As a writer, you might face a period where you just can't seem to write or think of what to write. This is a blocker for writers, commonly known as a writer's block.
Hello everyone, welcome back to another article of Victoria's Blogging Tips Series, a series dedicated to help new bloggers overcome common challenges in blogging.
In this article, I'd like to address a common question my readers ask me: How do you overcome writer's block? So here are some strategies I used whenever I faced this block.
1. Find the Underlying Issue
"It is not the fear of writing that blocks people, it's the fear of not writing well; something quite different." - Scott Berkun
When I first started my blog, I get writer's block very frequently. And it is not because I don't know what to write; in fact, I had many topics I want to write about. It is because of my perfectionism, making me feel that anything I write is terrible and not worth publishing.
Perfectionism and over pressuring yourself to write the most perfect article is one of the common causes of a writer's block. It makes you unable to write anything because you fear it is not going to be great. If you identify this as the cause of your block, here are some things you can do.
- Change your mindset: There's no such thing as a perfect article. Improvement is progress, not perfection. Publishing good quality articles consistently is better than publishing 1 "perfect" article once.
- Get feedback from others: If you think your writing is bad, then seek feedback from others. If they said that they understood what you're writing and that it's good to publish, that probably means you're over pressuring yourself to write the perfect article. So you should just finish up and publish.
If perfectionism is not the underlying issue of your block, then let's try the few more strategies below.
2. Decluttering your Workspace
Did you know that studies have shown your physical environment can have a significant effect on your cognition, emotions and behaviour?
If your workspace is a clutter, then it could negatively affect your level of focus, anxiety and creativity which can result in your writer's block.
Hence, if you're finding it difficult to write another word because you're just stuck and unable to think clearly or be inspired, try decluttering your workspace.
At the same time, avoid having distracting items such as your phone on your desk. Your focus levels may be reduced if you're constantly looking at your phone beside you. Not being able to focus can be a cause of writer's block too.
3. Read More
To get more writing ideas, it is essential that you should read as much as, or more than you write. When you feel like you're out of ideas, try asking yourself: when was the last time I read someone else's blog?
That should give you a signal whether your writer's block come from lack of ideas and inspiration. If this is the case, try listing a few of your favourite tech bloggers or just blogs. Then, start reading some of their recent articles.
When reading their articles, consider what you like about the article. Is it the topic that you're interested in? Is it the way the author delivers the topic?
Try to incorporate some of the elements that inspired you in the articles you read. That is also how you can improve your writing if you feel it's lacking.
By reading more, you're also finding patterns and trends that people are interested about. This can also help you gain some insights or ideas for your own writing topics. Staying curious in this field is a big asset. So read more, be inspired more and write more.
4. Plan a Writing Session
A writer's block can happen due to many reasons but ultimately, as long as you sit down and write something, it can be overcome.
This strategy is what I like to call the "brute-force" strategy to overcoming writer's block. Set a time that you know will be distraction-free for you, and just write.
I have done this before when I felt that I have too many distractions throughout the day. I set an alarm to wake up 5am, when I know everyone's asleep, and I can write in peace. It was a great writing session and I easily finished my article within a few hours.
5. Take a Walk
Burnout could easily be an overlook cause of having a writer's block. If you feel just mentally exhausted, then it's time to take a break.
Go out and take a walk. Stretch and drink some water. Do some fun hobbies. Meet your friends (wear your masks) and have a good time with your loved ones.
Sometimes, just putting down your writing for a while can really inspire and motivate you when you come back to your desk. If this is the cause of your writer's block, then it is likely that you tend to overwork yourself without realizing it.
So remember to be kind to yourself and take breaks often. You'll be surprised how productive you can be when you stop being productive for a while.
6. Brainstorm and incubate ideas
If you've tried all the strategies above, and nothing seems to work, then this is my ultimate strategy.
Brainstorm using an idea board. There are many templates online, such as the ones below from miro.
Idea boards are helpful in initiating creative ideas. When brainstorming, simply write anything that you want to write about. It can be about anything. Any ideas that come to your mind, just write it down without assessing or determining whether to keep it or not.
Next, sleep on it. Unconsciously, you are reviewing on all those ideas one by one, even though you may not realize it. According to psychologists, sleeping on ideas can help you come up with creative ways to improve on them. It also fosters creative thinking.
By the next day or two, you may add more ideas to the board and gradually categorize them to those you think are good writing topics, and those you think are okay as backup topics.
Thanks for reading! In this article, I have shared my personal ways to overcome writer's block. I hope it has helped you in any way. If it does, do give a like and share the article around to help other fellow bloggers.
How do you overcome your writer's block? Please comment and share below. I would love to learn some new ways. Hope it has been a fun read. Cheers!