Media Shower writer Randall Parker is well-known for his work in technology, business, and marketing. Follow him on Twitter.
Have you crashed head-on into a wall of writer’s block? In the aftermath of any crash in creativity, it can be all-too-easy to nurse your emotional wounds, rather than take the necessary steps to ensure a speedy and complete recovery. By taking certain actionable steps, you’ll drop the self-loathing, and get back to producing massively engaging content.
Some would argue that every writer has a muse. While it would be nice if things worked out so simply, it just may not be the case with you (as it isn’t for me). Or, maybe you can have a muse, but not in the conventional sense. Perhaps your muse is this blog post. So long as you know how to pull out of the black hole known as writer’s block, you’ll keep producing fascinating and engaging content. Try some or all of these techniques and see if you haven’t indeed made a mockery of your writers’ block.
Plant a seed and walk away
When ideas are naturally flowing, it’s hard to even imagine experiencing a block. Alternatively, when scraping the bottom of the metaphorical barrel, all hope may feel lost. Instead of trying to force the flower to bloom, try the “walk away” maneuver.
Start by determining the purpose or concept for your writing, meditate on it for a few minutes, and then walk away. Then, just go about your normal life. Do what you normally do to unwind or relax. That could mean playing a video game, texting mom or simply staring out the window at passing cars. While you’re sitting there in that meditative state, you’ll be surprised to see how frequently the brainstorm is rekindled and the idea you’ve been searching for comes rushing into your mind.
Like turning on a metal detector, you need to empower the machine that drives results. When you try to corner your mind and demand results from it, sometimes you’re going to get a revolt.
“But I don’t want to work right now,” the mind says with the tone of a spoiled two-year-old child.
Instead of trying to reason with the juvenile subconscious that yearns for freedom, try giving in. You’ll be rather surprised at the result.
Use pen and paper like Hemingway
Did Shakespeare or F. Scott Fitzgerald have a MacBook Pro and 44 tabs of Google Chrome running while trying to pen their great works? Probably not. Aside from the obvious distracting capability of a massive technological wonder like a laptop or a smartphone, there’s also the sterile and inhuman characteristic to the medium. Before you cry blasphemy or object that your handwriting is atrocious — hear me out.
You don’t have to write each blog post on paper and then transcribe it into digital form. Rather, you might just want to start on paper. Also, use a pen rather than a pencil due to the permanent property of ink. It’s not a question of making sure you get everything right the first time, but instead understanding that great writing comes after rounds of revision, not consecutive strokes of brilliance. Jot down some notes, draw lines and scratch things out if they don’t suit you. A few pages of chicken-scratch later, and you’ll be on your way to a really great piece of content.
Other fast tips you might want to try:
1.) If you must type on a laptop, rather than start with a pen and paper, try a full-screen text editor. This edges out distraction and lets you hone in on your beautiful copy.
2.) Find some other authority on the topic on which you’re attempting to write and delve into some of their content. You don’t want to re-word or copy other’s work, but rather get a spark of inspiration for something new you can bring to the niche.
3.) Google search your keyword. You might think you know everything having to do with the topic you’re pursuing, but let Google show you that you don’t. The surprise tie-ins and tangential themes discovered will shake loose something original and engaging.
4.) Talk to a friend or a loved one. Sure, you are the master writer in your group but that doesn’t give you a complete monopoly on great ideas.
Blaise Pascal is famously quoted, “The present letter is a very long one, simply because I had no leisure to make it shorter.” The genius of this confession teaches us a valuable lesson as writers – It’s easier to write a ton of meaningless content with no real creative spark and no concise purpose, rather than to write something amazing and to the point.
While Blaise was indeed correct, it’s also a great idea to give yourself a break. Remember, Mr. Pascal did eventually mail out that long letter because he didn’t have the time. If you have a content deadline coming up and you’ve already asked for three extensions, it’s time to get creative. Surely one, if not all of these, tips can break you out of the so-oft experienced trance of writer’s block that so many genius minds inevitably encounter at one time or another.
Once you’ve cracked the seal of your deep font of creativity, you might want to keep pursuing content writing mastery by checking out our Content Marketing Academy — you’ll be glad you did.