Have you ever had writer’s block? That feeling where you can’t get the words on paper, you have nothing to say, everything you write is crap? If you are a writer, it’s likely that you have had writer’s block or you will have writer’s block at some point. Here are nine tips to help you punch through that wall and overcome writer’s block.
1. Change your topic
Keep a running list of post ideas that you can refer to when you need it. You can use a spreadsheet, Evernote, a journal, a Google doc, whatever. Just have someplace that you record ideas when they strike. Then, when you need a fresh idea, you know where to look.
According to my editorial calendar, I’m supposed to be writing a post about financial statements today. But I’m just not feeling it. Every time I sit down to write, I think “ugh.” So, I opened up my Content Idea spreadsheet. Right above the row with “Financial Statements 101” was an idea to write a post about Writer’s Block. Kismet, no?
2. Start writing anyway
If you have a topic that you are committed to writing about, then start writing anyway. This won’t always work, but sometimes just getting a few words on paper is enough to get the juices flowing.
3. Use a magazine cover for inspiration
Take the article titles from a magazine cover and rewrite them to work for your niche. For example, I have a copy of Family Tree magazine with these titles on the cover. This is how I could rework them for the entrepreneur / blogging niche:
- 15 Websites With 1.6 Billion Ancestors –> 15 Websites by Brilliant LadyBoss Bloggers
- 8 Steps to Verify What You Find –> X Steps to Verify Your Business on Facebook
- 12 Tips to Find Marriage Records –> 12 Tips to Increase Your Pinterest Followers
4. Look at blog posts in a niche completely different from yours
This is the same concept as #3, but using blog posts instead of magazine covers. I looked a decorating/organizing blog and came up with these ideas:
- How to Organize a Small Refrigerator –> How to Organize a Small Home Office Space
- My Quick and Easy Laundry Process –> My Quick and Easy Twitter Scheduling Process
- My 5 Favorite Gray Paint Colors –> My 5 Favorite Tech Tools
See how that works? You just change out a few words and you have a completely different post idea (and hopefully some inspiration to go along with it).
5. Look through your Pinterest feed
This one could be dangerous on two fronts but look through your Pinterest feed for ideas. You likely follow a lot of pinners who pin content similar to what you write. You don’t want to steal their ideas. Just use them for inspiration. And set a timer, so that you don’t fall down the Pinterest rabbit hole.
6. Change location
If you normally work at your desk, then take your laptop or tablet to a different location. This could be a coffee shop or library if you want to get out of the house. Even moving to a different room can be helpful. I’m sitting outside by the pool as I write this and I feel much more inspired than when I was in my office.
7. Do something completely different
If you are really stuck, then it might be helpful to get out of your head for a while. Go for a walk. Get a pedicure. Play with your dog. At the very least you’ll come back to work refreshed and you might even have a brainstorm while you are otherwise occupied.
8. Give yourself permission to write badly
Sometimes you just have to bang it out. Don’t judge or over-analyze. Put words on paper. You can edit later (and scrap it if need be). If you write professionally, then you don’t have the luxury of waiting for inspiration to strike. You have to be disciplined enough to do the work.
9. Refer to a list of prompts
The last tip is to refer to a list of blog prompts or writing prompts. Prompts come in different forms. Sometimes they are lists of one word for inspiration. Sometimes they look like headlines with a few words missing. Sometimes they have a seasonal or theme slant. I have a free download of 25 blog prompts to get you started.
What are your best tips for overcoming writer’s block?