written by Rachel Abernathy
You’ve dedicated time in your schedule and the clock is ticking, but you’re just staring at a blank page. You can’t seem to get the words out! How do you cure writer’s block, especially as a blogger whose website depends on you creating MORE content, quickly? Here are 17 tips to help you cure the oh-so-common writer’s block!
Tip #1: Type the First Words that Pop Into Your Head…Even If It’s Gibberish!
“There is no rule on how to write. Sometimes it comes easily and perfectly: sometimes it’s like drilling rock and then blasting it out with charges.” ~Ernest Hemingway
Even when you don’t feel like writing, sometimes the best cure for writer’s block…is to just write! Write whatever random thoughts pop into your head. Scribble gibberish for 60 seconds. Type up something from your favorite book. Writer’s block often stems from root causes like perfectionism or fear, so don’t worry too much about following grammar rules or writing a polished first draft. Just write something, to get those brain cells firing in a better direction.
Tip #2: Listen to Inspiring Music
“Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.” ~Victor Hugo
Music has a profound impact on our emotions and brains. (Many writers most appreciate instrumental music, because lyrics can be distracting.) Try to pick something that motivates you, maybe a peppy classical tune or a favorite folk melody. Or choose a film score that fits the mood of your topic, to help the images form in your mind and get the words flowing. Depending on what genre you like, you might be able to find a pre-made playlist already! For example, Spotify has a Writer’s Playlist here.
Tip #3: Take a Break
“A writer is working when he’s staring out of the window.” ~Burton Rascoe
Sometimes, you just need a little break. Get up and enjoy some exercise. Film a video for social media. Do website updates. Chat with a loved one. Play an instrument. Sing a song. Let your brain relax while you do something other than writing, and you might just find the words writing themselves again.
Tip #4: Use Writing Prompts
“Sometimes the ideas just come to me. Other times I have to sweat and almost bleed to make ideas come. It’s a mysterious process, but I hope I never find out exactly how it works. I like a mystery, as you may have noticed.” ~J.K. Rowling
When you’re in a pinch, use a writing prompt! There are lists of writing prompts available online. You can even improvise your own, using random images or idea generators, like this one for bloggers. These writing prompts don’t have to necessarily fit your blogging niche to be useful! Sometimes, writing with a prompt will trigger a more appropriate idea that you can build into an actual blog post.
Tip #5: Switch Things Up!
“You can fix anything but a blank page.” ~Nora Roberts
If you can’t actually change your writing situation, maybe it’s time to bring the change to your computer instead. Try writing in another document format. Usually write in Microsoft Word? Try writing in Google Documents instead! Or switch your fonts or document formatting, to bring you out of the rut.
Tip #6: Identify WHY You’re Stuck
“It is perfectly okay to write garbage — as long as you edit brilliantly.” ~C. J. Cherryh
There are many tips for curing writer’s block, but it’s important to know WHY you’re stuck, before you start putting those tips into action. Are you procrastinating because you’re overwhelmed? Are you worried that you’re not going to write something that’s worth publishing? Are you just worn out because you’ve been under a lot of pressure lately? Identifying your why will help you push through the roadblock and get writing again.
Tip #7: Review Past Work
“A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit.” ~Richard Bach
Especially as a blogger, you’re likely to have a huge repertoire of published articles to reference. So why not put them to good use? Read your past articles. Glance through comments to find frequently asked questions. Review feedback from the engaged readers and respected mentors in your life. All of these things have the potential to trigger new, relevant ideas.
Tip #8: Read Articles & Listen to Podcasts About Writing
“The greatest part of a writer’s time is spent in reading, in order to write; a man will turn over half a library to make one book.” ~Samuel Johnson
Need to breathe a little spark into your writing life, especially during a season when you feel wrung dry? Don’t forget to read articles about blogging or listen to podcasts about writing. These teach you how to hone your craft and try new things, which will freshen your work and make it even stronger.
Tip #9: Get Into the Writing Habit
“It is by sitting down to write every morning that one becomes a writer.” ~Gerald Brenan
Writing is one of the things in life that becomes easier the MORE you do it. Many writers build writing habits and routines (perhaps a daily writing exercise they do every day at a certain time), which pay off during dry spells. If you write consistently, writing when the deadline is burning underneath you will become much easier, eliminating writer’s block.
