The biggest fear of an artist is the blank page. The place that he or she has to fill with his words or brush strokes. And every now and then, while trying to fill the ‘silence’ a situation will occur where you have nothing to ‘say’. Or at least that is how it feels. And of course, you have what to say. You just can’t find the right words to do it.
This happens. And it is not as scary as it may seem. That is what we refer to as the writer’s block.
What is Writer’s Block
A lot of factors can lead you to the place where you are absolutely unable to ‘say’ even one more word. Writer’s block occurs for a number of reasons, most of which – psychological.
Fear of what you are doing is not ‘good enough’.
Stress. Lack of Sleep. Distracting environment. Self-compliance.
As you can see all of these factors are in a way of restricting your access to the calm and ‘hungry’ state of mind that you need to be in when writing. Meaning that to write you need to feel that you have to say something. But also that you are capable of to dress up your ideas in the right words. And furthermore, not to feel too special about your capacities.
But once that you face writer’s block, which will probably come at one time or another, you have to be ready to fight it.
And unless you are unable to write due to stress or lack of sleep, which are caused by factors that sometimes are not in our control, there are a number of ways to help yourself overcome the writer’s block.
Besides my professional writing duties, I have a personal fiction blog. And most of the inspiration behind my publications have come from reading. It’s not like you take the story of another author.
Reading, as far as I am concerned, can inspire you to write. There are words, sentences or fictional characters that will make you, at least for a while, live in another realm. A realm of fantasy, possibilities, and opportunities.
Of course, most likely, you have an audience that expects from you to write about some industry, a hobby, or a specific scientific field. Unless you are a fiction writer, the realm of fantasy, won’t help you to overcome the writer’s block.
But reading will.
Dive deep into the field that you are to unravel for your audience.
Show them the treasures that you mined for them.
2. Ask Your Audience
Speaking of your audience… They are the one that you are writing for. They are the people that will read and evaluate your work. They are the one that needs that information.
So, why don’t you ask them what they want/need you to cover/clarify?
People that are already interested in what you have to say are also capable to help you to overcome the writer’s block.
If you ask them what they want to read about, they’ll gladly tell you.
Not only you will have a topic to write about but the bond between you and your audience will unfold. Especially if you are able to cleverly cover the topics that they mentioned.
3. Keyword Research
Keyword Research is at the core of SEO. If you don’t know what people are looking for, you won’t be able to give it to them. And thus, your content won’t be easy to find in the search engines.
But keyword research has more positive sides. It is a great idea generator.
It resembles the ‘ask your audience’ tactic but it is a bit different. You can write about what people are searching for. Thus, an element of surprise will be presented. The users of your website will be pleasantly surprised that you covered a topic that they were thinking about. And you did it without asking them… at least not directly.
The keyword research is a lot like asking what people are interested in. But it is saving time and efforts.
The information is accessible. Use it.
4. Choose the Right Environment
There are places that we unconsciously connect with an activity. At the office, you are prepared and expect to work, at the gym to exercise, at the library to read and at a club to socialize(in a way). The venues we visit are leading us in a state of mind that makes it easier for the brain to identify and subordinate to the existing tasks.
I, personally, prefer to write at a coffee shop or under a musical accompaniment. But this is me. This is the atmosphere that helps me overcome my writer’s block.
The environment that you’ll feel most comfortable, depends on a vast number of psychological factors.
But still, if you have to overcome writer’s block, I would recommend you to look for the environment with one or more of the following characteristics:
- Quiet or white noise surrounding.
- No internet connection (at least on the device that you are using to write)
- Distraction free.
- A place that naturally puts you in ‘writing state’.
5. Discuss the Topic with a Friend
In Laelius, or ‘on Friendship,’ Cicero writes ‘A friend is, as it were, a second self’.
Having a well-educated and able to listen, friend, is a lot more than having all the money in the world. One such a person can bring you to a discussion that you may never think about. Counter-intuitive it is better for the person you talk with, not to be extremely well informed on the topic, so he can bring an unbiased opinion and ask ‘stupid’ questions. Questions that the people that are visiting your website to educate themselves will also need to be answered.
But if you don’t have such a friend, choose someone that is able to listen, and to show a genuine interest in what concerns you.
Sometimes listening to yourself talk about something will make you understand it better and find out what you still have to learn. And that is a great way to overcome writer’s block!
6. Leave it for Tomorrow
Do you have a deadline? Good! Deadlines are one of the most inspirational factors. If you, like me, are a procrastinator, the ‘leave it for tomorrow’ tactic could bring you more than you would expect.
The fetch is not to forget your duty. And never to leave that ‘tomorrow’ to vanish into the void.
You have to use the ‘leave it for tomorrow tactic’ extremely cautiously, only in the case where nothing else helps. Sleep it over. The morning is wiser than the night. Give yourself time to process the idea. Leave it in the back your brain and just enjoy your day.
The ideas will come. Just don’t forget to record them if and when that happens. Believe me, you won’t remember them all.
Writer’s block is an awful state of mind. To overcome it, you need to know yourself, to know that you are capable of writing and have value to offer.
There are a lot of ways to overcome writer’s block.
Still, the best one is to write.
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