Writer’s block is a symptom of something else.
Writers block. Every writer experiences it, but none of us wish for it. Unfortunately, this mental hurdle occurs at is what is the worst of times. Crunch time. A deadline. An impatient client or a tough editor awaits your final copy.
And here you sit, staring at your screen in a haze of brain fog, the words evading you. Those words mock you from the far reaches of your mind. They are in there, waiting for you to pull them out.
But you freeze instead. Don’t question if this situation will happen to you. Assume that it will, sooner or later. Even the most famous writers admit to the same problem. Nevertheless, we must all work through this issue–no excuses!
German-American novelist and poet, Charles Bukowski, perhaps explained it the best:
“Writing about a writer’s block is better than not writing at all.” -Charles BukowskiTweet
What Causes Writer’s Block?
There are few careers in which one would flay open their heart and soul and lay it out on display for the world to critique. But that is what every published writer does, day after day.
Whether you are ghostwriting, writing a blog post, or self-publishing a novel doesn’t matter. You fear judgment.
An editor, peers, family, and readers will review your work. For many authors, that apprehension becomes a problem that extinguishes the creative process.
As a result, you lose focus, drive, creativity, or all three! This is writer’s block.
Let’s move on. We will explore six ways to release this mental blockage, so your creative juices can flow freely.
Six Ways to Overcome Writers Block
You’ve hit that roadblock. So what comes next? Try these techniques, cited by published authors.
1 – Keep writing to work through the anxiety of writers block
When writer’s block happens, you might become tempted to walk away in disgust. However, that is the single-worst move you could make. Indeed, this is the moment to rise to the challenge.
Keep writing, even when the anxious feelings persist. Later, you can go back and edit the work heavily. Or, it could be epic content. You will not see the final result until you get those words committed to the document.
2 – Release yourself from unrealistic expectations
When you sit down at your desk to write, you will not create a masterpiece every time. To think you should is unrealistic. Such a lofty expectation sets you up to fail. Develop a writing system that permits you to quickly work through a first draft, with little regard for perfection. Then go back later and scrub every bit of the work.
When you have writer’s block, you can apply the same idea. Relieve yourself from the self-imposed pressure, get your thoughts on paper (as in point #1), and know that perfectly imperfect writing is part of the overall experience.
3 – Break your work into small and manageable bites
As noted in the opening, writer’s block happens at the worst times. As such, the best treatment is prevention. Careful planning of your time and setting small project goals can be the most actionable solution.
For example, you must write a long-format blog post for a top client. You know you will not achieve this in just one writing session. Instead, plan to work on it a little bit each day leading up to your deadline.
You might perform keyword research on day one, write your h2 and h3 tags on day two, research day three, and then lead into the writing. Having this structure will give you the confidence to avoid problems later in the process.
4 – Know what motivates and inspires you to keep writing
Writing might be your passion, but it is also your career of choice. What inspires you and keeps you motivated every time you put your thoughts into words?
Is it the freedom to work when and where you please? Do you love the creative angle of your work? Does the writing lifestyle offer you advantages that you’d not have otherwise?
When you experience a mental block as you write. Stop for a moment. Reflect on the things that inspire you. Take a deep breath with gratitude, then keep pushing through the haze.
5 – Write from the heart
Examine whether you are writing sincerely or making a mockery of the process, triggering a pause in the flow of ideas. Remember to write from the heart as you challenge yourself to break through this self-imposed barrier.
Authenticity is the difference between mediocrity and excellence in writing. So while you want to achieve greatness, you can only get there if you write sincerely.
6 – Eliminate distractions that lead to writers block
Distractions offer you a convenient excuse to slip away from the keyboard.
As writers, most of us work from home. It takes almost zero effort to find a million other things to do. However, we then label these to-do list items as, “writer’s block,” and avoid our writing projects.
Physically break away from anything that distracts you. That might mean closing your, taking your laptop outside, or hiding from your children. But you must clear that hurdle to continue your work.
Any less forceful an action results in distractions rolling in like a snowball effect.
Summing It Up: Don’t Use Writer’s Block as an Excuse–Push Through the Mental Blockage
Why do we choose this life? The late, great poet Maya Angelou said it best:
There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you. -Maya AngelouTweet
So we each press on, telling the stories that we hold in our hearts. Writing is not always easy, and it’s not always fun. But many of us choose this path, even when the work becomes difficult.
Although it happens to every writer occasionally, take the advice from this old hand at SEO copywriting. Writer’s block is a non-productive mindset that can mire you in anxiety, cause missed deadlines, and offer excuses for not working. The ability to fix it rests in your two hands. You should not let yourself wallow or remain stuck. Do anything, from freewriting to revising an old blog post. Any momentum forward will help to squeeze your creative juices and restart the flow.
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