Tip #10: Plan Your Breaks
“Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.” ~Benjamin Franklin
If you’re working on a particularly long piece, this tip comes in handy! It’s always easier to stop while you’re ahead, so don’t wait to finish your writing for the day when you run out of ideas. You don’t want to start again where you were stuck last time, if writer’s block is proving a consistent challenge. Instead, stop midway through your piece, while things are still going smoothly, so you can easily pick it up again later.
Tip #11: Write What You Already Know
“I can shake off everything as I write; my sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn.” ~Anne Frank
Every writer has a speciality, things he already knows well or feels passionately about. While many blog posts will focus on topics that require research, if you’re having trouble churning out a new post, maybe it’s time to switch back to a topic you know and enjoy? A little momentum helps cure writer’s block.
Tip #12: Make an Outline/Plan
“Always be a poet, even in prose.” ~Charles Baudelaire
Yes, the infamous writer’s outline is helpful for curing writer’s block too! Sometimes, it’s not so much the writing part that gets you stuck, but rather the organization of what you’re going to write. If you have lots of thoughts floating around your head and can’t seem to get them on paper, try writing an outline, using a template, or drawing inspiration from common literary devices. All of these things will provide a structural framework for your thoughts, which should help you organize them.
Tip #13: Write at a Different Time of Day
“Find your best time of the day for writing and write. Don’t let anything else interfere. Afterwards it won’t matter to you that the kitchen is a mess.” ~Esther Freud
Maybe it’s time to write early in the morning, when the house is absolutely still and you’re feeling invigorated after a good night’s sleep. Or maybe it’s time to write late at night, when daytime distractions have passed and you’re feeling especially introspective about life. It wouldn’t hurt to switch things around temporarily and see what happens. You never know what might come of it!
Tip #14: Block Out Distractions
“Close the door. Write with no one looking over your shoulder. Don’t try to figure out what other people want to hear from you; figure out what you have to say. It’s the one and only thing you have to offer.” ~Barbara Kingsolver
Writer’s block is distracting enough by itself, without added distractions around you. Try to block out as many distractions as possible while you’re writing. Snooze notifications for a time. Close your email inbox. Put your phone on vibrate. Switch to full screen mode. Put on a pair of noise-cancelling headphones. Close the blinds. Shut your office door. Whatever primary distractions you face, blocking them out should help you focus and write better.
Tip #15: Use Accountability & Deadlines
“I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.” ~Douglas Adams
Don’t forget the power of accountability and deadlines. Some of the greatest creative moments in the writing life come when you’re being squeezed by a deadline. Now, I’m NOT saying procrastinate. But I am saying that building your own personal deadlines into your workflow (or at least accountability check-ins of some kind) could prove helpful for curing writer’s block.
Tip #16: Get Enough Rest
“A writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.” ~Thomas Mann
Writing is hard work, especially for bloggers. If you’re worn out and not in tip-top shape, your writing WILL suffer. So make sure you’re not burning yourself out. Leave time in your schedule for breaks and periods of R&R. Make sure you optimize your routines and sleeping habits too, so you’re actually getting the most from your eight hours of Zs.
Tip #17: Consider Your Goals
“If I waited for perfection, I would never write a word.” ~Margaret Atwood
Lastly, who is your audience? What are your goals for what you’re writing? Considering your writing from your audience’s point of view is a great way to get the creative juices flowing. Take a step back and consider things from your reader’s perspective. Why are they reading this piece? What do they want and need? Will they be looking for something specific?
I’ll leave you with this quote by Ray Bradbury: “You fail only if you stop writing.” So don’t quit! Writing is important, and you will get past this writer’s block eventually.
Do you have a favorite tip for curing writer’s block, especially as a blogger? Share your idea in the comments section.
Rachel Abernathy is Ultimate Bundles’ Jill of All Trades, as well as a blogger, virtual assistant, and content marketing professional humming away from her home office in the Midwest. When she’s not writing or editing something new, you can find her making a delicious something (read: mess) in the kitchen! Learn more about Rachel at RachelsRealFoodKitchen.com