Let me guess…
You’re staring at a blank page. Your brain is fried. And you can feel a headache coming on.
You know you should be writing, but…
You can’t do this anymore. Your muse is gone. Your well of inspiration is empty. Finished. Stone-dry.
You’re not just bored or tired. No, no. This is far worse:
You try to stop your mind from wandering off. You try to stop being distracted by your long to-do list. And you try to write, but you feel like everything you do manage to jot down is… well… terrible.
You know you have to keep going, but how? How do you overcome writer’s block and get back into the creative flow?
You need to have some fun.
Not take a break, not go for walk, not get some sleep. All of that is fine and good for a simple case of boredom, but the real cause of writer’s block is you’re holding on too tight.
You need to loosen up and go a little crazy. You need to let the goofy side of you out for a little while and get your creative juices flowing again.
Here are 27 refreshingly original ways for overcoming writer’s block (plus 4 bonus tips provided by Smart Blogger’s Editor-in-Chief).
Let’s dive in:
Whether you’ve just started a blog and have 10 readers or have been blogging a long while and have 10,000, thinking about them makes writing a post daunting.
So, forget about your readers. Instead, create an imaginary friend.
Your friend is a real fan. He (or she) loves everything you write. He supports everything you do.
Give your imaginary friend a name. Create a little drawing or find a picture of a lookalike. Pin this picture on the wall above your desk.
Instead of writing a blog post, start a conversation with your friend. Or write him a letter. Discuss his dreams and challenges. Help him with whatever he is struggling with.
Be a good friend.
Feeling a little frustrated?
Well, let it out.
Before you start writing, curse like a sailor. Get angry. Be emotional.
Write something you’re passionate about. Have a good rant. Don’t worry about going too far.
Writing is emotion.
Sure, you’ll have to edit your first draft. You might even decide to toss it.
Do not fear, though, because the point is to overcome writer’s block, not write the perfect post.
Just remember: you can correct mistakes in a passionate piece of writing, but you can’t add emotions to a flat post. So, let it rip.
Stuck in a creative rut?
Switch from Microsoft Word to Google Docs. Or type your post directly into WordPress.
Switch from a serif to a non-serif font. Or try a script font and change your font color to blue. Or my favorite option: Increase your font size.
It seems silly, but it’s amazing how those small changes can cure writer’s block and make writing interesting again.
Missing your family? Got a friend you haven’t seen in a while?
Well, let’s go see them.
Instead, hop on a bus, a train, or a plane that takes you there. Then challenge yourself to write a short story before you arrive.
My advice: leave your iPad or laptop at home. Just bring your mobile phone or a pad of paper.
And don’t stop your writing session until you arrive.
Okay. Okay. I know caffeine isn’t good for you. But sometimes you need something to keep going. Don’t waste your fantastic ideas just because you can’t keep awake.
Make yourself a cup of tea or coffee. Start your next 25 minutes and drink your cup of coffee.
Green tea fuels my blog posts. What fuels yours?
To get over writer’s block, sometimes you just have to write something you want to write. It doesn’t matter whether it suits your blog or not.
Just get on with it. Get it off your chest. Why not?
Writing a post outline can speed up your writing project. It’s a proven technique.
But it can also suck the joy out of writing.
When you find yourself bored with a particular piece, stop planning. Write whatever comes into your mind. It may all be gibberish, but somewhere you’ll find a precious new idea. A thought you can use to create a full post.
Give your mind time to wander. Get distracted. Embrace serendipity.
Don’t read only blogs about your topic. Don’t just follow industry peers on Twitter. And don’t just read the latest books of thought leaders in your niche.
The creative writing process is unpredictable, mysterious, and serendipitous. Fuel your creativity by reading outside your niche.
Routine habits can be good for creativity and reducing writer’s block. But what if your writing practice gets associated with lack of inspiration, procrastination, and despair?
Break your writing routine.
Try a different writing time. Experiment.
Go to the park. Try your local coffee shop or go to the library. Go somewhere that’s not associated with work.
Day after day, you sit down to write at your desk. Mix things up. Take your iPad and write wherever your feet take you.
Don’t leave the bookstore until you’ve written down 10 story ideas for new blog posts. And if you’re enjoying yourself, outline one or two posts in your notepad while finishing your cup of coffee.
Don’t read any further than the table of contents. You should write the content of your blog post yourself (of course).
