The prevailing theory among idea-starved writers is that writer’s block is a nemesis, a fearsome dragon which must be confronted head-on and defeated at all costs. What would happen if you turned that theory on its head?
Defeating writer’s block and generating workable ideas is often less about fighting the enemy and more about going with the flow. Here are some strategies for finding your muse and defeating writer’s block without enduring a bloody battle in the process.
Staring at a blinking cursor with fingers poised expectantly over a keyboard is not your best bet. It strains your eyes and makes your wrists tired. If you find yourself in this position, stop immediately.
Instead of trying to force the ideas to come, try the reverse. Think of nothing at all. Close the word processor and walk away. Go outside and look at flowers. If your Type A personality cannot handle that level of non-productivity, weed the flowerbed while you are out there.
Focus on doing something that disengages that nasty little voice in your head prattling on about deadlines and how much you need to do. Take a walk, drink a cup of coffee, or enjoy a game of Chutes and Ladders with the kids. Taking your mind off the stress of writer’s block reduces its power to hurt you. You may soon discover that the dragon has lost interest and gone back to its lair, leaving you to write in peace.
The Sneak Attack
When diversionary tactics fail, you can step up your game with a sneak attack. Instead of walking away from your word processor, let your fingers fly across the keyboard with wild abandon. Using a free-association approach, start writing about anything that pops into your head, no matter how mundane or completely off topic.
Priming your creative pump by writing randomly is a way to sneak up on writer’s block and knock it down to size. Often, your creative juices just need a little push to flow freely. After writing in this unstructured way for several minutes, look back at what you have written. You may be surprised at the kernels of great ideas you find hidden in your random creative word spree.
The Boy Scout Approach
Steal a page from the Boy Scouts by making it a point to be prepared for an attack of writer’s block at any moment. When things are going well and you are in your writing comfort zone, ideas are coming at a fast and furious pace. When this happens, remember to use this golden period of creativity to prepare for future dry spells.
Keep a notepad nearby to quickly jot down ideas before they disappear in the excitement of the article on which you are currently working. A collection of ideas for a rainy day will keep you armed for battle against writer’s block.
How can you outflank writer’s block? Understanding where it originates is a good start. The Perdue Online Writing Lab notes that anxiety is usually the source of writer’s block. An unhealthy stress level is a creativity killer.
Content marketing lends itself to stress in the form of a relentlessly ticking clock. Knowing that a deadline is looming often ratchets up tension until creativity is choked. Appropriate scheduling and time management will help alleviate this stress. Working well ahead of a deadline gives you time to fine-tune your content without undue anxiety.
Working ahead of schedule also allows you to use other resources to jump-start your thought processes. Looking at content that has already been published about your subject matter may give you an idea for a fresh angle. Generally speaking, the more you are reading, the less likely you are to experience a serious case of writer’s block.
Using All Available Tools
While writer’s block can be an intimidating enemy, take heart. It cannot completely destroy your creative impulses. Using an array of available strategies will help you defeat writer’s block, find your muse, and keep your words flowing smoothly. For more tips on how to find great ideas for your content, visit the Content Marketing Academy.
L. Strickland is a freelance writer who specializes in providing high-quality blogs to small business owners.