Has this ever happened to you? You want to write, you are at the computer, but nothing comes; the minutes feel like hours, the hours feel like days. You start to stress because your deadline is approaching; the ideas just won’t come. Fear is taking over because soon enough everyone will know you have writer’s block and you will never meet your deadlines.
Well it’s no secret that thinking will not overcome fear – only action will. Follow these five steps to overcome writer’s block and get your words flowing again.
Stop Planning Posts
Nothing sucks the joy out of something you love like schedules and deadlines that make it feel like work. Now, don’t throw out your editorial calendar – that’s not part of the step – but there is a fine line between schedules and having a random post 25 percent of the time. Have an idea jar, literally or figuratively. There are plenty of memo apps out there such as Evernote that you can use. Every time you think of something that would be fun to write about, document it and toss it in your “jar.” Try to shoot for using a “jar” idea for one in four of your inspirations; it will ensure you’re mixing in some fun with the assignments.
Read Outside Your Niche
Malcolm Gladwell states that a creative process is unpredictable, mysterious, and serendipitous. If you want your brain to come up with innovative ideas, you need to feed it material with which it can work. If you eat steak for dinner every night, how long before you become tired of it? Our minds need variety to help spark the creative process.
Go to the Bookstore
Sure, they’re getting harder and harder to find, but it will be worth the effort. Find a section that draws you in, and then open up books and jot down ideas from the table of contents; don’t read any further than that. The goal is to be inspired by the chapter titles, not to plagiarize the author’s hard work.
Page Through Magazines
Go anywhere there are magazines, grocery stores, bookstores, pharmacies. Headlines are a gold mine of ideas. Take your notepad and jot down what catches your eye. If you are in a time crunch, or just like to work with electronics, take a picture of the headline with your cell phone. Gather all these into your “idea jar” and reference them when writer’s block strikes.
Set up Google Alerts for keywords that relate to the topics about which you’ll be writing. Let Google do the work for you; it’s one of the best free tools out there. Also, utilize SmartBrief or something along the lines of Flipboard. Set up your niche and what you are looking for, and wake up daily to new articles about what’s important to you.
When you apply all, or just even one, of these methods, you will soon learn that you can overcome writer’s block easily. We all know it is no fun, but don’t make it any harder than it has to be. Now start writing and get some words on paper.
Serena Lissy is a food writer known in the industry as the go-to expert for patisserie and chocolate information. To learn more about her, visit SerenaLissy.com.
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