Writing is a skill, a craft that is learned and nurtured over time. But some days it can be the most infuriating skill you possess and one that makes you want to give up more often than anything else. What is it that causes this level of frustration amongst writers?
Yes, you read correctly, the ugly beast has reared its head again. We have all been there – at least those of us that write have. So, how do you beat writers block? Well, it is pretty dependent on your situation. If you work from home, you have more freedom to change up your routine, take a walk or do something else for an hour before coming back to a blank page. But if you work in an office five days a week and sit writing for eight hours a day, a change in routine or a casual walk every time you get writers block is unfortunately out of the question.
So, how do you beat writers block when you are paid to write for a living? You can’t exactly sit at your desk and stare blankly at your computer screen for the entire day. So, take a look at my top tips below for beating that pesky writers block.
Here at Bamboo Nine, I am hired to write. My job title is SEO copywriter and I write content all day, every day. No matter what I am asked to write, if it is an article on unblocking drains or an article on the most incredible diving discoveries, I have to write it and I have to write it well.
But sometimes I am struck with a complete inability to conjure up any ideas and I am suddenly struck with the horrific realisation that I have completely forgotten how to write.
Okay, so that was a little bit dramatic, but it can certainly feel that way.
However, there is hope. When I find myself staring at a blank page, completely stuck for ideas I will often consult my co-workers. Your co-workers aren’t just those strangers you sit next to day-in and day-out at work, they are friends, colleagues and cures for writers block. So, call on them and discuss your thoughts – or lack therefore – with them. Simply having someone to talk to and discuss ideas with can boost your creativity tenfold. Give it a try!
Create a Detailed Outline
Once you have your idea, it may be difficult knowing how to start. This is where those ‘essay planning’ lessons from school come in handy. It turns out that was one skill you learnt in school which is actually (finally) relevant to your adult life.
Create a detailed outline of your article and the subject you would like to discuss so that you are able to stay on topic with ease. A detailed outline can be a great reference point while writing to ensure you don’t forget any topics or tips you wanted to include.
It turns out that English teacher of yours did teach you something relevant after all…
Take Your Lunch Break
When working in an office, like I do, you can often feel your concentration start to wane (especially around lunch time). Therefore, I would strongly suggest taking your lunch break and ensuring it is outside or away from the office to help clear your head. Simply leaving the office to take your lunch can have a tremendous effect on creativity, concentration and work efficiency. It can also allow you to return to your work level-headed, with fresh ideas and a renewed energy to give it another shot.
Consume Great Content
As a writer, it is essential you never stop reading and consuming the written words of others. For me, working and writing in Digital Marketing, it is extremely important that I keep up with the latest trends and stories within my industry.
Basically, we should never stop learning and, as a writer, you should be constantly striving to read as much as you can. The more you read, the less writer’s block will be knocking at your door because you will be brimming at the edges with inspiration.
Ask for Input
The best writers do not work in isolation. It is essential your work is always checked over by another writer, especially when you have read over your own work, what feels like, one hundred times. No matter how thoroughly you check your work, it is common to miss a mistake of two. So, call on your co-workers, an editor or a fellow writer and ask for their feedback. Trust me, it can be very helpful in situations of writer’s block when you feel like all you have written is gobbledegook.
This may seem an unusual point when we are talking about writing but staying hydrated is essential to beating writer’s block. If you are dehydrated or, worse, hungry your brain will not be functioning as well as it could be, making you lethargic and sleepy. Take a quick break and drink a nice glass of water, you will soon find that your alertness and concentration is heightened.
I usually get to lunch time and can feel my concentration waning. But once I have taken my lunch break, been for a walk and eaten something, I find myself returning to my desk with a new lease of energy. It’s really refreshing – give it a try!
Try Something New
As I mentioned right at the start of this article, changing your routine or taking a walk anytime you feel like it simply isn’t an option when you work in an office, so it’s time to think outside of the box and try something new. If you are really stuck with what to write or how to write it, one of the best things to do is start five minutes of free-writing. Just start typing, even if it isn’t about the topic at hand and even if it means you repeatedly type ‘I hate writing’.
Free-writing is an effective way to get your feelings of frustration down on paper and it can be a positive way of ‘clearing your head’ so to speak. Free-writing is a writer’s block cure I learnt whilst studying at University and it has certainly helped me numerous times during the ups and downs of my writing career. Perhaps it could help you, too.
I hope you have found this article useful. If anything, it has probably been a wonderful way to procrastinate instead of dealing with the work you need to be getting on with. But seriously, I hope this article has been informative and that my top 7 tips to beat writer’s block have inspired you to mix it up a bit and tackle this problem we writers have instead of ignoring it altogether.
So, get out there and get writing! After all, you can now that you’ve read 7 of the most incredible, life-altering tips.
Are there any great busters for writer’s block that you use? I am always keen to hear your suggestions so please do leave me a comment.