Any writer knows that good ideas are fickle friends, and it always seems like writer’s block hits when that deadline is approaching fast. Particularly for those starting out, generating a steady stream of good ideas can be daunting, but following a few easy tips will make it easier for you to overcome writer’s block, no matter when it strikes.
Make a List (Or Several)
Whether you’re experienced or starting out, you’ll soon find that there are certain reappearing trends in content writing. You may only write about one or two specialized topics, but even if your topics change daily you have a general idea of what clients may be looking for.
Keep a list of general topic ideas related to certain industries or styles, particularly when you are in a creative flow. That way, when the ideas stop you’ll have some good starting points to begin with.
Know When to Walk Away
For freelance writers, a case of writer’s block isn’t anything new, but just like giving your muscles a rest when working out, sometimes it is best to just walk away. If you keep finding yourself staring at an empty computer screen, you’re probably not going to get anywhere further, so try changing up your activity or calling it a night. Sometimes just sleeping on it will have you refreshed to tackle the topic in the morning.
Hit the Books
Day to day assignments can often vary, and you may be writing about topics you aren’t familiar with. When you’re at a lack of ideas go for the most basic answer: research. Start reading a bit about the topic and you may find that you’re able to formulate an idea as you read. Plus, reading other people’s work may just give your brain the jump start it needs.
Diagramming a topic and keywords can be an excellent way to help your brain start to make connections. Start by drawing a small web connecting your assigned keywords, and if there is no given topic, think about what your questions are about the keywords or subject. Sometimes this is the easiest way to generate great content from personal experience. Free association techniques can also be incredibly helpful for stimulating your creativity.
You know how they always say it’s better to under promise and over deliver? Do the same for yourself when you are writing. Remember that your goal is to write quality content that translates into sales for your client, not win a Pulitzer. When in doubt go with a simple format like a list full of excellent content, rather than trying to cram a novel into a blog post. Start with drafts, and don’t expect yourself to create a ready-to-publish post every time you sit down to write; allow yourself to take your time.
Recognize that you are doing something you are passionate about, and admit to yourself where your skills and deficiencies are. Writing can be an incredibly rewarding career but it does have its challenges. Luckily, you can prepare yourself for some of the obstacles you’ll face.
Media Shower writer Rachel Cohen is a licensed art therapist and writer specializing in cultural, wellness, and lifestyle topics. You can follow her on Twitter.
Help avoid writer’s block proactively with resources like our Content Marketing Academy where you can learn other tips to keep your ideas – and words – flowing.