If you regularly write for work, you need to have strategies that help you cope with writer’s block, because it challenges everyone. Not every tip will work for every writer, but I have compiled a few ways you can overcome writer’s block and still create content you’d proudly show your colleagues.
Talk to a Friend
The worst way to combat insomnia is to stay in bed and think about falling asleep. The same is true of writer’s block—staring at a blank page or screen and willing words to appear doesn’t work. One way to break out of this mental paralysis is to talk to a friend—real or imaginary. As you talk, write down everything you say. Once on paper, that conversation usually makes a decent first draft.
Recognize When You’re Most Creative
To avoid—or shorten—writer’s block, reflect on when you find it easiest to be creative. For many people, creative tasks are easiest in the morning when it’s quiet and emails are not piling up. Others prefer late at night. Plan to write when you’re naturally most creative, be it at 6 AM or 10 PM.
Work on Another Section
You don’t have to write a piece in the order it will be read. It’s common for people to struggle with introductions. If this happens to you, work on another part and return later. Continuing to write something is more critical than struggling to work on an idea that’s not yet ready. Writing out of order might even inspire you to write the perfect introduction.
Move to Another Space
After a while, staying in one place can make you feel stuck. Sometimes a change of scenery can help you continue writing. Moving outside, to a café, or even just to another spot in your office—from chair to couch—might be all you need to break through.
Face the Fear
If you fear you will fail at a task, you probably will hesitate to begin. Writer’s block can stem from the fear that you will use the wrong phrase or misspell a word. The fear is valid—you will have errors in your initial draft—but that’s why we edit. A rough first draft will give you something to perfect, and writing it efficiently will ensure you have time to do it thoroughly.
Fail—It’s Part of the Creative Process
All writers fail constantly when they write. It’s called the Creative Process. Remember that when trying to beat writer’s block, your goal is not to write the perfect article, report, or brief; your goal is to finish a first draft. Editor’s block is much easier to deal with than writer’s block, especially when you have WordRake to jumpstart the editing process.
If you’d like to learn how WordRake’s founder and New York Times bestselling author Gary Kinder deals with writer’s block, you can read his writing tip “Curse of the Blinking Cursor” here.
About the Author
Caroline Engle is WordRake’s Marketing Communications Specialist. She convinced WordRake to hire her as an intern after placing in editing competitions and writing a novel in a month. When she isn’t editing or writing copy, coordinating conference logistics, or helping improve WordRake’s functionality, she’s reading, going on ten-mile walks, or looking up flight prices. Connect with her on LinkedIn here.