When writing for your website, do you ever have to deal with writer’s block? Most of us who write have to do so from time to time. To help you out, in this post I will give you some writer’s block solutions.
What Is Writer’s Block?
With writer’s block, you are unable to continue with your writing or you can’t start something new. Whatever your particular cause for this condition, you may find it difficult to overcome.
In 1970, clinical psychologists Jerome Singer and Michael Barrios investigated, and came up with four broad causes for writer’s block.
- Self-criticism is excessively harsh
- Being afraid of comparison to other writers
- Lacking of external motivation, such as attention and praise
- Lacking internal motivation, such as the desire to tell your story
As you can see, writer’s block arises from various feelings of discontent with your writing. When you started, you began with excitement and a sense of purpose, so it is necessary to beat writer’s block to regain those feelings.
Sometimes it is just not the right time to write. You need to let your ideas “stew” for a little longer before writing. Or perhaps you are afraid of putting your ideas in front of other people.
Another stumbling block is the desire for perfection. This one could keep you from ever finishing some piece of writing you’ve started. Don’t strive for perfection; just write it all down. You can edit it later.
Sometimes you can work through your problems by engaging in a completely different activity. From Jeff Goins in goinswriter.com comes this list of activities that could be helpful to pull you out of your slump. These creative solutions may be helpful.
- Take walks, or perhaps go for a run
- Get rid of distractions
- Play (For example, work a jigsaw puzzle)
- Read a good book
- Take a shower — sometimes you will get your best ideas here
- Listen to music that inspires you
- Brew a cup of coffee
- Create a daily routine
- Spend time with someone who makes you feel good, or call an old friend
- Make a bullet point list of ideas you brainstorm
- Get started by reading some inspiring quotes
This is the one thing I try first, because it works well for me. I just sit down and write. Try it — just write down whatever comes into your head, regardless of relevance. Don’t stop to make corrections and don’t try to direct the course of your writing. Just write.
To use this technique, pick a spot where you will not be disturbed. Try hand-writing instead of typing. Give yourself a time limit…perhaps start with ten minutes.
Eventually this technique can get the ideas flowing again. Then you can get back to the piece you are trying to create. As you practice freewriting, give yourself permission to write imperfectly.
Start In The Middle
Perhaps you can’t figure out how to get started. In that case, don’t start at the beginning. Start from somewhere in the middle; someplace where you feel confident. Once you’ve written to the end, you can go back and do the first part, as you will then be warmed up and ready to go.
Starting in the middle can reduce the pressure you feel to get it all written from the onset. If you start in a spot in the story where you know what you want to say, when you have finished that section, it will be easier to go back and do the beginning.
Write An Outline
Sometimes you can increase your productivity and get rid of the writer’s block by starting with an outline of what you want to say. Now you have the skeleton of the writing built and you can fill in the necessary details to flesh out the story.
Once you get started writing from this outline, you may find your ideas just flow, as you have put them in the order where you want them to appear.
Set Up A Routine
You might think you can’t fit creativity into a routine, but if you write only when you feel creative, you might get stuck in the writer’s block dilemma.
Discipline yourself to write at certain times, and then don’t let yourself off the hook. Sit down and do it. Once you develop a routine as a habit, it will become easier to program your mind to writing at that time.
Don’t Try For Perfection The First Time Around
Just use whatever words first come to mind when you tackle writing about a specific subject. You can waste valuable time searching for the right word.
Just get your ideas down on paper. You can edit later. Then you can search for the perfect word to replace one you think is not the best choice.
Change Your Perspective
Perhaps when you are blocked, you can try to look at your idea through another set of eyes. What would be the point of view of another character in your story?
Seeing things from a different perspective can help you see more clearly the areas where you can improve the story. It can help you figure out where to go from there.
Write On A Completely Different Subject
if it seems impossible to get through your writer’s block, put that piece aside and write something new.
This technique will accomplish two things: It will allow you to maintain your writing routine and it will allow your ideas on your original writing to simmer in your subconscious. This way, you will still be writing. When you come back to your original idea, you may be able to progress.
Don’t Write For Readers
Writing for a specific audience can create a lot of pressure, because you are then dealing with others’ expectations. Instead, forget about your market for now and write for yourself.
By doing so, you can regain the joy of your creative endeavor and get back in touch with your story, which is what matters anyway.
Sometimes this technique actually makes your writing more real. By loosening your prose, you may find you communicate better with your reader.
What Is The Cause Of The Block?
Here are some questions to ask yourself that may point to a problem you are having:
- Do I feel pressured to succeed when competing with other writers?
- Did I forget what my story was about?
- Did I lose interest in where the story is going?
- Am I lacking confidence in my own abilities, even if I’ve written a great deal?
- Am I a writing newbie who feels intimidated by the mere action of writing?
- Am I tired or rundown, and need to take care of these problems?
Though each of these problems needs a different solution, once you figure out what is wrong, you will find it’s easier to fix.
Make A Commitment
If you have a writing commitment that forces you to produce material at a certain time, this will motivate you into taking action.
This one works well for me. I have to publish a post every two days, first to one website and then to another, so that makes it necessary for me to work with great regularity.
I schedule my life around this commitment. I must write in order to stay abreast of my commitment.
The more you stick to this commitment, the more the habit gets established, and you may find that it becomes easier to keep that commitment as you move forward.
Have You Done Sufficient Research?
Perhaps your problem arises because you feel you have insufficient information to move forward. If that’s the case, you may need to spend more time and effort on searching out the information you need.
Try Keeping A Dream Journal
Author Graham Greene ran into an extreme problem with writer’s block. He solved it by using ideas he gained from a dream journal he kept. There’s an interesting idea that you might try.
What Do Studies Show?
In the study by Jerome Singer and Michael Barrios, they discovered that writers with long-term blockage had several reasons for this problem.
Often blocked writers were unhappy. They showed symptoms of depression and anxiety, were increasingly self-critical, involving issues such as self-doubt, procrastination and perfectionism.
They have had an “aversion to solitude,” as writing is usually done when alone.
The researchers found several reasons for this blocking. (See first part of this article.) Scott Barry Kaufman, psychologist, said, “I think one must trust the writing process. Understand that creativity requires non-linearity and unique associative combinations. Creative people do a lot of trial and error and rarely know where they are going exactly until they get there.”
How true! As we all may face this writing problem from time to time, we can hopefully find a way to get around or through it. We can try different ways to combat the problem and hopefully we will find one that works.
References I used for this post were: