So you’re staring at a blank screen and it’s staring right back. Taunting you. Mocking you. Making you wonder if there’s anything of value stored away in your head. Yep, you’ve got a bad case of the writer’s block.
But don’t panic – it’s not permanent, and it’s treatable. I had a chat with our team of content writers about this very issue and we are here to help. I weeded through their suggestions and it seems the general consensus is that we should all throw our computers out and watch the world burn.
But, hey, you probably need your computer for things like cat gifs and Facebook. I totally get it. So let’s save that world-burning watching for another day and have a serious talk about what we can actually do about it. These are our top tips for beating writer’s block.
Close your emails, put your phone away and put your earphones in, even if you’re not listening to anything (this should hopefully signal to the people around you that you’re busy). I would even suggest a Do Not Disturb sign for the back of your chair because apparently yelling at colleagues who have interrupted your flow is ‘against company policy’ and ‘a breach of your contract’… so try to steer clear of that.
This was a suggestion I got from several writers and I do agree. However, you better have a well-curated playlist that will actually keep you focused. If you’re new to Spotify premium like I am (thanks family account!), your playlist will likely consist of 3 songs – and for writing purposes this just won’t do. You need to get a playlist together that will pump you up and won’t have you pressing skip every 5 seconds.
If you have at least a basic idea of where you want to go, just write – even if it’s ultimately terrible and makes you hate your life. Don’t let facts or being grammatically correct weigh you down; just let that creativity flow. You can go back and edit later (or, you know, get someone else to do so). This approach will help you decide where you want to go with what you’re writing, or perhaps it will reveal where you definitely don’t want to go. Either way, 500 words are easier to work with than a blank page – no matter how bad they might be.
Another strategy commonly used by our team is to find content written by others that works well in your industry and soak in its genius. This can help you get the ball rolling and recognise an angle that you didn’t think of before. You can even look at work you have written previously that worked well (notice how this idea comes with the bonus of a little ego boost).
And if you think this idea borders on plagiarism, to that I would say, ‘There’s nothing new under the sun’ followed by a ‘BOOM!’ as I walk backwards out of the room.
If you’ve tried and tried and you just can’t get going, step away from the computer or at least do something else that you know you can get done. This time away can help you clear your head and you may even find yourself thinking of things to write about when you’re doing something else… because that’s how it works: inspiration doesn’t strike until you’re up a certain kind of creek but this time you don’t have a pen.
So, what works for you? Share your writer’s block tips in a comment below. And if none of these strategies work for you, perhaps you’ll find the motivation you need by brushing up on your web writing basics. Hey, stranger things have happened.