Do you brainstorm your best ideas in the shower?
If you don’t want to waste water by showering three times a day, try other routine tasks: Vacuum your room. Fold the laundry. Or wash the dishes. Above all: Relax.
Done all your household chores? Or just don’t feel like cleaning again?
Try this alternative routine: walk around in circles. Or just pace up and down your room.
Seems silly, I know, but sometimes just the simple act of movement can help you overcome writer’s block. Give it shot.
Sharing tidbits about yourself is a good way to build up a relationship with your readers.
Perfectionism can discourage you from writing. That mistake in the above subhead? It’s killing you, isn’t it?
Stop trying to be perfect.
But if you feel stuck and don’t know what to write about, then social media is a rich mine full of fresh ideas.
Give yourself half an hour. Interact and ask some questions. Enjoy yourself. Above all, absorb what others are talking about. You’re bound to find a good idea.
Just be sure to set a timer. You don’t want to get lost out there while trying to get rid of writer’s block.
You know you need to draw a reader into your post with a fantastic introduction. That’s true. But trying to write the perfect opening can obstruct your writing process.
Leave your introduction for later. Just get going with your post.
You’ve lost your mojo and doubting your writing skills. It happens to all bloggers at some stage.
Remember that post you’ve written a while back? Your best ever post?
Go back and read the post. Word by word. See how good you are?
That talent didn’t go anywhere. It’s still inside you.
Sometimes we just need a little reminder.
Whoa. A smoke?
Well, you don’t have to light up. But a cigarette break takes about five minutes. And that’s the perfect time to recharge yourself.
The secret to creative thinking is to take breaks while you’re still in a flow. It helps you to get started again after your break.
If you don’t crave a cigarette every so often, good for you! Just set a timer to take a break.
Don’t spend your break tweeting, liking, and plussing. That’s not truly relaxing.
Spend five minutes staring out of the window. Stand outside on your porch or balcony and listen to the traffic. Or watch the clouds float by. As if you’re a lonely smoker.
What’s the most relaxing sound?
When you take your “cigarette” break to stare out of the window, switch on the sound of rain.
Being a professional writer isn’t about conforming to the norms.
Don’t feel the pressure to be like your hero bloggers. You have to stand out on the web. You have to be YOU.
Accept you’re a misfit. Just like me. And just like Jon. Just like all other bloggers.
Be yourself. Enjoy yourself. Because your enthusiasm is contagious.
Is your quest for an original idea causing your writer’s block?
Learn how to steal ideas and make them your own. Snatch post ideas from famous writers, but don’t copy outright.
As Austin Kleon says: “All creative work builds on what came before.”
I won’t lecture you about keeping fit. You know that.
But health magazines are one of the best sources for headline and blog post inspiration.
If you’ve been blogging for six months or more, you’ve written a lot. And you’ve learned a lot.
Don’t wait for inspiration to strike — go back to your first few blog posts.
Find one you can rewrite. Add power words, glean new insights, develop new arguments, and new examples.
Voila. You got a new post.
Is writing becoming a chore? Fed up with writing how-to posts?
Create new challenges to have some fun. For instance:
Tickle your brain to make writing fun.
“A good producer and a great producer have the same number of ideas — some good, some great. But a great producer will know the difference.”
Your inner critic doesn’t need to be your enemy. He could be your cure for writer’s block. Make him your friend.
Ask Alexa to play your favorite song. Get up and dance like no one’s watching.
And if someone is watching, ask them to join you.
Anyone who has suffered from creative block knows it’s a lonely feeling. When words escape you, it can feel as though you’re the only struggling writer on the planet.
Find a favorite podcast and listen to an episode.
If words are failing you, take a step back and try something a bit more visual. Mind mapping is a technique many writers use to map out and organize their ideas.
Next time creative constipation has you stuck, see if a mind map can push you over the hump.
A proverbial carrot (or literal carrot, if a carrot happens to be your prize) could be just the thing to get you back into the writing groove.
Writing is hard work. There’s no doubt about that.
Don’t become a tortured genius.
Choose to get on with writing.
Experiment. Find a creative solution that works for you. Write where and when you like. Be as crazy as you like to be.
Come on. Have fun. Let’s try something wacky.
The post 27 Miracle Cures for Writer’s Block (+ 4 Bonus Tips) appeared first on Smart Blogger.