How many times do you ever find yourself staring at a blank page, wishing you could write some more but couldn’t come up with a single sentence? Do you ever beat yourself and scratch your head in awe, wondering what has become of your creativity?
If so, you’re not alone. I’ve been there and I know how frustrating it feels.
Writer’s block is a common phenomenon especially when you’re working on longer projects like writing a book. Every writer experiences it at some point in their career, and it can be extremely daunting when it hits.
If you ever experience writer’s block, here are six effective tricks you can use to overcome it and help you to finish your work without sweating.
1 – Write About What You Love
The best way to overcome or avoid writer’s block is to write about something you love and enjoy.
If you feel bored, stifled, or hopeless when creating content, it might be because you’re writing about something that barely excites you.
Ask yourself if your current goals align with what gets you out of bed in the morning.
Don’t force yourself to write about something that bores you—it will show in your work, and that’s suicidal to your freelance writing brand. Instead, try focusing on interesting things that naturally come up in your daily conversations.
For instance, if you love traveling, consider writing about travel tips for first-time travelers or how to save money while on vacation.
When you write about something you love, your chances of experiencing writer’s block are very slim.
2 – Research Even if Your Topic is Familiar
Writer’s block may occur when you think you know about something, but you really don’t.
Having trouble articulating your thoughts means you don’t know enough about the topic you want to write on.
Before coming up with new ideas for your post, take time to research. Find out existing information about your topic of interest.
Create an outline of your ideas and use them as the foundation for your writing.
Alternatively, instead of digging out facts during your research, you can
- Find out other people’s opinions or viewpoints about your topic
- Go to Quora and check the questions people are asking about your topic
- Find out the answers people are giving
- Use the answers to incorporate new ideas into your writing
Once you start asking questions and checking other people’s opinions about your topic, new ideas will come to your fingertips, and boom! You’ve overcome the dreaded writer’s block and can write way better than before.
3 – Take Breaks to Overcome Writer’s Block
The most effective thing to do when you experience writer’s block is to take a break.
Writer’s block is scary because it makes you believe your creativity has dried up. On the contrary, it may occur due to a surge of ideas in your brain.
When your brain is stimulated by too much information, it freezes and may go into a ‘coma.’
The best way to clear your brain when this occurs is to take a break. When on a break, you can do some relaxing activities like:
- Listening to music
- Taking a walk
- Chatting with a friend
When you return from your break, your mind will be fresh, and you can start work on your ideas, one at a time.
If another creative thought crosses your mind, write it down in your journal or add it to your to-do list until you finish with the first one.
This will help your brain stay focused and not jumble with many ideas at a go, which may cause it to shut.
4 – Break Your Project into Achievable Chunks
Another effective way to overcome writer’s block is to set small, achievable goals and break your project into chunks.
For instance, instead of overwhelming yourself by trying to finish an entire book in one sitting, focus on finishing a chapter or one scene in say, 2 hours, then take a break.
You can also set your goals with word count per hour or every two hours.
Once you’ve set a goal, start writing and keep your mind focused by turning off distractions like mobile phones or email notifications.
Breaking your project down into manageable portions gives you a sense of accomplishment and makes you work more efficiently toward your bigger goal.
In this video, Reedsy explains 3 types of writer’s block and how you can combat them to keep you writing after hitting that dark corner of nothing but a clean, blank page!
5 – Take Criticism Positively
As a writer, it’s easy for the creative side of you to be stalled by negative feedback.
Negative criticism can leave you mentally paralyzed and make you fall into a long period of writer’s block.
That’s why it’s important NOT to take rejection personally.
Rejection doesn’t mean that your idea sucks—it just means that one particular editor didn’t like your story. If it hurts too much, try switching your mindset from ‘rejection sucks’ to ‘I can fix the highlighted issues and become a better writer.’
Instead of getting caught up in what other people think about your writing, take the feedback positively and use it to build a better brand for yourself.
Next time you send a proposal, editors will be so impressed with your writing that they’ll overlook any existing flaws.
6 – Get an Accountability Partner
Having an accountability partner can help you overcome writer’s block.
Few things are more valuable than a friend who can push you beyond your limits when no one else can.
To go beyond writer’s block, find someone who’s also trying to improve their writing and make it a point to hold each other accountable.
You can set up a private online forum for just the two of you. Create common writing goals for each week (e.g 5, 000 words per week). Then, check in with each other at least once a week to share progress and be very transparent.
With an accountability partner, you’ll have more motivation to push yourself beyond writer’s block, write more, and build a wider freelance writing portfolio over time.
Don’t Let Writer’s Block Kill Your Career
I once read a story about one writer who won an award for creative writing in high school. She had her poetry book published by a small press.
The day after her book was published, she reported to her usual job as a secretary and threw her hands up in despair. She told her boss that she quit, and was no longer going to write poems. Why? Because she’d just been ‘dismissed’ as a poet.
“If I can’t be good, I don’t want anyone to know how bad I am.” She lamented!
Now, I want you to know that there’s nothing wrong with being a bad writer—it only means you have room to improve! And if you give up, how will you ever learn and improve your writing skills?
Go ahead and never allow writer’s block to stop you. Every great writer has encountered it, not once. Use the above tactics to overcome writer’s block and watch yourself become a better writer over time.
About the Author
Wellington Ochieng is an experienced content writer with vast experience in diverse topics. He has written articles for high-value websites like Search Influence, Crowd Content, and Verblio. He uses his writing skills to help clients deliver their brand message effectively to their target. Get in touch with him on LinkedIn.