, design a graphic, and schedule all the social media that needs to accompany it. It’s the same reason I can’t take a nap when I know I only have an hour or I can’t go back to sleep if I see that my alarm will be going off within the same time frame.
My neuroses aside, I know that many of you struggle with balance as I do, whether it be work/life, blog/life, blog/work/life/Netflix. Whatever it is, we all have reasons for it and I want to take some time to discuss how to beat writer’s block.
1. Change Location
For me, my location never changes because I love working at home in front of my giant desktop screen. My laptop is slow and old, so naturally I prefer to write on a better computer. This limits me some since I can’t pick it up and take it with me (although that would be amazing), but for those of you with laptops that aren’t the bane of your existence, changing locations may help you get out of that slump.
If you always write in silence, try playing music or head somewhere like a coffee shop that will provide you with ambient noise. Set up shop anywhere aside from where you normally write. Just getting out of your comfort zone may help kick start your creative juices.
2. Take A Break
I know that staring at the screen will not help me start writing. Try taking a break and doing something else. Take a walk, exercise, or run some errands in order to give your mind a chance to reset. You may even find inspiration or new ideas by getting out in the world.
Whenever I feel stuck I try and read. It doesn’t really matter what you read, but I like to go through blogs that are similar to mine or pick up a book I have been reading. I have written some of my best posts after reading something engaging or thought provoking. A lot of times just seeing someone who inspires me will get the ideas flowing.
In my high school creative writing class we always started off with 10 minutes of freewriting. This meant that we would put pen to paper and simply write whatever came to mind. I was always amazed at how I thought I had nothing to say but was soon taking the entire 10 minutes and beyond to explore my thoughts and feelings.
This is especially useful when trying to come up with writing topics. Simply start writing ideas down as they come to you and you’ll be amazed at how many you end up with.
5. Use a Pen
Piggybacking on #4, if you normally write on the computer, change things up and try writing with pen and paper. I never believed that there was a difference and even found it pointless to employ a longer writing strategy, but there is something magical about actually writing things down on a physical piece of paper. I’ve fallen out of the habit, but it’s something that was always very helpful and I need to start making time to do it again.
6. Start Writing!
One of the best ways to beat writer’s block is to simply start writing. There are a lot of times when I want to formulate my entire post in my head in an already perfected and polished format and when I’m unable to do so I don’t even start at all. Welcome to 3216547 other things in my life.
I’ve learned that my writing doesn’t have to be perfect the first time around. I can simply start writing, get everything out, and then go back for any edits. These days I will simply start writing on whatever topic I have chosen and read through/edit it a few times before I am satisfied with the outcome.
- What are your tips for beating writer’s block?
- Do you have a writing schedule?