Editor’s Note on September 25, 2019: While this post was written in 2015, these tips still reign true today. Some additional details have been added – the updated notes appear in bold, italic text below.
There are days where blogging and sharing my perspective is therapeutic. Other days I am followed by a dark cloud of frustrating sentences that seem to block out any ray of creative light. Almost everyone – from students to professors to creative writers – has experienced some degree of writer’s block. Writer’s block, by definition, is a psychological inhibition preventing a writer from proceeding with a piece. Basically, you’re stuck. You’re not sure what to do next, and it’s frustrating. I have learned some techniques to kick start the creative flow. If you get stuck, try out one of these block breakers and get back to writing.
- Brainstorm – Before you start writing, sit down and take time to organize your thoughts. Structure how your writing should flow and what key points you want to hit. Without organization, it’s difficult to write concisely and really convey to your audience what you want them to know. Learn how to perfect your next brainstorming session!
- Take a Break – I find that if I spend too much time on one topic I become blind to the possibility that it just might not work. Take a break and walk away for a little while to break down the wall and open your mind to different topics and perspectives. Switch to a different project and let the topic rest for a while before revisiting or revising.
- Eat a Snack – Hunger is a large contributor to under-performance and the inability to think creatively. Step away from the computer or notebook to eat a snack to refuel your mind and body. It’s difficult to stay focused on anything while your body is telling you it needs food.
- Think About the Topic in A New Way – I know, easier said than done, but this tactic is helpful in a few different ways. Think about your topic from a new angle, this sometimes leads to more intriguing content for your audience, more interesting blogs for you to write and completely original material. Brainstorming with co-workers, or anyone really, helps you think about topics from their perspective.
- Just Get it Out – It can be difficult to work out the words you want to use without writing them out first. Write what comes to mind and what you think you want to say before going back to edit and tweak. It may sound perfectly normal in your mind, but on the page it can be difficult for your audience to understand. This is another instance where pre-planning is valuable. If you know what you are trying to say, you know you can come back and re-work your words.
- Listen to Music – At the little White House, we usually have some music playing in the background. I’ve come to learn that the ‘Peg house is rarely quiet. Whatever environment you work in, listening to music can be a good way to block out noise that distracts you, or distract you from the complete and utter silence.
Regardless of your style of writing, writer’s block can slow down the process. I use these tactics to keep an open mind about writing and approaching blog topics. There are countless resources online to help with the writing process and conquering writer’s block. Keep writing and check out other blogs for inspiration! If you’re still stuck, check out this episode of More Than a Few Words. Carrie Anton, the author of Me, Myself and Ideas, explains how even individuals can use the power of brainstorming to generate new ideas!