Updated: Mar 27
Writer's block is the nemesis of writers of all backgrounds and mediums. No matter who you are or where you are from, at some point you've probably sat down to write something and thought, "What on earth do I write next?"
Rest assured that writer's block is a perfectly normal (but frustrating) part of writing. It can last from a few minutes to years in some serious cases. But what is important is that there are ways of managing and dealing with it when it does occur.
So, in this post, I will share with you five ways that have helped me overcome writer's block. They are:
Bear in mind that this isn't an exhaustive list. If you are still having trouble with writer's block after trying these tips, I would recommend checking out other resources or joining a writing/business/marketing community to get ideas. You never know what you might find!
The Blank Page of Doom ...
Have you ever stared at a blank page and had no idea what to write, despite planning in advance? Or have you ever gotten part way into a writing project and suddenly found yourself hitting a wall?
This is called writer's block, and it's fairly common amongst writers of any medium. Typically, the writer will struggle to think of what to say, and the feeling can last for minutes, hours, days, or sometimes (in the worst cases) years.
Some causes of writer's block include:
Stress and anxiety - external stresses can impact creativity
Distractions - too many distractions result in loss of focus
Lack of inspiration - sometimes the inspiration starts to fade
Work burnout - too much work-related stress can lead to burnout and creative fatigue
Fear - fear of bad writing can lead to inaction
At some point, these feelings will end. But the important thing to remember is to not be afraid of writer's block. There are ways and means to pull yourself out of the block or to get support from others.
So, here are five tips that will help you overcome writer's block and push forward with your content.
5 Tips For Overcoming Writer's Block
1. Set long-term and daily goals
I've discussed SMART goals in a previous post (which you can read here) where I talked about the importance of setting long-term goals for your blog. The same principle applies to any piece of writing, whether it's an eBook, a newsletter, or a blog post. Having long-term goals gives you a sense of direction and purpose about what you want to write and when.
Here are some examples of long-term goals:
Write one blog post every two weeks
Increase your blog traffic by 50%
Increase your conversion rate by 20%
Long-term goals such as these will give you the motivation you need to continue producing content and growing your business. But that's not all.
Aside from long-term goals, setting a daily goal also improves your productivity when you sit down to write. Daily goals should be small tasks you set to achieve every day. For example:
Write 250 words per day
Write a section of a blog post/eBook per day
These goals seem small, but you don't have to stick to them down to the last word. As long as you continue to write something every day, you'll find you will achieve more and overcome your writer's block.
I still sometimes struggle with the fear of the white page of doom. But every day I say, "Okay, I'm going to write this section of my blog post and see where that gets me". And before I know it, I've not only written that section, but I've also written other sections too.
Unless you're having a bad day, often once you sit down to start writing you end up writing more than what you planned to. The purpose of such a small goal is to force you to sit down and do something every day, even if you have little motivation. It may surprise you just how much you get done once you sit down to complete your daily goal.
2. Split your content into manageable chunks
Following on from my first point, splitting your content into sections helps you organise your writing time and makes it much easier to complete your writing task. For example, I divide my blog posts into headings and subheadings which I then use as sections to write my content in.
Dividing your content up like this helps overcome that fear of starting on a blank page and not knowing where to begin. It also helps if you effectively plan your blog posts, because when you sit down to write you should already have your headings, subheadings and sections in place.
3. Track your progress
Once you've got some writing down on the page, you should find that you enter a flow of continuous writing. But at some point, you will stop. When you stop your writing session, make a note of your progress before leaving your desk.
Tracking your progress is a great way not only to make sure you achieve your writing goals but also for motivating you to write when you sit down again for another session. When you're deep in the middle of a writing session, it's easy to lose track of how much you have written. I find that it's very satisfying if you write down how many words you've written in a session, or a day, or even a week, or how many sections you have completed.
It's a simple thing, but when you sit down to start writing again it genuinely helps to see how much you have achieved. I find it motivates me to continue and finish the project because I can see how much I've done and calculate how long it should take me to finish.
4. Read other people's content
Are you still stuck on where to begin or how to move forward? Reading other people's writing can unblock whatever is holding you back. You never know what ideas you might come across that spark your own.
Some of the work you can look at includes:
Books and eBooks
Blog posts and articles
Social media content
Videos and podcasts (yes, watching and listening to content also counts!)
So, if you are stuck in writer's block, go out and search for content of a similar nature. It might just give you the inspiration you need to move forward.
5. Take a break
One of the most important things you should do when struggling with writer's block is to take a break. When suffering from writer's block, it's easy to think, "Well, I guess my project/piece isn't going anywhere, so I'll give up." This is the last thing you want to do. Instead, you need to turn your attention away for a brief time and do something else, such as gardening, reading, or going for a walk.
I also recommend writing something else, but that doesn’t mean you should start a new project. Open up a new document, pick a theme or a random prompt (Reedsy has thousands of prompts on their website) and just start writing. It also helps to listen to music while you're doing it to give you inspiration or motivation.
The process of doing something else (whether it's writing or any other activity) is enough to motivate you when you return to your main project. You should find the time away from what you were working on has given your mind time to organise your thoughts subconsciously. So, when you sit down to write your main project, your mind should be buzzing with ideas.
Writer's block is a common problem that afflicts writers of any medium and skill level. It can be caused by several factors, including distraction, stress, work burnout, and fear. Whether you are a professional author or a business just starting a blog, at some point you will experience writer's block. However, there are ways to tackle it and to restore creativity and inspiration to your work.
My five tips for conquering writer's block are:
Set long-term and daily goals
Split your content into manageable chunks
Track your progress
Read other people's content
Take a break
Remember that this isn't an exhaustive list. People cope with writer's block in their own way, and I'm sharing how I cope when it happens.
What do you do to deal with writer's block? Leave a note in the comments with your ideas and suggestions, and subscribe if you want to be notified about more content like this!