Media Shower writer Bonnie Conrad is well-known for her work in personal finance, business, and careers.
For the freelance writer, there is nothing quite as terrifying as the blank page (or the blank computer screen). That blinking cursor just seems to mock me as I sit there wracking my brain and looking for something interesting to say.
When I started working as a freelance writer, I had a vague understanding of how my creativity and ability to come up with new and interesting subjects would impact my earning potential. It did not truly become real, however, until I took my new business full-time. Leaving the security of a job in IT for the uncertainty of life as a freelancer was not something I took lightly. Now that I am working solely as a freelancer, the terror of the blank page is greater than ever.
Keeping the Ideas Flowing
I do not know a single writer who has never suffered from writer’s block. From the rankest amateur to the most accomplished award winner, every author has faced the dreaded blank page and feared that they have written their last word.
Every writer employs different strategies to overcome writer’s block and keep the ideas flowing. One writer I know keeps regular “office hours” forcing himself to write something every day. Others keep a journal by the bed so they can jot down ideas that come in the middle of the night. Still, others take a more casual approach, relying on the writing muse to make her appearance when she is needed most.
Look for Ideas Anywhere and Everywhere
I tend to take a somewhat different approach, drawing on the ideas of others while creating a strategy that works well for me. I tend to get ideas from anywhere and everywhere, reading widely, absorbing information and waiting for ideas to strike.
Whether I am riding in the car, working on the computer, or just wasting time on social media, the radio is always on in the background and tuned to a news and information station. Simply listening to stories and learning things I didn’t know before can spark an idea and ultimately become the genesis of a new article or blog post. Even if the spark is not immediate, learning new things can keep the ideas flowing and ultimately keep writer’s block at bay.
A New Twist on an Old Favorite
There are certain subjects I find myself going back to again and again. This is partly because they are subjects I know well and partly because these issues remain relevant year after year. In many ways, these favorite subjects of mine are the epitome of evergreen content, and that is good news for me as the writer and for the eventual reader as well.
The problem with writing evergreen content, of course, is that it can be hard to come up with new things to say. Investing in your 401(k) plan might be important, but there are only so many ways to say that.
When I get stuck, I tend to overcome the problem by looking for a new twist on what has become an old favorite. If I have previously written about the wisdom of investing in a 401(k) from day one, I might follow up with a blog post showing how dumb it is to raid retirement savings for non-retirement needs. This strategy does not work every time, but it is a good way to break writer’s block.
Overcoming writer’s block is no easy task, but over time I have learned coping skills that help me overcome my issues and get on with making a living. Writing is my job now, and it is one I love. Dealing with writer’s block every now and then is a small price to pay for the privilege of working from home and living life on my schedule.
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