Writer’s block is that creative affliction that can strike without warning and really put a cramp in your productivity. As someone who spends the majority of her day writing for a variety of clients with different needs, trust me when I say I have experienced writer’s block. In fact, anyone who writes for a living, or even part-time, is probably lying if they say they have never faced this affliction.
Don’t Let Writer’s Block Put a Crimp in Your Productivity…or Your Creativity
Considering that there has definitely been an increase in individuals who have to do some level of writing in their day-to-day life, whether it be for professional reasons or for personal ones, it’s easy to understand why so many people cringe at the idea of being mentally stumped and frozen at their keyboard. No matter if you write for content marketing or online promotional purposes and are constantly trying to come up with new copy to appease the Google Gods, or if you are working to commit the fictional ideas in your head to paper, writer’s block can be debilitating. But now, take a deep breath. I’ll give you some tips that I have found to work when I have faced a deadline, but cannot figure out what to write.
Tips for Tackling Writer’s Block:
- Get some exercise. Yes, it might feel hard to separate yourself from your desk when you are facing writer’s block along with a deadline, but let me tell you that it does no good to continue sitting there. Go to the gym, go for a walk, grab your dog’s leash and stretch your four-legged friend’s legs along with your own. No matter what you do, it will help give your brain a break and when you return to your desk, you will feel refreshed and your mind will be clear.
- Get a change of scenery. Now, I don’t mean that you have to jump on a plane and head to the islands. As nice as that might be, I realize that it is probably impractical on a moment’s notice. For your best writing, ultimately, you must be able to focus and your office or your home might not be facilitating this. Grab your laptop and head outside, to a coffee shop, to a park, to anywhere. At the same time, don’t bring your phone and forego checking your email. These only aid in distraction.
- Pretend it’s 1990 and forget about the Internet. Turn off your wireless router, disconnect your modem, close your Web browser; do all of this and watch yourself regain your focus. Beating writer’s block means you need to get your attention on track and this requires you to disconnect. Trust me, the Internet isn’t going anywhere. TMZ, your site’s analytics, Facebook—they will all be here when you get back.
- Listen to some tunes. I have one writer on staff who continually listens to music all day, and I can tell you that he is one of the most creative writers I know. Moreover, his productivity is incredible. Music inspires creativity and new ideas. Try it, but probably try to stay away from tunes that might be deemed aggressive or in-your-face. Combining music like that with writer’s block is only going to raise your anxiety level.
- Address your writer’s block first thing in the morning. If you know that there is part of an article, a blog post or a manuscript that is really killing you, set it aside at night and address it first thing in the morning after a good night’s sleep. Be proactive about tackling this problem and address it before you have the chance to get bogged down with anything else.
- Come to grips with the fact that you cannot force it. Let me tell you, trying to force your writing is probably the worst thing you can do. There have been times when I have practically pulled words out of my head to finish a chapter of a manuscript and, when I have come back and read it later, I have realized it was completely useless writing. Of course, by that point, the writer’s block I was experiencing had passed and I was able to look at the particular section I was having problems writing with fresh eyes and new ideas. Simply put, if you try to force it, you will end up rewriting the piece, either because you realize it on your own or because your client looks at you quizzically and says, “You expect me to pay for this?”
In closing, I know there is never an opportune moment to have writer’s block, but it happens. You have to learn how to deal with it when it does and move on. Or, simply consider the words of Steve Martin, “Writer’s block is a fancy term made up by whiners so they can have an excuse to drink alcohol.” While it might be fun to throw up your hands and say “Cheers!” the professional in me says that if you are having some serious problems with writer’s block, put the bottle of wine back on the rack and call my company at 803-831-7444 or visit www.grammarchic.net. Grammar Chic is here to help you cope.