Tag Archives: working through writer’s block

How to Overcome Writer’s Block (And Generate Better Blog Topics)

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Content marketing requires constant engagement. It’s like a beast that must continually be fed. You can’t slack off, or take a month off from content creation; there are always new blog posts to be written, new social media updates to share, new emails to send. If you stop moving—if you stop hustling—your audience will shrink and your efforts will come up short.

This can obviously lead to some obstacles. Take blogging as an example. When you’re tasked with developing new, unique, creative blog posts every single day, it can be draining. You may find yourself developing a case of writer’s block, even as you also realize that you don’t have that luxury. You’ve got to keep writing—but how can you come up with a fresh topic to write about, without simply plundering and repurposing older ideas?

There are some simple habits that can prove effective in pumping those creative juices, and providing you with the fresh insights and ideas you need.

Have Regular Brainstorming Sessions

You may be the person who is tasked with writing the company blog posts, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get some help sparking your creativity. Meet with team members once a month or so and ask them for their thoughts. What are some of the questions that customers have been asking them? What are some of the topics they’ve detected interest in? How do they see the blog being improved, made more useful and informative? These brainstorming sessions can generate new perspectives you may not have thought of otherwise.

Look Through Your Customer Correspondence

Make a habit of regularly reading your recent customer emails or social messages, and take note of the questions or concerns that people are bringing up. Those are things people want to hear more about. Those are the pain points. And those can make for really timely and relevant blog posts.

Consider Your Hobbies

We’ve written articles comparing content marketing to The Walking Dead and to Mad Men—because we happen to really like those shows. Are there activities or passions in your personal life that you could translate into blog posts? Think about the things you care most about, outside of the office, and ask yourself how these things intersect with your professional life.

Subscribe to Other Industry Blogs

This one is simple: When you see another industry blog that you admire, bookmark it, or subscribe to the RSS feed. Make a habit of at least skimming through these posts from your competitors, and using them as potential launch pads for your own posts. (Obviously, you need to make sure you’re putting your own spin on things, not pilfering posts wholesale.)

These are all basic habits you can form that will keep your good-idea machine hoppin’. If you need an extra hand, though, we’re always around. Contact Grammar Chic’s ghostwriters at 803-831-7444 or at www.grammarchic.net.

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Filed under Blog Writing, Business Writing, Content Marketing, Content Writing, Writing

Writer’s Block Help: Practical Tips

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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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.

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