Four Killer Ways to Shut Down Writer’s Block

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.

Brainstorm Solutions

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?

Rachel Elle

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Rachel has spent her whole whole life writing. In addition to academic pursuits throughout her education, Rachel holds a Bachelor of Arts in English with a concentration in creative writing and a Master of Accounting. She excels in in business writing, including accounting, marketing, finance, investments, and taxation.

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0 thoughts on “Four Killer Ways to Shut Down Writer’s Block”

  • Avatar

    Love the tips here. I think it’s not worthy being cautious about reading others work on the same subject though and you may unintentionally insert pieces you have read and mistake them for your own thoughts later on. After all original content is important.

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      Georgia Potts says:

      Yes, I’ve done this many times. Writing about something random can get your mind off what stumped you and get you back into creative mode.

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    These are really helpful pointers for all of us. Every content writer runs into writer’s block now and then. I really like your suggestion to re-read one or two of one’s most successful pieces. Doing that puts a smile on your face and boosts your confidence so that you can push past the writer’s block and produce a brilliant article.

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      Getting a jolt of confidence when things seem hopeless is one of the most important experiences a writer can have. I think you always appreciate when that newfound confidence arrives, no matter how many times you’ve been in that seemingly hopeless situation before.

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        This is true under any circumstances. If I’m having a bad day for a reason unrelated to writing, an email with feedback from a client can still turn everything around. In a creative field that is so variable and subjective, a little validation can go a long way.

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      I agree! After reading both my works and others’–My confidence returns that had once disappeared! Usually I am hard on myself when suffering WB, so I find more success in inspiring myself through others work.

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    Georgia Potts says:

    Keeping confidence is really vital. I have a praise folder in my email where I put client praise. When I feel that confidence draining, I read through some of it. You have to have confidence, especially when you’re freelancing and have clients who have to be kept happy.

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      Thankfully I don’t suffer often from writer’s block. If I’m not sure what to write, I take the title of the content requested and google it. I skip around, reading a few articles of the same title. If I can’t come up with anything after that, I work on another piece and put the frustrating one aside for a bit.

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    ” writing anything at all can help you re-gain momentum to move forward” This is so true. Just have to keep writing no matter what!

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      Free writing is one of my last-ditch efforts. I’ll jot down some headline ideas, write parts of sentences that may fit, and then take a break and come back to it when I’ve cleared my mind.

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    Writer’s block is such a pain, and these are very helpful tips. I always read what others are writing on the same topics, as in my humble opinion, it’s almost impossible to come up with truly new ideas. What I mean is, how many blog articles can I write about air conditioning repair and not be a bit redundant?

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      That’s my first step in almost any article. I read as much as I can and use pre-existing information to create an outline of sorts that I can use to fill in the blanks. It’s an easy way to keep ideas and facts organized, especially on topics that take more research than I’m used to.

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      In terms of redundancy, I don’t think you can. For some topics, especially boring ones without much variation, I think that’s just a natural downside.

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    Grant Maddox says:

    Excellent tips, Rachel. I have found especially useful the advice to brainstorm ideas and write them down. Usually when I just put some stuff down on the page, then a bunch of things coalesce at the same time, and writing the article becomes a breeze.

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      Another thing to remember is you don’t have to work solo in a silo. Grab some family or friends close by and rock a quick brainstorming session together. Branstorming rule #1: don’t criticize or knock ANY ideas on the first round. Write EVERY idea down and then analyze them after 🙂

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    “…Writing anything at all can help you re-gain momentum to move forward.” So true: stream-of-consciousness writing helps me deal with writer’s block!

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    I agree that sometimes the best answer to resolve writers block is simply to move on to another project, even when it is a completely unrelated one. I’m not sure why that is. I’ve wondered if we can actually blow out the energy in part of our brain, so we actually have to do something else in order to restore full brain function. So, if you’re trying to figure out how to write an awesome article, you might want to spend some time fixing up your car. I remember reading the Sherlock Holmes stories, and he would play with his chemistry set when he would get what I’ll call “detective block.” If he really couldn’t figure it out and his brain was out of options, he would just goof off. Unfortunately, this process often included substance abuse in the stories.

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      Unfortunately so ! I think painting or indulging in whatever hobbies you have can reignite that drive without the substance abuse . However, there have been many studies that suggest a variety of natural ways can indeed, improve the quality of ones thoughts and perspective on ideas they were once closed off too.

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    I suffered from writers block for practically a year! Fortunately It was a mere inconvenience to myself at that time–Although, how would that impact my career as a content writer today? I finally climbed myself out when I pulled the old compost notebook and pen out. Walking through the steps really helped regain my focus, although I had to shift topics entirely. Finding time to read was also essential in regaining my originally focus. Has anyone else required a combination of these to come out of writers block?

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