Updated: May 10, 2019
Being a creative professional, especially a writer, is mentally exhausting. You always need to be on your A-game, coming up with brilliant ideas for thought-provoking articles and executing on them flawlessly. Some weeks you’re firing out new content a mile a minute. Then, the next day… BAM! You hit a wall.
There are 5 simple tricks you can use to overcome writer’s block. By turning these steps into habitual practices, you’ll build new confidence in your writing abilities and emerge from the abyss of writer’s block with a renewed sense of creativity.
Find out what others are talking about.
You’re never going to be the only one writing about a given topic. That means you can find an abundance of discussions and articles on different platforms. See what’s hot in your industry by checking out discussion forums on Reddit, Quora, and Twitter. Not only will you get a sense of what’s trending, you’ll also get to know thought leaders and uncover new information to get your creative juices flowing.
Look to your strengths and branch out.
If you’re a writer, you’re most likely also a habitual reader and instinctive researcher. Start tagging and saving your favorite newsletters, articles, discussions, and blog posts. That way they’ll be available to go back and read again. Perhaps something in them will provide just the right amount of information and motivation you need.
Talk to your customers.
The best way to know what your customers want to read is to ask them. You can reach out to your most active customers via email or engage them on social media. If you are working with a company, ask your Customer Success Team about any frequently asked questions, interesting suggestions, or feedback they’ve received. You might be surprised by the topics you uncover.
Look at your past work.
No piece is ever truly finished. When you hit a mental block look over your past articles and be inspired. Are there any ideas you can expand on by doing a deeper dive into a subtopic? Review working drafts. Are there items you removed during editing that can be used as a stand alone piece? Also, review any brainstorming notes to see if you can pull out new ideas. Suddenly, those forgotten margin scribbles take on new meaning.
When all else fails and you find yourself staring at a blank screen, banging your head against a desk, take a walk. Sometimes coming back to a piece with fresh eyes is the best thing you can do. In fact, research shows that walking boosts creative output by 60 percent. This gives your brain a break and gives you a chance to refocus and recenter. (And it’s exactly what I needed when writing this quick article.)
Writer’s block comes and goes. Overcoming it takes practice. Though there is no single quick fix, forming good habits about how you approach writer’s block can ensure that it is short-lived.
One more tip… When you’re riding the wave of creativity, jot down every crazy idea that pops into your head. You’re a writer, after all, and good notes always come in handy. You’ll be grateful for your brilliance the next time you think you’ve lost your edge.
How do you overcome writer’s block? Share your tips and tricks with us.