If you’re experiencing writer’s block, you’re not alone. It happens to most everyone. All the great writers of history have suffered through their share of writer’s block, from F. Scott Fitzgerald to Harper Lee.
They overcame it and produced great work. You can too, even if your next blog post falls short of The Great Gatsby or To Kill a Mockingbird in terms of cultural impact.
With the right mindset, overcoming writer’s block is absolutely possible.
And if you’re a professional writer, it is important you have the capacity to overcome writer’s block. Work can’t come grinding to a halt because you’re not feeling it that day. You have deadlines to hit, bills to pay, and stuff to get done.
So, how can you overcome writer’s block? We had this conversation the other day at a Hire a Writer team meeting. Together, our team reliably pumps out hundreds of thousands of high-quality words every week. We know a thing or two about getting past those creative gremlins that cause your brain to empty.
Here are a few of our techniques.
Just Do It
This one, I’ll admit, is pretty basic. It’s advice that I took not from the label of my running sneakers but from several of our team members. It’s also a viewpoint shared by much more noted writers.
Anyway, just do it. Put pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard if you live in the digital age with the rest of us, and just write something––even if you don’t think it’s very good. It might feel like a slog, or like a random jumble of thoughts that doesn’t make any coherent sense, but when you come back to it, you’ll often find it’s better than you thought.
And even if it isn’t all good, there will doubtless be some good in there. When you return to your writing, pull out those strands of ideas or sharp sentences and build something better. It’s a whole lot easier than just starting with a blank page.
Take a Different Viewpoint
The more angles you look at something from, the better a picture you get.
If you’re sitting at your desk staring at your brief and struggling to come up with inspiration, try taking a look at things from a different perspective.
Start with small ideas. If you were to summarize this article as a social media caption, what would you say? What if you had to explain the topic to a ten-year-old?
This material might not end up in your finished article, but it’ll help you think about the topic in a different way. Breaking down the material into its core concepts helps you discover the ideas you want to focus on. With that starting point, you’ll have a much better basis for your writing.
Can’t Write? Read
If you’re not feeling inspired to write about a particular topic, read about it instead. Now, you can read anything: the news, a novel, or the Hire a Writer blog. But personally, I find it helpful to read something at least tangential to whatever I’m stuck writing about.
Reading about a topic helps get thoughts mixing in your head. You’ll see the topic from a range of different viewpoints, discover insights you hadn’t thought of, and find helpful research to help with your article.
This doesn’t mean you plagiarize other people’s work. It means you take inspiration from them, build on their ideas, and help move the world’s collective knowledge that little bit further along. Great writing doesn’t happen in a vacuum: it’s nuanced and informed by differing perspectives.
Ignoring what everyone else has already written about a topic isn’t a sign that you're smarter or better––it’s a sign of ignorance and arrogance. Even if you’re not suffering from writer’s block, I suggest you read. Voraciously. It’ll make your writing much better.
Take a Break
Sometimes, you’ve just got to take a step away from the desk and come back to it later. Happily, your work is not a patient on the operating table. You can leave it and come back to it a couple of hours, or days, later.
Sometimes, you might just need to go for a walk around your block, play with your dog, or make a cup of coffee to reset your brain. Other times, you might want to sleep on something and come back to it the next day with a fresh mind. And rarely, you might be so burnt out that you need to head off to a cabin in the woods for a few days and unplug.
Get to know yourself. If you’re feeling sharp and energetic, let the words flow from your fingers. If you’re feeling jaded, take a break (if your schedule allows). Regardless of whether you count yourself as a creative professional, freelancer, business owner, or something else, you’ve got to learn to take care of yourself.
You Could Always Hire a Professional Writer
If you’re continuing to struggle with writer’s block, you might consider hiring a professional writer to write on your behalf. Dealing with writer’s block is part of our job, and for the most part, we don’t let it get to us. Writing tens of thousands of words every week tends to have that effect.
You might even hire the wonderful team at Hire a Writer. Want to learn more about doing just that? Drop us a line.