If you’ve ever suffered with writer’s block, you’ll know how difficult it is to push past it. Getting into that creative headspace where the ideas keep on flowing just doesn’t always seem to happen when we most need it to. But rather than bore you with the obvious tips of grabbing a cup of tea or going on a walk to refresh your mind, we’ve put together some more enlightening suggestions.
First things first though, to help you make sense of how to tackle a blank mind, let’s go back to the start and explore why we suffer from writer’s block.
Back in the 1970s, psychologists Jerome Singer and Michael Barrios followed a group of writer’s progress for a month to uncover what caused them to become ‘blocked writers’. Their conclusions were that the writers were:
- Highly self-critical
- Fearful that their writing wasn’t as good as others around them
- Lacked external motivation, such as praise or feedback
- Lacked internal motivation to feel any creative spark
If we were to summarise the above findings, we could conclude that negative feelings have a big part to play in writer’s block. I’m sure you’ve all experienced a time where you felt excited to write a piece of content and couldn’t wait to jot your ideas down. So, the question is, how do we get back to where we were before and reignite those feelings again? Let’s explore how and defeat writer’s block once and for all.
- Let go of perfectionism
Editing as you go is possibly one of the biggest contributors to our inability to write continuously. Rather than racking your brains for the most impressive words you can think of, just write down whatever springs into your head. It doesn’t matter if the copy doesn’t make complete sense, you can always revise it later. Work your editing magic at the end instead – that way you’ll have left enough time to look at the words with a fresh perspective.
- Leave the introduction until later
Just because the introduction comes first, it doesn’t mean you have to write it first. There really are no rules. In fact, it’s often easier to write the intro last and focus on the middle first instead. Knowing that you’ve got the most important part of the article done and dusted can feel extremely satisfying. It can take some of the pressure off, making writing the intro and conclusion a piece of cake.
- Set a timer
Do you find that when you’re working under pressure you’re much more productive? Sometimes we just need to create boundaries to give us that extra push. Setting yourself an allotted timeframe to focus can force you to get your words down quicker because you subconsciously know you have a tight deadline to meet (even if it is made-up!)
- Utilise creative tools to understand your audience
You might feel an incapability to write because you’ve been tasked with writing content for a new audience you have little knowledge about. If that’s the case, there are plenty of resources to help.
Answer the Public is a great tool for discovering questions your audience might be typing into Google. Jotting some of the key questions down can help you to form a basic outline for your article. Once you’ve got a skeleton structure in place, you’ll find it much easier to fill in the gaps.
BuzzSumo is another good source of content idea inspiration and contains pages and pages of trending articles. Analysing what the competition’s doing is always a good way to spark fruitful ideas and if they’re trending, they’re likely to be pretty decent – right?
- Think visual
If all else fails, think visual. Visuals can act as great prompts, especially if you’re picture-minded. Draw mind maps, pictures or write ideas on sticky notes – whatever you need to do to get your imagination moving in the right direction.
Hopefully now we’ve armed you with all the tips you need, writer’s block will become a thing of the past. For more writing help, take a look at our article how to stop writing in technical jargon.