Did you ever feel like your best work was being channeled from someplace else? Maybe the gods were smiling on you that day or maybe, you tapped into the uncharted waters of your own mind and found a mojo that just wouldn’t quit. Sound familiar? If so, you’re one of the lucky ones.
When the Muse Won’t Muse
Even the best writers experience writer’s block some of the time. Sure, you’ve heard the legend of How Paul McCartney woke up and found “Yesterday” already written in his head or how J.K. Rowling felt compelled to start “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” on a napkin, but whether you’re planning on writing the next most important book in the world, a song that makes the whole world sing or a search-engine-optimized article on content marketing, relying on the muse to strike may not be your best strategy.
Give it a Rest
Sometimes, the best way to think is to not think. Nothing bleeds the brain dry quicker than having to write something and not finding those elusive first words. Sure, being an effective writer requires lots of discipline, you have to sit down and write or nothing gets written, after all. But, you also need to give your brain some breathing room.
If you’re stuck and can’t get unstuck, getting up from your computer may help get your mojo going. Great first words often bubble up when you’re taking a shower, walking the dog or cooking dinner. They may even surface during sleep, McCartney style. Giving your brain a chance to percolate on a good idea may help ease up writer’s block a lot easier than staring at a blank screen will.
Use Visual Aids
Yes, you’re a writer, not a painter, but visuals can help break through writer’s block, stimulating the thought process in interesting ways. Most people are visual learners, so try letting yourself get swept away by pretty pictures that have something to do with your subject matter. You just may get inspired in unique and unusual ways.
Write Your First Sentence Last. Or First. Or Somewhere in the Middle
It’s probably been drummed into your head that the first sentence of your article is the most important one you’ll write, setting the tone for the rest of your piece and keeping your reader engaged enough to not fly away to some other website. Of course, that’s very true, but struggling to write the perfect first sentence can stifle your brain silent with a ton of counter-productive pressure. Sometimes, an article’s first line will come to you seemingly out of nowhere but other times, it will be informed by the piece you are slowly getting down on paper. It’s really OK to go back to the first line later on, after your words, thoughts and the power of your piece have gelled.
To Write You Have to Read
If you’re experiencing writer’s block often, you may be isolating yourself from the written word more than you should. Writers, by definition, are smart, well-informed people who know how to tell a story and use inspiration and imagination to get the job done. The next time you’re staring at a blank screen, try filling it with other people’s words. The more you read, the more you may be inspired to write. Even J.K. Rowling credits William Penn and Geoffrey Chaucer for providing her with inspiration.
Believe In Your Own Awesome
What if the fate of the free world depended on the next article you wrote? Sure, there may already be 8,976 pieces of web content on The Symptoms of Heart Disease or This Season’s Best Heels for Women Who Hate Heels, but no one is going to tell that story quite the way you will. Believe in your ability to tell a great story and bring your A game to everything you pen. Believing you are capable of contributing something amazing to our collective body of knowledge may free up your mind to create content based on truly unique ideas. You’ve got it in you, all you need to do is let it out.
Writer’s block is usually temporary, never fatal and the common experience tying all writers together. Yours may crumble under the smile of the muse or your own personal brand of mojo. Either way, a little bit of discipline and a lot of imagination can help inspiration to find its way through.
Maybe you can get inspired by reading some content marketing success stories success stories.
Media Shower writer Corey Whelan is a seasoned, well-respected freelance writer who specializes in medical content, mom-centric everything and health & wellness.