Nothing can ruin a content marketer’s day quite like writer’s block. In many cases, there’s no cause for it; writer’s block simply appears out of nowhere like a phantom train barreling aggressively towards you. Even an idea that excites you can leave you paralyzed, staring at a blank screen for hours on end. Every sentence you write sounds clunky and awkward, and every idea that comes to mind flees before you can put pen to paper, or fingers to keys.
Writer’s block can be an inconvenience when you’re writing for you, but a frightening pressure chamber when you’re writing for a client. Luckily, a bad day doesn’t mean a bad article. With these tips, you can get back on the horse, even if it takes a little longer than you’re used to.
Even the most challenging assignments have a starting place, and it’s up to you to find it. This doesn’t necessarily mean fully-fleshed sentences, of course; the start of an article can come from anywhere. When you’re struggling to gain traction, a little freestyle brainstorming can help you collect your thoughts.
Jot down ideas, possible section headers, stats and metrics, or anything else that comes to mind. Write words you like, words you don’t, and phrases that meet your fancy. You may use all of it, some of it, or none of it, but going through the paces of writing, even if you’re not writing anything worth reading, can be a big help.
Write Something Else
If one article is stumping you, it may be time to move on to something else. This doesn’t necessarily mean a paying assignment; writing anything at all can help you re-gain momentum to move forward.
Switching focus holds a lot of value in overcoming writer’s block, so take this time to throw yourself into something new. Write a silly poem about your cat, a letter to your imaginary friend from childhood, or a short story. Draft a new diary entry, a business email, or a shopping list to tackle. It doesn’t matter what you choose, but find something and write it.
Read What Other People Write
Writing may be a solitary activity, but writers are members of a vibrant, creative community. When you’re out of your own ideas, reading what other writers were able to accomplish can ignite your imaginative spark once more.
You don’t necessarily have to read articles related to the topic you’re trying to write, although that may help if you’re up to it. If you’d rather switch directions entirely, a few minutes – or a lot of minutes, if you have the time to spare – with a favorite book or well-reputed blog can be all it takes to be inspired once more.
Read What You Write
When you’re feeling like the worst, lowliest writer who ever lived, a confidence boost may be in order. Instead of dwelling on your inability to tackle the assignment sitting in front of you, take a break to read some of your best-received works.
Go over feedback from clients and reread pieces that made a particularly big impact. Return to some of the articles that were the most fun to write, and put yourself into the mindset of the successful writer you were on that day. Remember how it felt to throw yourself into your craft, and embrace the pride and power that comes from well-written work.
Writer’s block happens to everyone, including the very best of the best. It’s a part of the creative process, and working through it is a big part of being a writer. Is it easy? Of course not. But with a little perseverance and the right techniques to adjust your state of mind, it’s possible to keep moving forward. What do you do to beat writer’s block?